• WACOR Videos

    WACOR Videos

  • Santa’s Grotto at the Museum

    Santa’s Grotto at the Museum

  • Art, Poetry, Music of WWI

    Art, Poetry, Music of WWI

  • Winchelsea Corporation and  the Court Hall Museum

    Winchelsea Corporation and the Court Hall Museum

  • Norman and Medieval Times: 1066-1485

    Norman and Medieval Times: 1066-1485

  • WACOR Celebrates!

    WACOR Celebrates!

  • East Street News Flash

    East Street News Flash


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.

Ready for a New Year at the Museum?

Besides the Events box at right which will tell you about the next talk, click on  Events Jan-March under Top Picks Rye Museum  to find out who else will be talking about what at East Street during the coming year.   Much else is planned, of course:  children’s activity days — see below for the first one, coffee mornings, special exhibitions . . . Watch this space!  And in the meantime if you have somehow 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.

While East Street is now closed until Easter — except for those events just mentioned — 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%!

It’s All About the Sea!
Children’s Activity Day: Wednesday 18th February 2-4 pm

Children can come along to East Street Museum on Wednesday 18th February for some half term fun making things to do with the sea. There will be craft activities – painting, sticking and modelling, suitable for ages 4-10. There is a small charge to cover materials for items made to take home. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Refreshments available.

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!


Banner 2 - s

Banner 1 - sIndeed  the distinguished speakers and the many participants from throughout Britain did make for a most stimulating  Medieval Conference at the Milligan Theatre, Rye College on Saturday October 18th.

This year’s theme was The Hazards of Life and Causes of Death in Late Medieval England.   We all learned much and several myths about health hygiene during the period were demolished.  [Do you think our problems are new?  Ray Prewer  compares Then and Now in a makes-you-smile-and-think piece on the Conference in RyeNews.  Click for it here.]

(Click to enlarge photos.)

James lecture - 1Professors from the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Winchester and University College London  presented on such topics as

  • ‘Poky pigges and stynkynge makerels': Food Standards and Urban Health in Late Medieval England
  • An Archaeology of Disease: Leprosy and Leprosaria  in Medieval England
  •    The Black Death|: Fact or Fiction?
  •  Growing Pains: Adolescent Life Experiences and Expectancy of Medieval Scholars
  • The Incidence  of Accidents. Broken Bones and Death by Misadventure in the Proofs of Age

James lecture - 2Rye Museum is most grateful to the Rye Academy Trust, the Rye Fund and Entertainment Workshops Rye for their support for this event and also to  Jordan Seabrook, a student at Rye Studio School, for designing the publicity poster and students of both Rye College and the Studio School for their assistance at the event.



How much do you know about Medieval Rye?

Strandgate 1784In addition to a two week exhibition of Rye’s medieval French Connection (see below) during the Rye Arts Festival,  two Medieval Rye walks were offered by our Rye Museum Association chairman, Jo Kirkham,

Her  tours concentrated  on the Strand Quay, Mermaid Street (once guarded by a long arcaded stone gate at the bottom, facing the Mint), a now gone Queen’s Arms behind the facades of what we know as West Street, the Churchyard (aka God’s Acre), the Ypres Tower (begun 1249) and Market Street (the market once extended all the way through to the present top of Mermaid Street).

Missed the walk? You can still learn a lot from Jo Kirkham’s article on Norman and Medieval Times: 1066-1489, available from the slideshow above. It provides details of the medieval period in chronological order and is highly recommended . Some supplementary information, much of it deriving from things Jo told us on the walk is available here.

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.   The French Connection, a collection of Rye-owned maps , manuscripts and artefacts 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!.

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.