Thursday, 19 June 2014

Out and about in Rye.

Painting of Rye by a local artist in the bar of 'The George."
Ever since reading "The Master" by Colm Toibin about Henry James in Rye I've wanted to visit Lamb House where he lived from 1898 'til 1914.  As soon as we had left our overnight bags at the hotel I went hot-foot round the corner to knock on his door.
 See the little white note taped over the entry details? They were closed until the 21st!!
We had driven for four hours to get there and I wasn't even able to peep into the garden.
The reason for the closure was filming, a new BBC production of Mapp and Lucia. The name above the door had been changed from 'Lamb House' to 'Mallards' and a whole new false bow window and plastic railings built to one side by a local carpenter. (Someone had leant against the railings and they'd been put back together with sticky tape!)
A shop window had become the Tilling Emporium displaying period clothing

with information about E.F. Benson, the writer.
Filming was in progress around pretty Church Square

and extras were waiting in the churchyard.
The cameras were in action inside 'The Old Vicarage.' (Our receptionist told us that the owners were delighted because the kitchen had been totally reconstructed and they were going to be able to keep the Aga !)
It seems that Rye has been full of characters both fictional and real
with houses are as varied as the personalities,

from the grandeur of Nash's house to this little place where the door height is 5ft 4 inches!

On our second night we stayed in Mermaid Street.
My, those pebbles take some walking on!
Here's our B&B.
Rather appropriately we were put in 'Benson' room.

 And after so much sight-seeing it was good to flop into bed!


  1. Oh what a fun picturesque trip. Didn't you just want to dress up in period costume and join the production? My husband is from the American village of Rye, New York. I've always wondered about the "original Rye." Such a charming place.

    1. If they'd put me in an outfit I'd have been in there like a shot! With your husband's connection, if you come to England, Connie, you'll have to visit Rye.
      Interestingly, in today's Sunday paper there is a review of 'The George', where we stayed on our first night. It mentions all the stars who stayed there whilst filming 'The Monuments Men'. Now I'm wondering if I've slept in the same bed as George Clooney and soaked in the same roll-top bath! (Number 8, George.)

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, it's very characterful. We are planning to return because there is such a lot to see in the area.
      'Mapp and Lucia' is due to be shown around Christmas time and has the actresses Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor.

  3. Thank you for taking us along with you. It looks like a village I would love touring and meeting and chatting with the locals.

    1. I'm now reading the Mapp and Lucia books - I don't know whether the locals are quite as eccentric as the characters in the books!

  4. One of my absolute favourite towns. Tenterton's nice too.

    1. We'll put Tenterton on the to-do list when we return.

  5. Rye is one of our favourites towns too and I can't wait to see the new Mapp & Lucia. And I loved "The Master" by Colm Toibin. Talking literary associations, another favourite writer of mine, Rumer Godden, once lived in Lamb House and lesbian writer Radclyffe Hall was a local for a while.

    1. I like Rumer Godden's writing as well, her books for children were favourites with my daughters.
      On our second night we stayed at Jeakes House where each bedroom is named after an author. As I've mentioned, we were in 'Benson' but the room next to ours was 'Radclyffe Hall' - I don't think that Himself would have been too thrilled to sink into bed with the well of loneliness!

  6. Charming tour! The period clothing of the extras reminds me of my grandmother in her elopement photo!