Rye By Any Other Name

Mapp & Lucia’s Rye
“There is not in all England a town so blatantly picturesque as Tilling”.
So said E.F Benson, of his home town of Rye, East Sussex, used by
the author as the setting for his popular Mapp & Lucia novels.
Named as a ‘must see’ place to visit by a number of national and international
publications, now has never been a better time to visit Rye. As the two inimitable ladies, played by Anna Chancellor (Mapp) and Miranda

Mapp & Lucia Filming at Rye picture by Willie Wicken
Mapp & Lucia Filming at Rye picture by Willie Wicken

Richardson (Lucia) made their waspish way onto our screens just after
Christmas in the eagerly awaited new BBC One adaptation by Steve Pemberton
(League of Gentlemen), the delights of the most well preserved medieval
town in England are revealed to the audience.
During his time in Rye, Benson lived at Lamb House, former home of
Henry James, and was, like Lucia, mayor of the town. Visit St Mary
the Virgin church to view the stained glass window he donated and
spot Benson’ portrait and his dog incorporated into the picture.
For breathtaking views over the red roofs and ‘level marshland and
rims of blue sea on the horizon’ (ref. Benson), climb to the top of
the church tower. Head for nearby Camber Sands or Rye Harbour Nature
Reserve for bracing walks.

Picture by Willie Wicken
Picture by Willie Wicken

For a more stade form of exercise, from May onwards Benson fans can
join a 90 minute tour of Benson’s Rye, alternate Saturdays from 23
May 2015 to 12 September 2015. Combine this with a visit to Lamb House
where the walk ends up and it’s the perfect package for the true aficionado.
http:// www.efbensonsociety.org or [email protected]
Private group tours can also be arranged by contacting via the website
or email address.
Throughout the centuries Rye has inspired some of literature’s greatest
names, such as Henry James, Rumer Godden and Ford Madox Ford. Take
tea at Fletcher’s House, the former home of John Fletcher, the noted
Jacobean playwright and contemporary of Shakespeare ; stay at award
winning guest house, Jeake’s House, where poet Conrad Aiken lived
between 1923 – 1939.

app & Lucia picture by Julie Diplock
app & Lucia picture by Julie Diplock

The town is perfect for a luxury break, overflowing with independent
shops, antiques and vintage memorabilia, top quality accommodation
and restaurants. The kettle’s always on at Glass Etc. where you’ll
find on hand for lively conversation Andy McConnell, the BBC Antiques
Roadshow glass expert. http://decanterman.com/
Rye’s film location credibility (the cast of Clooney’s ‘Monuments
Men’ were here last year) makes it fitting that one of the latest
‘destination shops’ on the High Street is the Vintage Stockroom, owned
by Natalie MacGowan Spencer, award-winning makeup artist to Hollywood
stars such as George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Samuel L Jackson and Hunger
Games actors. It offers an eclectic mix of industrial furniture from
the 30’s, 40’s + 50’s with Vintage Americana and unique collectables.
‘The Shop Next Door’ is where you can buy many of items inspired by
the décor at The George in Rye http://www.thegeorgeinrye.com/TSND.html
; the 200 year old Rye Pottery is being taken to a new level by brother
and sister combo Tabby and Josh Cole. http://www.ryepottery.co.uk/

From “Rye’s Own” February 2015 Issue