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. And within an article, click on a photo to enlarge it.
- Click here for a quick video introduction to our Museum. Many thanks to Dilys Major for the script and to staff and students at Rye Studio School for the filming and narration.
- 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.
Christmas in Rye This Weekend!
The Christmas in Rye committee did an outstanding job last year in creating a Rye Festival to be proud of.|This year’s Tales of Old themed events promise even more! Ypres Tower will become Rapunzel’s Castle for the day — Rapunzels’ hair will be dangling from a window and East Street will be hosting Santa in his Grotto. To find out what will be on offer go to http://www.christmasinrye.co.uk. Be sure to check out the gallery with its splendid collection of photos and video. Also recommended is a piece on RyeNews titled On your marks, get set, puddings! Click here for the link. The Father Christmas Grotto is completely booked out but there will still be a chance for unbooked visits from 4:15 £2 per child includes a small gift.
(Photo: Visiting the Grotto 2015)
Did you know there are other Ryes in other countries thanks to former residents of our Rye and to ships built here which conveyed them to pioneer posts? Rye, Sussex has maintained strong links with the Rye in Australia and those in New York and New Hampshire in the USA. We have just had a visit from the former Chairman and now Secretary of the Rye Historical Society, Victoria, Australia, Mrs Pauline Powell who last met our Chairman Jo Kirkham here in 2003. This time Mrs Powell brought her daughter and they two particularly enjoyed time with Jo at the Castle seeing the latest attractions. They also attended the Sunday morning service at St Mary’s Church — where the daughter took the picture.
Click here for a story about the founding of Rye, New York.
Visitors to the Tower on Sunday were delighted to discover this bonus attraction: Knight Stuart Hopper in splendidly shiny armour, accepted an invitation from his friend Ted Emson, one of the guides at the Tower — so often mentioned in visitor feedback as ‘so friendly and knowledgeable’–to add to the ambience.
Stuart reports that he too enjoyed his time but that wearing armour makes you feel very hot when you wear it for any length of time.
Dates for your Diary
Be sure to check the Events box at right above for coming events!
Walk around Huguenot Rye with Geotourist!
Geotourist is an application for your smartphone that takes you on guided walk audio tours of real world places. The Museum has done one on Huguenot Rye with Jo Kirkham narrating, and it’s finally been published. Click here to find and use it. If you try it and like it, tell us so we will know whether to build more tours exploring different aspects of Rye.
Update on Publications
By popular demand as a result of Fred Walker’s recent talk, we now have copies of the beautifully illustrated From Ships to Sheep: The Story of Smallhythe: £8. Other additions are small booklets on Camber Castle and Rye Harbour at £1 each. We also have new supplies of the popular glitter pens, with lanyard and without.
We now have a splendid new display console at East Street so that we can show our publications and retail items to much better effect. Come see!
Special Offer: RYENNIUM
RYENNIUM. a publication to celebrate the turn of the millenium, was published by Rye Town Council as one of its Millennium Projects and printed by Adams of Rye as a limited edition using hot metal type. With text by Jo Kirkham and illustrations by Brian Hargreaves and originally published at £14.95, our remaining copies are on special sale for £5.00. Contact the office or visit the Ypres Tower if you would like one.
Healing Herbs of War
Be sure to click on the Healing Herbs of War slideshow photo above to read Lin Saines’ illustrated article on Healing Herbs of War Throughout the Ages. You can then come to look for the featured plants in the Ypres Castle Medieval Garden and the Still Room.
The Still Room now has a more Edwardian look including rose petal, oatmeal and lavender bath-bags, roses and a change of herbs. (It smells lovely.) Lin has added a Lavender bag with original 1940’s ladies’ ‘Rever’s’ collars in embroidered net-lace. The family who owned these machines worked Princess Diana’s lace for her Wedding Dress. According to Lin, Victorian and Edwardian ladies loved making sachets in home-made lace this way
Lin’s book, The Garden Beyond the Tower, illustrated by Brian and Joyce Hargreaves and published by Rye Castle Museum, is about our Medieval Garden and the Still Room in the Tower and is available at both of our museums.
A write-up of Brian’s work, Remembering Brian Hargreaves, which accompanied a recent Rye Art Gallery 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). We hope you noticed the featured post above on Remembering Brian Hargreaves.
Recently at the Museum
Digging up new facts on history: Conference on|The Plague of 1665
7th November: East Street Museum
If you didn’t click on the slideshow’s Digging Up History photo, be sure to do so for a link to a grand aoount of our recent conference on The Plague of 1665.
We’re Still Breaking Records!
We have continued to welcome record numbers of visitors both at the Tower and at East Street, such good news for a museum that is entirely independent, relying for income on an admission charge at the Tower and donations at East Street. We earlier reported that thanks to a stop-and-look banner and FREE admission — and wonderful volunteer stewards — we’d attracted over 8000 visitors to our second site during last year’s summer season — a whopping increase in visitor numbers of over 605%! Recently we noted that we’d welcomed nearly 1650 visitors to East Street during the first four weeks of the season, mostly because of our weekend openings — and we are only open at weekends there! Now we’ve topped that several times can top that too: On Saturday and Sunday August 29th and 30th we had nearly 300 each day! And during the Rye Arts Festival fortnight, when we had a superb exhibition featuring the model soldiers of Chris Viner (Soldiers of Rye) in battles leading up to Waterloo, we had 1776 visitors!
As for the Tower which is open every day of the year and continues to be a major Rye attraction, there have been as many as 600 visitors in a single day! Our regular guides need a lunchtime break. If you would like to join our band of volunteer stewards to spell one of them off for an hour midday do let us know. It’s fun and rewarding and a chance to meet interesting people.
We share Tower visitors’ comments with you in one of the featured articles on the slideshow above; they make us very proud. RyeNews is now running a 5 part series on the recently replaced Visitors’ Book, the latest featuring our three much praised guides.
The WACOR Project
There’s a lively and informative illustrated book online showing all the projects, events, workshops, courses, memory days and discovery days of the WACOR Project in about 36 pages. A splendid summing up of two very productive years. Click here to see it.
If you missed the Slideshow feature on the very successful WACOR Project, you can click here to see any or all of the four YouTube products. 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! 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.
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.