The Magic of Rye

By Jo’ Vincent

What gives Rye it’s special appeal? Some say the magnetic quality is centred on the Quarter Boys who guard the Church Clock and ring out the quarters. Old Rhodes did say “The sound of the Quarter Boys will draw you further than gunpowder can blow you”. This has proved the case so many times when old Ryers, who have spent many years overseas return to the town where they were brought up.

Rye from the Old Mill
Rye from the Old Mill

Others say that the main focus of Rye is Mermaid Street with it’s famous Mermaid Inn. It is said that Mermaid Street is one of the five best known streets in the world – it is certainly one of the most photographed and the most visited. One American tourist was overheard to say that the cobble stones were taken up and cleaned periodically! Then there is the fascinating connection with the sea. Once the water of the English Channel washed round the foot of the town. It has receded three miles now but the town is still connected to the sea by the River Rother and remains a busy fishing port. The fisherman of Rye have been active despite much diminished profits as a result of the oppressive EEC regulations. There is nothing to compare with buying fresh fish from the catch of the day right off the boats at The Fishmarket. Should you be sailing up the River or walking through the many trails approaching Rye the silhouette appears the same from any angle either from the marshes to the east, Winchelsea from the West or approaching on the River from the South.

At this time of the year Rye becomes alive with the magic of Christmas. In spite of the many modern changes Rye has retained most of its originality especially now with the twinkling Christmas lights, the glow of candles in the little Dicken’s like shops and the soon to be carol singers walking the streets.

The magic of Rye has been experienced through the ages and continues until this day.


“Rye’s Own” December 2001

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