The Jane Ann of Rye in Arundel 1898

By Ron Dellar

Almost two years now out of Rye – two years trying to get used to living here in West Sussex (it is different to East Sussex!) but two years in the course of which I have, on various occasions, been seen lurking round corners in Rye and two years in which time I have made a start in building a new life far away from the plots, plans and devious scheming that were so much part of my life in dear old Rye!

(If anybody would like to know more about my days in Rye and the good and maybe not so good things I got up to, I would be delighted to tell it all, the way it was…….)

So far I have resisted any inclination to involve myself in the affairs of Angering Parish Council – much smaller than the much grander Rye Town Council but still with the same (lack of) power and influence – instead I have spent my time unpacking, getting myself a proper studio built in the garden – something I never had in Rye – producing paintings and drawings – including a companion to the large view of Rye from the River Rother which I did before leaving.

The new work shows Arundel from the River Arun and together they form part of a plan to paint Four

Sussex Towns from east to west – from Rye to Lewes on to Arundel and finally to Chichester – a quartet of Sussex towns – a garland for the County I have grown to love…..

I have also recently been elected onto the Management Committee of the Arundel Museum Society in the role of Art Adviser (a different kind of politics this!) and in that capacity recently completed a catalogue of all their paintings, drawings, prints, documents and photos.

Can you imagine my amazement on examining a large oil painting of Arundel done in 1898/99 to discover that the vessel shown alongside the quay, about to load up with the timber shown lying in the yard, was none other than a boat out of Rye.

The Jane-Ann at Arundel 1898
The Jane-Ann at Arundel 1898

Painted on her stern is the name Jane – Ann, Rye

I enclose a copy of a photograph I have had taken of the painting which I believe will be of interest to your readers.

If John Collard were still with us I have no doubt he would have known all about the Jane Ann – but does anybody else?

From the painting it seems fairly clear that our good Rye boat has come to load up with timber, no doubt destined for the Timber Yard that lay where the McCarthy Stone Retirement Homes now stand.

Strand Quay. I remember the timber yard well and regret to this day that it could not have been preserved – it was just another bit of Rye that, like so many other places I recall, has been lost forever.

Does anybody have any information on the Jane- Ann, who built her, who was her skipper, how long did she ply between Rye and Arundel and what happened to her?

I am glad to have discovered this tiny connection between Rye and Arundel through a work of art.

Right now I spend every Wednesday at the Arundel Museum – it is really only just over ten minutes down the road and has about half the population of Rye. Of course it has a Major and a Council and is preoccupied by similar problems to those that face Rye – traffic – and more traffic. Its situation is nowhere near as serious as Rye – it doesn’t have the A259 going right through the town but still believes it needs a bypass.

The current Mayor has just come out of hospital after an operation on his leg – when I asked him how things were now he said “The Mayor of Arundel can get a by-pass but the town can’t”.

As far as I am concerned there will be no peace in Rye until it gets a by-pass running from the Rye Harbour Road under the River and heading out east to link up at East Guldeford – –

But will that ever happen?

I could prattle on about what I believe should or should not happen to Rye – but I wont.

Instead I would just like to send my greetings and best wishes to all your readers and let them know that there is, after all, life after Rye.

Ron Dellar

“Rye’s Own” May 2004

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