• Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • Beauty, Sadness and some Lively Morris Dancing

    Beauty, Sadness and some Lively Morris Dancing

  • The Manor of Mote in Iden

    The Manor of Mote in Iden

  • Sixty six since 1066

    Sixty six since 1066

  • It all began with throwing pots

    It all began with throwing pots

  • Exploring our East Sussex Coast

    Exploring our East Sussex Coast

  • What a Ménage à  Trois !

    What a Ménage à Trois !



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.

Click on a photo in the slideshow to get a story.    For a  range of happenings coming soon be sure to check on Coming Events at right.  Is your diary up-to-date?  .   And if you’d like a reminder of what the talks of the last 8 months have been click here or on TALKS above.  The 2018-2019 programme will be posted soon.

What’s been happening at the Museum?

Latest news 

  • There are a few seats remaining for the day trip to Chiddingstone Castle. If you’d  like any of them, ring the office!  01797   226728.  Set in 35 acres of Kentish countryside with far-reaching views, Chiddingstone is known for its fascinating exhibitions showing the transformations in castle and community since its origin in the 1500s and the castle is  filled with extraordinary treasures.
  • The Museum now has more copies of  the book co-authored by our April speaker, Christopher Whittick: Accounts and Records of the Manor of Mote in Iden, 1442-1551, 1673.  For the post on the talk giving background and details click here.

The month of May

 May  was a very full month of  many visitors at both sites, a flurry of school visits, work on exhibit additions and grant applications, our monthly talk, various meetings — and more.  To give just one example of the new things to see:  a fine suit of armour is now properly assembled and cleaned and has taken up position behind the steward at the Tower.  The suit is of Czech manufacture to a 15th century design, built for actual tournament use — which means it is very heavy.   

The busy month was capped by two events on the last weekend.  Click on the feature photo above for more on these.  

East Street We had already had a record-breaking weekend for our opening at East Street (the terrible weather surely helped). We have some new and interesting displays and novel merchandise in the shop.  If you haven’t visited in a while, do drop by and see what we’re up to.  At the Tower we’ve had a good tidy of the Medieval Garden just as the buds begin to open. And not before time — we’ve had a record number of school groups visiting the Castle in the last 3  months.

Recent special events have included another Children’s Craft afternoon. Since  the children are always accompanied by adults who not only join in but also get to see our exhibits such afternoons always bring us new  members and boosters of the Museum.  Another Cakes and Curiosities afternoon brought a group who shared unusual items including a charmingly dressed matchstick doll, a centuries old map of our area, a toffee hammer . . . . . and everyone got to hold and admire two rare and beautiful local seals belonging to the Museum displaying remarkably skillful centuries old craftsmanship.    Still another special event was the Town Hall talk and tour offered by ex-Mayor and Museum Chairman Jo Kirkham where we all learned much and were treated to a glimpse of seldom seen parts of the building  and treasured mementos stored there.  

The Museum has been featured at the station!

Did you have a chance to drop into the Rye Station Booking Hall and  admire the  several large posters  on show promoting the museum and its forthcoming 90th birthday – it having been established in 1928. We thank Southern Rail and Kevin Barry for their partnership  in printing and displaying the posters and to the Museum’s own Sarah Cooper for producing all the artwork.  Apparently the exhibit will be making a return to the station inn the near future.

It’s the Museum’s 90th Birthday Year! 

More details will be available soon on the  birthday celebrations  to  take place on July 28th.  

Seats are nearly gone for the Chiddingstone Castle trip

 Chiddingstone Castle, Edenbridge, is set amidst glorious views of Kentish countryside.  Those who were quick to book will travel on a  coach on July 25th  to spend the day there.  

The Museum can benefit from Amazon and Easy Fundraising

Have you used either of these yet? 

The Museum is now an Amazon Affiliate. This means that whenever you shop at Amazon, no matter what you buy, the Museum can receive a percentage of the total at no extra cost to you. To take advantage, start your shopping trip by visiting our website, and clicking on the Amazon search box in the upper right sidebar (if you don’t see the Amazon box, please disable your ad blocker for our page). 

We have signed up to a similar programme called Easy Fundraising that applies to shopping sites all over the internet. Click this link, sign up, designate Rye Museum as your preferred charity, and we will automatically get a portion of the money you spend whenever you use that browser. A list of participating stores is on the site – it’s most impressive!

Call for Volunteers

The 2018 season at East Street began with the highest number of visitors ever at that site as well as at the Ypres Tower  (which is open every day all year).   We are very grateful to the volunteers who man the desk at East Street and give lunchtime relief to the guides at the Tower.   Our volunteers  seem to enjoy meeting our visitors who come from all parts of the UK and many different countries and we certainly get appreciative reports from visitors.  We will be extending opening hours on special days (e.g. school holidays) this year, one reason for increasing the number of volunteers to take a turn or two at the desk each month.    Do let the office know if you would like to join the band of volunteers!

Museum Hours

The East Street Museum is now open each weekend (and perhaps also on Bank Holidays, if we can recruit enough volunteers) until the end of October, from 10:30 until 5:00.

The Rye Castle/Ypres Tower is open every day, as usual from 10:30 – 5:00,  last admission 4:30

ryeinthetwentiesRye Royale in the Nineteen Twenties by Jo Kirkham
The latest Rye Museum publication 

While Jo Kirkham’srecent talk at the Museum, The Story of Rye Royale, presented highlights of Rye’s centuries-long story of its connections to the Crown, this book,  Rye Royale in the Nineteen Twenties, is specifically about a particular period, featured in one of the most recently mounted exhibits at the East Street museum. The exhibit and the book are in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s ninetieth birthday and present Rye as it was in the decade of her birth: the people and events, the industries and entertainments the shops, schools, hospitals, courts and theatres.   The illustrated 54 page book costs £5 and is available at the Museum.



Trip Advisor Recommendations

There are lots of compliments for our Ypres Tower site on Trip Advisor.  You can see them here.  Our only ‘bad’ report, spoiling our near perfect score, seems to have come about because a visitor who had just had a maddening time trying to find a parking space in Rye  was looking for someone to blame their parking problems on! (They made no comment about the museum itself.)

 Update on a recent speaker

Rye Museum certainly hosts some fascinating talks!  An outstanding one was Hands of Genius by micro-engraver Graham Short during the Rye Festival.  (Click here to refresh your memory or, if you missed it, to find out why it was so special.)  He’s recently been making the news again, this time by secretly releasing four five pound notes worth thousands of pounds as part of a project by a gallery in the Borders. On each of the new plastic notes he had engraved  a tiny (5mm) portrait of and a quote by Jane Austen to mark the 200th anniversary of her death. You may remember that his portrait of the Queen on a pinhead had sold for £100,000.  These, each with a different quote, are said to be worth thousands more, though the finders of the first two have decided to keep them rather than sell them.

 Yes, we’re Still Breaking Records!

Over the past year we continued to welcome record numbers of visitors both at the Tower and at East Street, up from last year, which is 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.  

At 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!  There are LOTS of additions and improvements at the Tower:  new furniture and display panels, smartened-up exhibits, better lighting, a new model of the changing shoreline . . . .   Thanks to a stop-and-look banner and FREE admission — and wonderful volunteer stewards — we attracted thousands of visitors to our second site on East Street, during the summer season.   

If you would like to join our  band of volunteer stewards do let us know.  It’s fun and rewarding and a chance to meet interesting people.

Virtual Tour of Romantic Rye

Move around Rye without leaving your chair courtesy of 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.

When you are at the Tower, 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