Place:Rye, Sussex, England

Watchers
NameRye
TypeParish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates50.95°N 0.733°E
Located inSussex, England
Also located inEast Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoHastings Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Goldspur Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
Rother District, East Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Rye is a small town and civil parish in the Rother district, in East Sussex, England, two miles from the sea at the confluence of three rivers: the Rother, the Tillingham and the Brede. In medieval times, as an important member of the Cinque Ports confederation, it was at the head of an embayment of the English Channel, and almost entirely surrounded by the sea.

At the 2011 census, Rye had a population of 4,773. Its historical association with the sea has included providing ships for the service of the King in time of war, and being involved in smuggling. The notorious Hawkhurst Gang used its ancient inns The Mermaid Inn and The Olde Bell Inn, which are said to be connected to each other by a secret passageway.

Those historic roots and its charm make it a tourist destination, with hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, tea rooms, and restaurants. It has a small fishing fleet, and Rye Harbour has facilities for yachts and other vessels.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The name of Rye is believed to come from rie, meaning a bank. Medieval maps show that Rye was originally located on a huge embayment of the English Channel called the Rye Camber, which provided a safe anchorage and harbour. Probably as early as Roman times, Rye was important as a place of shipment and storage of iron from the Wealden iron industry. The Mermaid Inn originally dates to 1156.


Rye, as part of the Saxon Manor of Rameslie, was given to the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy by King Æthelred; it was to remain in Norman hands until 1247.

As one of the two "Antient Townes" (Winchelsea being the other), Rye was to become a limb of the Cinque Ports Confederation by 1189, and subsequently a full member. The protection of the town as one of the Cinque Ports was very important, due to the commerce that trading brought. One of the oldest buildings in Rye is Ypres Tower, which was built in 1249 as "Baddings Tower", to defend the town from the French, and was later named after its owner, John de Ypres. It is now part of the Rye Museum.

Rye received its charter from King Edward I in 1289, and acquired privileges and tax exemptions in return for ship-service for the crown. The "Landgate" (the only surviving one of four original fortified entrances to Rye) dates from 1329 in the early years of the reign of King Edward III. It is still the only vehicular route into the medieval centre of Rye and is suitable only for light vehicles. In 2015, some 25 tonnes of pigeon excrement that had built up had to be removed from Landgate Arch for fear of damaging the ancient structure.

The River Rother originally took an easterly course to flow into the sea near what is now New Romney. However, the violent storms in the 13th century (particularly in 1250 and 1287) cut the town off from the sea, destroyed Old Winchelsea, and changed the course of the Rother. Then the sea and the river combined in about 1375 to destroy the eastern part of the town and ships began use the current area (the Strand) to unload their cargoes. Two years later, the town was sacked and burnt by the French, and it was ordered that the town walls be completed, as a defence against foreign raiders.

Rye was considered one of the finest of the Cinque Ports, though constant work had to be done to stop the gradual silting up of the river and the harbour. Also, a conflict arose between the maritime interests and the landowners, who gradually "inned" or reclaimed land from the sea on Romney and Walland Marsh, and thus reduced the tidal flows that were supposed to keep the harbour free of silt. Acts of Parliament had to be passed to enable the Rother to be kept navigable at all.

With the coming of bigger ships and larger deepwater ports, Rye's economy began to decline, and fishing and particularly smuggling (including owling, the smuggling of wool) became more important. Imposition of taxes on goods had encouraged smuggling since 1301, but by the end of the 17th century, it became widespread throughout Kent and Sussex, with wool being the largest commodity. When luxury goods were also added, smuggling became a criminal pursuit, and groups – such as the Hawkhurst Gang who met in The Mermaid Inn in Rye – turned to murder and were subsequently hanged.

Since 1803, lifeboats have been stationed at Rye although the lifeboat station is now at Rye Harbour about downriver from the town. The worst disaster in RNLI history concerning a single vessel, and indeed in the 20th century, occurred in 1928, when the Mary Stanford sank with all hands. The incident is recorded by a tablet at Winchelsea church, by the imposing memorial at Rye Harbour Church and by the folk song "The Mary Stanford of Rye". A new Mary Stanford was commissioned by the RNLI two years later, and stationed at Ballycotton on the coast of Ireland. Since 2010, the RNLI has operated an Atlantic 85-class inshore lifeboat at Rye Harbour.

Between 1696 and 1948, six ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name .

During the 1803–1805 Napoleonic invasion threat, Rye, Dover, and Chatham were regarded as the three most likely invasion ports, and Rye became the western command centre for the Royal Military Canal. The canal was planned from Pett Level to Hythe, but was not completed until long after the threat had passed.


From 1838–1889, Rye had its own borough police force. It was a small force, often with just two officers. Rye police frequently had difficulties on Bonfire night (5 November) and special constables were recruited to help deal with the problems bonfire gangs caused. After amalgamation with the County Force in 1889 a new police station was provided in Church Square. In 1892 the strength of the town police, now amalgamated, was one sergeant and three constables.

In May 1940, during the darkest days of World War II, the Rye fishing fleet was invited to participate in Operation Dynamo, the seaborne rescue of the stranded British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, but refused to do so.

Paul Monod's book The Murder of Mr Grebell: Madness and Civility in an English Town (2003) begins with the murder of a justice of the peace in Rye in 1743, considering its background as far back as the Reformation, then looks at events in the town over the next 200 years.

Walking Tour of Rye, the most beautiful town in England, by Jonathan Copeland, , describes every important building, explains it, and puts it into historical context. Many photographs illustrate the book.

Research Tips


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Rye, East Sussex. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.