During this year I shall be posting photographs from places around the UK, many of which have not been published before. Where I have previously blogged about a location I will provide a link to the post, though you won’t be able to comment on it as I restrict comments to six months.
R is for Rye / Rye Harbour
Rye is an English town with a fascinating history near the coast in East Sussex about 20 miles east of Hastings and four miles from the white beach of Camber Sands. In the centre, cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street are lined with medieval, half-timbered houses.
The redbrick Lamb House was once owned by writer Henry James. Nearby, the tower of the Norman St. Mary’s Church overlooks the town. The 14th-century Ypres Tower, which formed part of Rye’s defences, is now Rye Castle Museum.
St Mary’s Church, Rye is the Anglican parish church of the civil parish of Rye in East Sussex.
A wonderful window
The entrance to the car park of the Mermaid Inn
Originally a seaport, Rye was incorporated in 1289 and became a full member of the Cinque Ports (a confederation of English Channel ports) about 1350. Now Rye Harbour lies 2 miles away from the actual town.
My only visit to Rye itself was back in November 2003 and I’m sad to say I don’t remember much about it other than it being quite cold and windy down by the sea. The second visit was a more pleasant one to the Nature Reserve in July 2014, but for some reason we didn’t bother to visit the town.
You can read about that visit here for a comprehensive walk along the shingle beach and an introduction to the wild flowers that grow in such an inhospitable landscape.
Watching the RHS Chelsea flower show yesterday evening there was a piece on Pennard Plants. Their Chelsea display is a garden based on a Rudyard Kipling poem “The Glory of the Garden” and aims to demonstrate all that is good about the English garden, using flowers and vegetables.
It reminded me that I have written a post about this marvellous poem and the house and garden where Kipling last lived. It is also fitting that this year is 150 years since his birth.
Enjoy the poem and the garden, comments are very welcome on the original post.
“OUR England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye…”
In the south-eastern corner of England you can find several impressive castles – Hever, Leeds, Dover, Rochester, Deal and Bodiam amongst them. Historically the region has always been vulnerable to attack from foreign shores.
As we were staying in the Weald of Kent for a few days, which is on the East Sussex border, we decided to take the historic steam train from Tenterden to Bodiam and walk to the moated castle, often glimpsed from the road when passing by. We could have driven there in about 10 minutes, but sometimes it is nice to take things slowly and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
In 1377 French ships raided the Sussex coast, causing widespread damage and panic among the local population which led to the building of nearby Scotney Castle. The French later raided nearby Winchelsea in 1380, so when a new French invasion threatened in 1385 Sir Edward Dalyngrigge (one of Edward III’s knights) applied to King Richard II for a license to fortify and strengthen the existing hall he lived in.
Having been granted permission he decided to build a new sandstone fortress near the River Rother, which at that time was navigable to the coast. Though its primary aim was defense, Dalyngrigge made sure that Bodiam was also a comfortable abode, as much a fortified residence as a military stronghold. And of course a visual symbol of his wealth.
Bodiam Castle is considered to be the finest example of medieval, moated, military architecture in Britain.
The Servants Kitchen
In the Buttery and Pantry
Gate and Portcullis
The East Tower
The French invasion never took place, and Bodiam’s impressive defenses were never tested until 1484 when the castle fell to a siege by Richard III.