• Fashion and Belief

    Fashion and Belief

  • For the Queen’s Birthday

    For the Queen’s Birthday

  • The Mysteries of Crop Circles

    The Mysteries of Crop Circles

  • Cakes  and Curiosities

    Cakes and Curiosities

  • Smallhythe: Centre of Medieval Shipbuilding

    Smallhythe: Centre of Medieval Shipbuilding

  • Spring in the Medieval Garden and Still Room 2016

    Spring in the Medieval Garden and Still Room 2016

  • The Green Man

    The Green Man


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.

Tickets on Sale for Arts Festival Events

We hope to be open for the full two weeks of the Rye Arts Festival. To do this, we need volunteers over and above our usual group. Could we put out a call for anyone who can give us a three hour bloc, morning or afternoon, between September 17 and October 1?

As part of the festivities, there will be a talk at East Street by micro-engraver Graham Short on Friday the 30th. He works by microscope and engraves lines between beats of his own heart! Tickets are on sale at the Festival’s website here: http://www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk/event/hands-of-a-genius/ Seats are limited and we do expect the event to sell out.

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.

Have you visited the East Street Museum lately?
It’s open every Saturday and Sunday 10:30-4:00

Even if you’ve been to the East Street Museum many times before, it’s time to come again! We’ve just got (and filled) a custom designed storage and display array along one whole side of the room at East Street and already sales of merchandise are noticeably up.  (Donations havebeen increasing too.)  Many of the cases have new displays (Many thanks to Yvonne Metcalfe and all those who joined the working parties)and  the lighting for all the cases is now superb. There’s lots to see and learn about Rye.   Tip: Check out the Local History Top Picks at right as they provide background information on some of the topics featured in new/updated exhibits.

And if you’d like to  volunteer to be a steward on a Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon during the season you will meet some very interesting (and interested) people among the visitors — besides learn a lot yourself from the new presentations.   We also need people year round to give the stewards at the Tower an hour’s break at lunchtime.   Contact the office by phone or email for details.

Looking Ahead

Be sure to check the Events box at right above.  There are a great many dates for your diary there besides this one:

 Have you booked for the the Rye Medieval Conference yet?

Saturday, October 22nd 2016   Milligan Theatre, Rye College
Theme: Conspicuous Consumption and Display in Late Medieval England

Reservations continue to come in from all over the UK and elsewhere too for the  6th all-day Medieval Conference to be held in Rye, but there are still some places available — if you hurry.   Michael Hicks, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Winchester, has brought together a group of distinguished academics  to present lectures with the latest research on a range of topics:  Here are the titles of the talks:

  • Prof. Chris Woolgar    ‘Magnificence and the meal: elite dining in late medieval England’
  • Dr Anne Sutton     ‘Costume and Dress’
  • Dr Jessica Lutkin    ‘The jewels and plate of the late medieval aristocracy: conspicuous consumption or sound investment?’
  • Dr Dan Spencer    ‘Aristocratic Castle Building in the Later Middle Ages’
  • Mrs Angela Clark    ‘Keeping up with the Joneses? Spiritual Privileges in Late Medieval England’
  • Prof Michael Hicks    ‘Rank and Lineage in Stone and Parchment’

Contact the office to book your place: 01797-226728 or Email: ryemuseumconference@gmail.com

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.

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.