Old family names of Rye

Arthur Woodgate remembers the old family names of Rye and examines other topics of interest to those of us who have spent most of our lives in this small, proud town I thought I knew most Rye Harbour people and I still know the name of Saunders, and must have known Graham’s dad but he was 14 years older than me when at school and in early teens 14 years was a long time. (Graham Saunders has written more reminiscences in a letter in this month’s Pen & Ink).


Before I did the story about the Carey Family I knew, I checked but I can’t actually remember ever seeing or speaking to Dan Carey. I do remember Cecil who must have been a good bit younger. Dan appears in the 1888 photo, recently published in “Rye’s Own”. He looked just like Bert, who many of us knew as a postman later on. I remember Bert well because he had worked with me for a bit on building sites. He was the brother of Bill; who with his wife, luckily escaped the bombing of the Cinema (they took cover under the canopy as the building collapsing around them). Their son Paul became Mayor for a two year term in 2007.

Doris who, like me, is very old, is the sister to Bill and Bert and was Mayor’s secretary for many years and eventually married a mayor, Geof Scotcher, and as I’m hoping to write a little piece about the Mayors of Rye. We will be meeting him again. I can’t recall that Dan was ever manager for Forbes, Abbot and Lennard, heavy Chemicals of Rye Harbour, but he was there at some time in some sort of roll because I did know that A.I. Moon was manager for all the time I can remember. He had for some time run the off licence in Cinque Ports Street, and Brother Cecil took it over when Dan took the job at the Chemicals (as was all we ever called it). I have no concrete proof that Dan and Cecil were brothers but I’m very sure they were closely related. I used to pay my Tunbridge Wells equitable friendly society to Cecil in the shop, until our present Mayor’s Grandfather, Fred Breeds took over as the local representative of the club. The Careys have always been a very useful family to Rye and it was fitting that one Paul should have become Mayor.

I had an uncle, Bill Batcheler my Mothers brother and brother to Charley Batcheler. The Council’s water main plumber (since I’m inviting debate may I explain that all Ryers of that name the penultimate letter is an E not O). Bill Batcheler, my uncle, worked for Forbes, Abbot and Lennard for quite a while and we went to tea with them now and then in the tied cottage he lived in at the works, and head him mention Dan Carey from time to time. But never as Manager, but he may have been for some of the time. Although when that works was mentioned. I always thought of A.I.Moon as the boss. He was father of the two Moon sisters who ran the Collegiate School on the “Hilder’s Cliff” or Guys Cliff, it all depended in which period you lived.

I had never heard the story of the brass ball cricket match, but I can quite imagine a Carey being involved. I’ve never heard the story of Brooy’s Gun, so it just goes to show a debate through “Rye’s Own”. brings out all sorts of Rye History.

As I’m almost 97, Rye Memorial Care Centre is now my home for what time I have left. I’m still 14 years younger than your dad would have been, Graham. We could have seen things at a slightly different period although we did overlap.

I was born over the sluice and lived there for some years whilst growing up so I’m a Ryer alright. We had the Bryants and the Bryans, but I can’t remember any of the other varieties around here. I knew some of each with or without a T. One with was Sid, the great Rye runner. He could never beat Shoey from the harbour though. When Shoey retired from running Sid carried all before him and won the Rye Marathon in some style..

Harry Bryan, I remember, if my old brain hasn’t started to let me down yet, was married to my one time Boss’s sister and when they lived at the top of Dumb Woman’s Lane, Henry Wood, my employer, sent me up there to repair their roof. Of those without the final T of course. I knew Fred, who at one time ran Bryan’s Garage (Where Skinners is today). Of all the Bryans I could claim to be quite a friend of Jack. Whilst waiting for a vacancy to become an apprentice in 1927. I took a stand-in job at the firm in Eagle Square and that is where I first met up with Jack. who was about three years older than me. This firm was called Southern Sales. My vacancy soon came up and Jack went off to Page Nine drive an East Kent bus, so we didn’t work together for very long. But somehow we remained very good friends. Although he brought the Broad Oak Garage and moved to Broad Oak.

My wife and I were married for just over fifty years but she has been gone now for three years and as I am terminally ill, alone and almost 97 I am having to be looked after. I have had to sell my home to remain in here, the Rye memorial Care Centre or Hospital, but. so far I can go on writing and will as long as I can.

I’ll go back to you again now, Graham. Of course I knew Ron White. Had many years serving in the St. John Ambulance Brigade with him. as I did with his sister Coney and brother Bert. But don’t remember him at Camber. I do remember him swimming across the river because he didn’t want to go right round through Rye “That was why I was supposed, to see Ron”. I know Conie’s sons, Ted and Owen Hatter, but don’t often see them. Of course, lots of harbour people spent social time in Rye and about 10 in the evening you could hear them say to each other “You better get down home”, so some of we ignorant Rye lads took to calling them ‘down homers’, instead of ‘Harbour Ducks’.

This month I can comment too on Jimper’s Jottings I can whole heartedly agree with his compost campaign and tell some of what I used to do on my piece of ground. One at the back a one at the from of my home, both rather bigger than the average allotment. If what Jimper calls French Beans and I call runner beans are the same (they look alike anyway) then I rigged up a gantry and dug a trench under it about ft. deep and the same wide. But only a short piece at the time, put old newspapers in the bottom. Then empty food cans, right way up all over. Then more flat newspaper then dug another length of trench covering the piece I had with the soil. I kept on till I had done the whole strip like this. Meanwhile some bean plants were growing in pots inside until the frosts were gone, and then planted them out on top of this and put some sweet-pea plants on the ends. I also built two brick compost bins. In which went weeds and other perishable rubbish. I put some of this on top and raked it in. I grew some beautiful runner beans which I gave to friends as I got far more than we could eat. There also room each side to put in some spring onion seed from time to time.

When I was still a school boy, my father had an allotment in middle Marsh east behind the Adelaide pub. This area has had a school built on it and pulled down again since. I wonder if Sainsbury’s could leave a bit on the side of their new shop to make some compost. They will have enough in about 2 years to start selling it. They will have enough cardboard boxes to put in and there is a bridge from Tillingham Avenue, (or at least there was). My Father had a tub of water beside his tool shed and I used to have to go into the piece of grassland beside the river and pick up the sheep manure and tip in the water tub and stir it up. He had a run of brussels sprouts one year, which were watered from that tub, and they went up to about ft. with lots of big sprouts all the way up with a fair size cabbage on top. They wouldn’t be able to send a boy out to the Tillingham with a pail, but there is always some rotting fruit and vegetables. It just struck me that as a new shop will be built. It might be something to think about.

Rye’s Own September 2010

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