Monday 8 November 2010

Rye in the rain...and Inspiration

It has been a long time since I visited Rye and it was warm and sunny the day I did visit. This time it was cold and very wet...

If you have heard of Rye then it may be in relation to sheep and smuggling. But it has a notable literary claim- more later.

The sheep provided the wool that supported the community, along with fishing, especially needed when land reclaimed from the sea reduced tidal-flows and allowed silt to build up in the rivers and harbour reducing the advantages of their seaport.

Smuggling thrived in the Rye area, so when luxury goods were added to the agenda the gangs involved didn't hesitate to employ violence- murder and intimidation- if required, and blood was spilled...

(Reality truly was very different to the smuggler heroes of historical romances published in this century.)

If you're interested, find out about the Hawkhurst Gang in 18thC Kent and Sussex.

As to the literary side of the town, it was actually the home of a lot of authors, among them - Henry James the American Novelist who lived at Lamb House and wrote a number of his books there. (Lamb House is now a National Trust Property.)
17th C dramatist John Fletcher. Children's author Malcolm Saville and Author/Cartoonist John Ryan who is best known for his TV cartoon 'Captain Pugwash', loved by children and adults alike.

I even got a story idea from visiting the Ypres Tower (built in 1249). The tower under the ownership of a Trust and is staffed by volunteers who are knowledgeable and interested in the building's care and preservation.
On the upper floor, apart from the display material you can walk out onto a observation area and view the Romney Marshes and the surrounding landscape- a spectacular view.
I appreciated it from the doorway...

As to the inspiration, the upper room got me thinking...What if you woke up in a tower room but couldn't remember how you got there...


Helen Baggott said...

Is there a connection between the Ypres Tower and Ypres in Belgium?

Carolb said...

It is always possible Helen.
The tower was built to defend the town from the French, but there was a name change- its owner was John de Ypes.
It's always possible that his family may have originated from that area.