Rye, East Sussex, Photo Tour
This charming town with winding cobbled streets and houses with red tiled roofs, Rye stands on a hill near the southeastern coast of England. The town’s turbulent history has left it with an attractive mix of buildings dating from the 15th through the 18th centuries. In the 13th century, storms changed the course of the River Rother and later destroyed many buildings in the town. The French burned Rye down in 1377 and again in 1448. In the early 16th century, Rye was an important town in Sussex because of its harbor, but the changing coastline left it two miles inland. Rye is well known for its potteries. The dramatist John Fletcher was born here in 1579. Novelist Henry James lived in Lamb House in West Street from 1898 onwards.
Rye is a small hill top town and civil parish in East Sussex, England, on the River Rother, and at the western edge of the Walland Marsh, part of the Romney Marshes.
The town’s economy relies heavily on tourism because of its historical importance.
Notable buildings in the town include St Mary’s parish church, the Ypres Tower, Lamb House and many of the houses on Mermaid Street, Watchbell Street, and Church Square.
Rye received its first town charter under the Normans; and was fortified during the reign of King Stephen
Although not one of the original Cinque Ports, Rye had become one by the 13th century, providing nine ships to the federation
Rye lost its importance as a port when the coastline changed as a result of storms and long shore drift, and the town is now two miles (3.2 km) from the sea. It still has some trade and fish caught in Rye Bay is landed daily and sold from the quayside.
Sir Robert Naunton mentions it as the first place he visited in his book Travels in England, published sometime between 1628 and 1632. Daniel Defoe and William Cobbett also mention the town in the course of their travels.
HMS Rye, a Royal Navy minesweeper, was named for the town during the Second World War.
 Famous residents
Lamb HouseAlthough not consciously a “writers’ colony”, Rye has produced and attracted many writers.
Lamb House, one of the town’s historic residences and now owned by the National Trust, has been home to:
Henry James (1843–1916), American novelist, resident 1898 to 1916.
E.F. Benson (1867 –1940), English novelist. House and town feature prominently in his “Mapp and Lucia” novels, as Mallard House and Tilling.
Rumer Godden (1907–1998), Anglo-Indian novelist.
Other residents of the town and environs include:
John Fletcher (1579-1625), Jacobean playwright and solicitor.
Radclyffe Hall (1880–1943), seminal lesbian writer.
Russell Thorndike (1885-1972), who set his Dr Syn novels about smuggling on the marshes.
Conrad Aiken (1889–1973), American writer.
Joan Aiken (1924–2004), children’s author, daughter of Conrad Aiken.
Monica Edwards (1912–1998), children’s author who lived at Rye Harbour and set her Romney marsh novels in the area, renaming Rye Dunsford.
John Christopher (b.1922), science fiction author. The 1980s British television series based on his trilogy, The Tripods, was filmed near his house.
Rye stands on the A259 coast road
The 711 Stagecoach Bus runs from Dover to Hastings (and Hastings to Dover) via Rye hourly. http://www.stagecoachbus.com
Rye has a railway station on the Brighton to Ashford, Kent “Marshlink” line. It was also the terminus for the pre-World War II Rye & Camber Tramway, built to serve golf courses and Camber Sands, a tourist beach.
It also has rail links to London via Ashford or Hastings. There are no direct services however.
The Saxon Shore Way starts at Gravesend, Kent and traces the coast as it was in Roman times, via Rye, as far as Hastings, East Sussex, 163 miles (262 km) in total.