Rye an unexpected pleasure


We were making our way to Dungeness to Travel back to Hythe on the train. However as one of us was an archaeologist who knew a great deal about the medieval churches of the area we kept stopping to have a look at various churches of interest. One of our stops was a Rye where we spent a couple of hours. Rye is not actually in Kent but in Sussex. However it sits on a hill overlooking the marshes most of which were drained and used to graze sheep. I was intrigued by the huge gates across the road.

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It was quite steep and my achilles tendon was throbbing, but I struggled up the hill. I was rewarded when halfway up the hill I found a viewing platform where it was possible to see over the town.

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The whole experience was transformed for me when I read on the plaque that EM Benson had based his Mapp and Lucia novels in Rye and called it Tilling.  I found these Novels after hearing them spoken of on a radio 4 programme and once I had got over my irritation with the snobbery, I was hooked. They are a bit like PG Woodhouse rather of that era.

It was a bit like finding middle earth was a real place. I looked for the house that is central to the books that has a room overlooking the high street (Mallards)  and found  just such a house as described. Home to an artist according the the blue plaque

 

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I found a small tea shop similar to the one mentioned ( Diva’s tea shop) half timbered cramped and absolutely charming.  We had the most fantastic cake and tea there. I saw the station  where they would catch the train to London.

I saw the  church and the town hall ( Lucia was mayor Tilling just as EM Benson was mayor of Rye).

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It was like playing That new Pokemon game but so much better. It lifted my whole day. We didn’t get to visit the castle as there wasn’t time.

I also found the house where the novelist Radclyffe Hall Lived . She wrote a book called the Well of Loneliness  it was the first English novel to describe lesbianism.

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So this was my literary day. I confess it was one of the best days of our trip.

Kind regards Your mother

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