How to Trace a Water Leak the Rother way!

Information collated by the Love Lane allotment holders

Site Visit 1  – A plot holder observes a council official on the Love Lane allotment site. The council officer explains that he is looking for the source of a water leak from the underground pipes feeding the water troughs. This is suspected because of a rise in the water bill. The gardener says that he has known the site for many years and offers his assistance in locating any problem. The offer of assistance is rejected.

Site Visit 2  – Some days later, a second plot holder observes two council officers on the site. They are looking for the source of a water leak and are soon joined by a contractor with a spade. The officers tell the contractor where to dig. They are apparently unsuccessful in their lengthy search and leave.

Site Visit 3 – Some days later, three gardeners observe two council officers on site. The officers are joined by a man driving an orange digger. The officers tell the contractor where to dig. When approached, the officers tell the gardeners that they are looking for the source of a water leak. No, they do not have a map showing the location of the pipes and no, they have not contacted the water company. Yes, they admit, they are digging holes on spec. The gardeners point out that the officers’ chosen patch of ground has always been wet because of the nature of the terrain and that this wetness is unlikely to indicate leakage from a pipe. However, the officers decide to continue their digging. At some point a third official joins them on site. The search remains unsuccessful. Tape is placed around the only result of their labours, a hole approximately 4ft x 3ft, conveniently located on the only vehicular access route, and the working party leaves.

Site Visit 4 – Some days later, two other plot holders observe contractors filling in the hole. Gardeners later find that the water supply to the troughs has been turned off.

Site Visit 5 – Notices are posted on the allotment gates informing gardeners of the leak. Rother’s investigations have failed to locate the source. The notice informs them that a contractor will visit the site daily to turn the water on for a sufficient time to fill the water troughs. Then the contractor will turn the supply off again. New pipes will need to be laid at a later date.

NB There may be other visits that we don’t know about. Conclusions What was the cost of this exercise to the council taxpayer?

The allotment holders later found the source of the water leak themselves. It was outside the allotment boundary. Cost to council tax payers of this exercise = £0 )

Ecumenical Visit to Fecamp

By Fr. Aidan Walsh

On 19 May an Ecumenical group of twelve, represented by Catholics, Anglicans, Baptist and Quakers from the Churches Together, set out from Rye to visit Fecamp, Normandy. The purpose of the visit was to join in the celebrations of the Holy Trinity Abbey in Fecamp who were celebrating 900 years of the dedication of their great abbey. It was originally a Benedictine Abbey but ceased to be at the time of the French Revolution when it was closed and the monks had to leave. The old medieval church of St. Mary’s Rye, which is now Anglican, was founded by the monks of Fecamp in 1103. This is an important link between the two towns. When St. Mary’s celebrated the 900 years Anniversary in 2003 a group came from the Abbey in Fecamp to take part in the celebrations. On arrival in Fecamp the group joined a full programme of festivities for the weekend. They were greeted by Fr. Oliver at the presbytery of the Abbey. They were accommodated by host families for the duration of their stay. Saturday began with a reception at the Town Hall where the group received an official welcome. They were taken to the Abbey Notre Dame du Pre, Velmont to visit the beautiful Abbey run by the Benedictine Nuns. During the visit they were treated to a midday meal, then a visit around the abbey, the grounds and the shop. In the afternoon came the opening of the Abbey History Exhibition in the Holy Trinity Abbey. It was beautifully displayed and depicted the whole history of the Abbey. This was followed by the lovely sung vespers, monks from the Benedictine Monastery of St. Wandrille and the nuns from Velmont rendered the beautiful singing of the Psalms. The group enjoyed a lovely buffet meal with parishioners of the Abbey then attended a concert in the Abbey Church. “Apocalypse of St. John” was performed perfectly by a choir from Paris who came to Fecamp for the occasion. On Sunday a special Mass in thanksgiving was a broadcast celebration Mass. It was celebrated by the Archbishop of Rouen and the Bishop of Le Hovre. It was a splendid occasion, thanks to God were given for the long history of the Abbey. After Mass the group attended another reception at the Town Hall with the Mayor of Fecamp, followed by an official luncheon. The day was rounded off with a farewell tea with friends and hosts, followed by a visit to a beautiful church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, under the title of Notre Dame du Salut, (Our Lady of Salvation). “It was a wonderful way to end the visit, under the patronage of the Virgin Mary” recalls Fr. Aidan Walsh. “One can only hope and pray that it will once again become the Dowry of Mary just as it was when the Benedictines came to Rye to build a Church 900 years ago.

‘Bygone Rye Harbour’ Introduction to New Edition

The original version was the 18th Volume in the ‘Rye Memories’ Series’ produced by the members of the Thomas Peacocke Community College Local History Group, which met on Wednesday afternoons, in 1992. The students researched documents and interviewed Rye Harbour residents, some of them relatives; to collect together information to compile what, I believe, was the first printed work on the village. It was soon ‘out of print’ and the steady flow of requests for a ‘reprint’ happily coincided with the establishment of ‘Rye Harbour Heritage’ and so it seemed an opportune time to prepare an updated volume, together with more illustrations. These were kindly provided by Dr. Barry Yates from his archive, and included too are fine line drawings by Brian Hargreaves which first appeared in ‘Ryennium – Rye at the Millennium’, written by Jo Kirkham and published by Rye Town Council in 2000. Mr. Michael Alford has yet again supported the project and has updated his ‘History of Rye Harbour’. The reprint was funded by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and English Nature through Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. The proceeds will be divided between Thomas Peacocke Community College, to be used to buy books for the Library, and Rye Harbour Heritage. Jo Kirkham: June 2006.

Saved by the Bell This piece was sent in by Rye Town Clerk,  Richard Farhall

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be Here are some facts about life in Rye in the 1500s: Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married. Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water..’ Raining Cats and Dogs Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying. ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’ There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, ‘Dirt poor’. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying ‘a thresh hold’. In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, ‘Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..’ Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, ‘bring home the bacon’. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and ‘chew the fat..’ Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust. Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of ‘holding a wake.’ A Dead Ringer England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and re-use the grave. When re-opening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night, ‘the graveyard shift’. to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a … ‘dead ringer..’

“Rye’s Own” August 2006

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