• Notable Family of Rye

    Notable Family of Rye

  • Pottery pigs

    Pottery pigs

  • Views from the Ypres Tower

    Views from the Ypres Tower

  • It was All About the Sea

    It was All About the Sea

  • What do you know of Rye Mosaics?

    What do you know of Rye Mosaics?

  • WACOR Videos

    WACOR Videos

  • Art, Poetry, Music of WWI

    Art, Poetry, Music of WWI


Welcome to the Rye Museum website!  There is lots to explore.  Click on a slideshow photo or the photos in the other boxes to see the whole article.       Click on a topic at right for a choice of articles in that category. For other tips on using the site click  here.   For other current news keep scrolling down.  And if you happen to own a knitted swimming costume such as ladies wore in the 1930s please let us know!   (For the reason why, scroll own to Special Exhibitions below.)

At the Museum

The Events box at right will tell you about the next talk, and more events are listed below.   And if you have somehow have not got yourself to the Ypres Tower (and the Women’s Tower) lately, do go.  It is open every day and there have been many additions and improvements over the past months.  We’ve had a record season for visitors too.

East Street will start opening at weekends again from the last weekend in March and we plan to build on the great success of last year’s April – October season when, thanks to a stop-and-look banner and FREE admission — and wonderful volunteer stewards — we attracted over 8000 visitors to our second site!  That meant  a whopping increase in visitor numbers over the same period last year of over 605%!

Coming Events      Save the dates!

coffee morning 4Saturday 28 March 10:30 East Street Museum
Coffee Morning and Launch of the Summer Season

Come to East Street for refreshments on March 28th and to celebrate the reopening for this site at weekends.  While the Ypres Tower is of course open every day of the year, East Street has not been open over the winter except for events, but from this day it will again welcome visitors on Saturdays and Sundays — and on three days of  Easter weekend (April 3-5).

boyreadMike and Madeleine Eve have just donated a large number of splendid books for children and teenagers to the Rye Museum Bookstall.  They will be on sale at the Coffee Morning —  a not-to-be missed chance to stock up for children and grandchildren!


Tuesday 14th April     East Street Museum 7:30 pm
Talk:  Ellen Terry, Star of the Silver Screen by Ann Rachlin

Most Ryers know that Elen Terry, Britain’s leading actress of the Victorian period, lived in Winchelsea and then in a 16th century house in Smallhythe, now a National Trust property with fascinating exhibits and a popular theatre venue.  But there are interesting aspects of her life which are less well-known and Ann will tell us about some of these, and include excerpts from some of Ellen’s films.   £2 members, £3 non members.  Refreshments

Tuesday 28th April  East Street Museum 2-4pm 
Show and Tell Afternoon

These sessions have proved very popular.  The Curator selects one item from the Museum’s collection  (e.g. a bed-warmer) and some of those who come bring curious items from the past from their own homes for us to puzzle over and learn about.   £2 with refreshments.

Tuesday, 14th July  East Street Museum 2 pm
The Huguenot Heritage in Rye by Jo Kirkham

By special request, Jo Kirkham will present a talk in the afternoon on the very large number of Huguenots who took refuge in Rye in the 17th century and what they and their descendants have contributed to Rye and Winchelsea ever since.

Saturday, 18th July, 11 High Street
Garden Party

Rae Festing is again making her beautiful garden available to us for our annual Garden event

Tuesday, 28th July East Street Museum  6:30 p.m.
Rye Museum Association AGM


Special Exhibitions

Rye Museum is working on new exhibitions on both sites.  All those visitors coming to Rye in the wake of BBC1’s showing of Mapp and Lucia will want to know more about its making, for example, and see memorabilia of the 1930s associated with life and characters of  Rye aka Tilling.    This is the reason we are looking for someone to loan us a knitted swimming costume of the period!)

The French Connection, a collection of Rye-owned maps , manuscripts and artifacts dating from the time when Rye was held from the King by the Abbey of Fecamp in Normandy, formed a most successful and much-visited exhibition at the Rye Museum during the 2014 Rye Arts Festival. The 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo offers an ideal subject for a special display during this year’s Festival.  Watch this space!.

WACOR Project Videos

If you didn’t click on the Slideshow photo above of some of the children featured in the video series, do so now to see any or all of the four YouTube products of the very successful WACOR Project.  So many more people of all ages have become acquainted with the Museum and what it offers,  and learned a great deal about Rye while having a great deal of fun.  Many thanks to all those who took part and supported!

Brian Hargreaves: His Life and Work

Were you fortunate enough to see the outstanding work of Brian and Joyce Hargreaves at the recent Rye Art Gallery exhibition?  Even if you were not, a write-up of Brian’s work which accompanied the exhibition should be of interest as the Hargreaves together have done so much for the Museum — as Joyce continues to do.  Click here  (or on Brian Hargreaves under Local History at right).

 Not been to the Ypres Tower lately?   It’s certainly time to go again!

While we await the Go-Ahead for our plans for development at the Ypres Tower  so that we can have everything on one site, we urge you to revisit it as it has been transformed during the past year and the feedback from visitors is glowing!  In the main tower there’s  the wonderful new Virtual Tour  and the skeleton of  John Breads in the very  cell where he awaited his fate.  Kids love it! and John Ryan’s book Murder in the Churchyard  is on sale at the Tower.  And in the newly opened Women’s Tower with its Audio-Visual display you can  learn about life as a woman prisoner nearly two centuries ago.  You can find out more about these attractions elsewhere on this site.

There are LOTS of other additions and improvements at the Tower:  new furniture and display panels, smartened-up exhibits, better lighting, a new model of the changing shoreline . . . .

Don’t forget to admire the views from the Lookout (the balcony).  Here is a recent Marsh panorama contributed by Peter Varley.  For more views — by Clive Sawyer, click here.

Marsh Panorama

Virtual Tour of Romantic Rye

Move around Rye without leaving your chair. courtesy Visit Rye Bay.   To go directly to the video click here. Mercifully free of chatter,  it will lead you up and down the streets, zooming in on houses, buildings, views. . .   If you’ve been to Rye can you recall where all these places are?  If you’ve not, we encourage you to come and tour the town for real.