43b – Rye to Rye Harbour

As we left Rye we saw Martello Tower #30, dilapidated and overgrown, stood in a private garden.  I think I would quite like a Martello Tower in my garden.  I could put it to good use.

Martello Tower #30We crossed the Brede Sluice and turned into Harbour Road, which lead to Rye Harbour, a village in its own right.  The road ran alongside the River Brede for a short distance.  On the opposite bank houses on the outskirts of Rye backed on to the river.  I image that the inhabitants spend many lazy afternoons on their terraces in the summer months, watching boats slowly make their way up and down the river, and listening to the ring of the ropes flapping against their masts in the wind.

Looking Back Towards Ryebetween Rye and Rye Harbour, Harbour Road is lined by industrial premises of various types.  As the industrial uses give way to residential, on the edge of the village, there stands the Church of the Holy Spirit.  This is a gothic church, built in 1849.  The graveyard is worth visiting; it is home to a large memorial.

Rye Harbour Church

On 15 November 1928, a Latvian steamer collided with a German ship off Dungeness.  The lifeboat crew stationed in Rye Harbour were called, and at 6:45am they launched their lifeboat, the Mary Stanford.  The trip to the lifeboat house itself was over a mile from most of the mens’ houses; they then had to haul the lifeboat over the shingle by hand.  The storm was so bad that they did not see the flares which had been fired to recall them, for the steamer’s crew had already been rescued by the German ship.  For four hours the lifeboat struggled on the seas, but with no let up in the weather the crew decided to turn back for home.  It was on their way back that a huge wave capsized the boat, with the loss of all 17 men on board.  It was the worst disaster in British lifeboat history.  The size of the memorial in the graveyard speaks volumes about how devastated this small village was by the loss of so many of its number.

Mary Stanford Memorial, Rye Harbour ChurchSeveral of the men on board the Mary Stanford were related; the coxswain had his two sons on board.

The inscription reads, “We have done that which was our duty to do”.

We walked out of the graveyard and turned south on the road, towards the sea.

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Martello Tower #30:  N 50° 56.780 E 000° 43.766
  • Mary Stanford Memorial:  N 50° 56.322 E 000° 45.381

Walk #43 Statistics (of which this post forms the third part):

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4 Responses to 43b – Rye to Rye Harbour

  1. silvermud says:

    Fascinated to know what use you would put a Martello tower to!

      • Wingclipped says:

        I would plaster it out, feed in some electrics and broadband and use it as a bunker for when unwanted visitors come round; a blog-writing-room; a place to put up all my photographs. Canons would be positioned on the roof and every New Year’s Day, at 2am, I would play The Last Post from the top (this would entail me having to learn to play the bugle of course). I would fix the mast of a tall ship into the roof, with a crow’s nest at the top, and climb up with a mug of coffee to watch the sun set over London. Hmmmmmmm actually I’m not sure this would get through the Local Planning Authority, but I’m not sure they would let me have a Martello Tower in the first place, either…

  2. Pingback: 43c – Rye Harbour to Winchelsea Beach | The Coastal Path

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