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Rye Parish Church of St Mary

Rye Parish Church of St Mary near Small Hythe, Kent

Rye Parish Church of St Mary
Church Square
Rye
East Sussex
TN31 7HF
01797 224 935
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For almost 900 years the Parish Church of Rye, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, has dominated the hill on which the old town stands. It has stood through good times and bad. In 1377 when the town was looted and set on fire by French invaders the church was extensively damaged. The roof fell in and the bells were carried off to France. They were recovered the next year when men from Rye and Winchelsea sailed to Normandy and took them back!

In 1742 a murder took place in the churchyard when Allen Grebell was killed by John Breeds who mistook him for the Mayor. John Breeds was hung and his remains placed in an iron cage on Gibbets Marsh. Later this was moved to the church and later still to the Town Hall where it is to this day. The grave of Allen Grebell can be seen in the Clare Chapel.

There are several interesting stained glass windows in the church, although none are very old. The most beautiful is by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1891) in memory of Mary Tiltman and can be seen in the North Aisle.

Today St Mary's is a popular destination for tourists who come to see the oldest church turret clock in the country which is still functioning. It dates from 1561-2 and has an 18ft long pendulum (a much later addition) which can be seen swinging in the body of the church. The present exterior clock face and the original 'Quarter Boys' (so called because they strike the quarters but not the hours) were added in 1760.

The photograph above shows the Burne-Jones Window.

The church is open daily from 9 am - 5.30pm (4.30pm in winter). The tower is also open daily and can be climbed, for a charge, to see the clock mechanism, the bells and a wonderful view of Rye and the surrounding countryside.
Regular services take place as follows:

Sunday Services

- 8.00am. Holy Communion (Traditional)
- 10.30am. Parish Eucharist (Modern)1st Sunday ~ Family Service
- 6.00pm. Evensong (Traditional)~ most Sundays
- Thursdays: 10.00am. Holy Communion (Modern)

Parish Records: All parish records of baptism/marriage/death are kept in East Sussex County Records Office:

The Maltings, Castle Precincts, Lewes BN7 1YT
Tel: 01273 482 359
Fax: 01273 482 341


Event

What's On in Small Hythe?

  • Jazz Supper

    Thursday 27th June
    Location: Rye

    Swing, bossa nova and easy-listening tunes from innovative bassist David Silk, multi-instrumentalist Phil Brown who plays not just saxophone but ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 28th June @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Local Produce, Cakes, Jams, Crafts and more. ... more

  • Crafts by the Rails

    Saturday 29th June for 2 days @ 10:00am
    Location: Tenterden

    Weald Crafts and K&ESR are hosting a Fair at Tenterden Town Station, displaying various hand-made items by local crafts people ... more

  • Jenny Bush 'An Eye for Detail'

    Wednesday 3rd July for 13 days @ 11:00am
    Location: Rye

    Red Door is delighted to welcome Jenny Bush for her show entitled 'An Eye for Detail' where she interprets flora, ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 5th July @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Local Produce, Cakes, Jams, Crafts and more. ... more

  • Multi Market

    Friday 5th July @ 10:00am
    Location: Appledore

    Lots of stalls, knitted items, metalwork, cakes and bakes, crafts, homemade and lots more at Appledore Village Hall free parking ... more

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Thursday 11th July for 2 days
    Location: Rye

    Five years after Bowler Crab’s 2013 debut feature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, they return to this classic, magical ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 12th July @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Local Produce, Cakes, Jams, Crafts and more. ... more

  • Ikarus Inc

    Wednesday 17th July @ 7:30am
    Location: Sandhurst

    Open air theatre coming to Sandhurst Playing Fields on Wednesday 17 July with a play set in the 1950s in ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 19th July @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Local Produce, Cakes, Jams, Crafts and more. ... more

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