Rye Castle Museum and the Ypres Tower

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2021

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“Rye Castle”:http://ryemuseum.co.uk/ and the Ypres (pronounced Wipers) Tower has been a castle, private dwelling, Court Hall, goal and is now a museum.

On the Ground floor were various police and military items, cells and a gibbet containing a replica of the skeleton of John Breads, a local butcher, who attempted to murder the Mayor of Rye and Chief Magistrate, James Lamb. Although he drunkenly claimed ‘butchers kill lambs’ he had actually killed Lamb’s brother-in-law. As Chief Magistrate, Lamb convicted Breads and sentenced him to death. The next day his body was placed in the town gibbet as a warning to others. There were models of ships and of Romney Marsh coastline which illuminated the original coastline in Roman times at the press of a button. There was also a small and lovely smelling Herb room.

We walked carefully up a narrow circular staircase which had uneven steps to deter intruders and found a toilet and another room which led to a terrace with views across the River Rother and Romney Marsh.

Back downstairs, were suits of armour and details of how chain mail was made as well as various swords and bows. We were able to try pulling a long bow which had a weight of 48lbs (I think).

A laminated booklet told the story of the Mary Stanford Lifeboat and how in 1928, the lives of 17 men were lost. It looked fascinating, but there was too much detail.

Back outside, a walled medieval garden, planted with herbs used in Medieval times for cooking, healing and household chores, led to the Women’s Tower, built in 1837, which contained a mock-up of a cell and an audio exhibition of a conversation between two inmates.

Further outside, the Gun Garden overlooked the river and contained cannons and cannonballs. A small wedding group were enjoying fizz in the garden and getting blown about!

John Ryan, the creator of Captain Pugwash, was a Rye resident and there was a Captain Pugwash treasure trail around the museum for children.

Admission is £4.

Helen Jackson

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