Old Fisherman of Rye

Mr. Jacob “Shad” Gibbs 1865-1956

By Julie Brett (Ditcher) Great Granddaughter
Jacob was born in 1865 in Rye, his father and four brothers were all from Rye and were all fishermen as he was to become at the age of 11. From 1888-1890 he served as mate under skipper W. Bourne on the trawler S.S.Pionerre and from
1893-1897 he was the third hand under Master J.M. Breeds on the S.S.Crusader.
He married around the age of 22 to Mary Jane Small, who was a Rye Harbour lass and was married for over 50 years until her death in 1937. Jacob and Mary Jane had 2 sons and 4 daughters, lived in Rye for a few years and then Rye Harbour.
Jacob sailed in numerous vessels and became a familiar figure to fishing communities from Newhaven to Folkestone. During the First World War when he lived for a time in Newhaven he served first in the Territorial Force and then asked to be transferred to minesweepers and served as a Petty Officer.
At the end of the war he and his wife settled back in Rye Harbour still continuing to fish until the death of his wife when he moved to Rye and lived with one of his daughters Mary Jane Ditcher (my Grandmother). Continue reading Old Fisherman of Rye

Between the Zeppelin and the Doodle Bug

By Arthur Woodgate

On 16 October 1917, I was taken to the Lion Street School and settled in a class taught by a Miss Jordon. Miss Longley was the Headmistress and with a long wooden corridor she could be heard coming with loud creaks all over our infant school. Continue reading Between the Zeppelin and the Doodle Bug

George Marsden

By The Editor

I was intrigued by Arthur Woodgate’s recollection of the 1937-40 Mayor of Rye George Marsden. The mystery surrounding where he came from and where he went in 1940 have haunted me since Arthur first told me about George Marsden’s Mayoralty so I decided I must delve deeper. Continue reading George Marsden

A Rye Childhood

 By Noel C. A. Care

This personal account of life and times in the town of Rye, East Sussex, is written some seventy five years later, from memories which are still as bright now as the day they occurred. Continue reading A Rye Childhood

The Rye Mill


Rye Mill
Rye Mill

Actual documentary evidence on the history of Rye Mill is virtually non-existent. It was the subject of Victorian mezzotints and oleographs, but beyond that visual and literary records are silent. Whether a mill existed on the present site earlier than, say, 1850, is a matter of pure conjecture. We do know, however, that long before the Webb family, who used the mill for baking and bread-making before and after the Second War, came into residence the buildings had been given over to storing grain. Probably the last flour actually produced there was sold either before or during the First World War. Then the bakery was at the Mill Cottage – the old tall chimney of the bakehouse can be seen in the photographs taken in the 1920s. Continue reading The Rye Mill

History For Sale at Rye Auction Galleries


First published in “Rye’s Own” August 2001

History Under the Hammer – Rye Auction Galleries

The story of Commander Frank Claret told in photographs, ship reports,
newspaper clippings, telegraphs, letters and ships papers reflecting
the eventful life of a British transatlantic liner Captain both before
and after the First World War and of his exploits as a wartime merchant
navy Skipper when his ship, the Minnehaha, was fitted with a four
inch gun and used to transport arms and munitions across the Atlantic. Continue reading History For Sale at Rye Auction Galleries