People are drawn to Rye by the delightful mix of Georgian and 16th century half-timbered houses- cobbled streets- quirky little shops, and pretty harbour.
The position of Rye, high on the hill, commands beautiful views across Romney Marshes and to the sea. The surrounding coastline, has been painted by artists such as Van Dyck, Whistler, the Pre-Raphaelites and John Piper. The artists Paul Nash and Edward Burra lived in Rye.
The town has also attracted many literary figures too including: Henry James, Conrad Aitken, Joseph Conrad, H G Wells, and G K Chesterton, whilst others such John Ryan, Malcolm Saville and Monica Edwards have dreamt up popular stories such as the swashbuckling adventures of ‘Captain Pugwash’.
One of Rye’s most famous and best-loved authors is probably E. F Benson– a one time Mayor of Rye, and writer of The Mapp and Lucia series of books whose fictional town of Tilling was based on Rye.
Mermaid Street in is one of the prettiest streets in England, and was once the town’s main road. Located on the Street is the historic Mermaid Inn reputed to be one of the most haunted pubs in Britain- built in the 12th century it has a long, turbulent history for being a smuggler’s haunt. The Inn has concealed staircases, rooms with moving wall panels, and a hidden entrance to a ‘Priest’s Hole’- its legendary past is full of tales about smugglers, pirates and the revenue men who tried to catch them.
Photo by Colin Bailey.