• Digging Up History

    Digging Up History

  • Between Rye and Kent

    Between Rye and Kent

  • Healing Herbs of War Throughout the Ages

    Healing Herbs of War Throughout the Ages

  • Children’s Day

    Children’s Day

  • Gala Evening of Wine and Drama

    Gala Evening of Wine and Drama

  • Rye’s Waterloo Expert

    Rye’s Waterloo Expert

  • Anne Oakley, Vestments in Miniature

    Anne Oakley, Vestments in Miniature


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 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.

Coming Events

Saturday 28th November  St Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Christmas Fair

The Museum, as usual, will have a stall at this popular annual event, with a good selection of items for sale.  The fair lasts all day, so do find time to come.

Thursday 10th December 7:30 p.m.  East Street Museum
Christmas Party

Save the date.  No need to book; just come!  There will be mulled wine and mince pies and a few savories plus tea and coffee. Dilys is arranging for readings of a few winter themed poems.  Further details to come.

Saturday 12th December 10 a.m. til late
Christmas in Rye — as you used to know it

Christmas in Rye 2015

Renowned local Richard Adams created this artwork for the Christmas in Rye 2015 website which you can visit for details of all the happenings by clicking here. For details go to the Events box.

Looking Way Ahead

Saturday, October 29th 2016   Milligan Theatre, Rye College
6th Rye Medieval Biennial Conference

Every two years Rye Museum hosts a Medieval Conference which attracts speakers and participants from all over the UK and sometimes elsewhere too.  The theme for the 2016 conference has been selected:  Conspicuous Consumption  and Display in Late Medieval England.  Let us know if you would like to be on the mailing list for details as they emerge.

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.

Tea Party – Tuesday 27th October

Rye Nature Reserve Tea Party - 1Rye Nature Reserve Tea Party - 2 East Street Museum played host to a visiting group of volunteers from Rye Nature Reserve.

They were first given a guided tour of Ypres Tower and a talk by Jo Kirkham.

Luckily the weather was so good they were able to stand outside the Tower for part of the talk as the Tower was busy with visitors.

The group then enjoyed an afternoon tea at East Street Museum, light bites, tea and cake laid out by Sue Manktelow and Heather Stevenson.

Our Two Sites

There are new things at the Tower which is open every day throughout the year. The East Street Museum is now closed for the winter — except  for events and group bookings.  Click on East Street and Ypres Tower above for details.

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.

A new editor on the way!

Your current Editor, Jean Floyd, is happy that Ray Prewer, recently retired from a full-time IT job, is willing to share the job with immediate effect and will shortly be taking over as our website’s Editor.  Look for some fresh ideas and perhaps a new look too very soon.

 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.

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.