• 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

  • Half term Monster Fun at Museum

    Half term Monster Fun at Museum

  • Old rural days brought to life

    Old rural days brought to life


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.

 Looking Ahead: Save these dates!

Be sure to bring your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews to the next Children’s Activity Day on Thursday June 2nd,   The theme will be Royal Coronations.  More details in the box above right where you will also find lots of other dates.   Click there now and have your diary handy!

Video introduction to the Museum’s two sites

Click here for a quick introduction to our Museum.  Many thanks to Dilys Major for the script and to staff and students at Rye Studi School for the filming and narration.

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!

Be a Volunteer!

All those events mean  we are always looking for volunteers to help out at the Museum(s).  We need people year round to give the stewards at the Tower an hour’s break at lunchtime and willing stewards to sit at the desk on Saturdays and Sundays for a full or half shift during the summar season.  Interacting with visitors can be most interesting and enjoyable!  For more information contact the office by phone or email.

Busy Days at East Street!

We had 370 visitors during our first (3 day Easter) weekend of the season at East Street and numbers continue to be good.  A great start to the ‘Summer’.  There is much new — and rearranged — to see,  thanks to Yvonne Metcalfe and her team. The popular Captain Pugwash quiz has been redone too and the  lighting is much improved as well — and we’ve just got (and filled) a custom designed storage and display array along one whole side of the room, so it’s all worth a revisit even if you think you know East Street well.  Perhaps you’ll decide to join our band of volunteer stewards?

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.

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

Speakers and participants will be coming from all over the UK and elsewhere too for the 6th Medieval Conference to be held in Rye.   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 topics such as feasting, jewelry, country houses and castles and splendid burial places.  Contact the office to book your place: 01797-226728 or Email: ryemuseumconference@gmail.com

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.

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.