Rye Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameRye Town Wall
Alternative NamesRia; Rya; Landgate; Land Gate
Historic CountrySussex
Modern AuthorityEast Sussex
1974 AuthorityEast Sussex
Civil ParishRye

C14 stone town wall. The fine Land Gate only substantial survival but parts of the town wall are listed in the context of their incorporation into other buildings.

The 2 lower storeys 1340, the top storey 1380. Gate with 2 round towers on moulded plinths flanking it. Built of stone rubble. The parapet has disappeared. The string course and machiolations with moulded corbels remain on the north front. The latter has a pointed arch with grooves for the portcullis. The south front has an elliptical arch flanked by buttresses, of which that on the west has been removed. In the reveals of the inner arch are pointed doorways giving access to the side towers. Rectangular loop windows with ashlar dressings in the towers. Trefoil-headed lancets over the gate. The floors and roof of the gate and towers have disappeared. The clock was inserted in 1862. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Town frequently raided by French in C14. First grant of murage in 1329 and then in 1333, 1336, 1343, 1348. In 1369 murage granted and licence to crenellete. Murage granted again in 1377, but after this levies and fee farm remissions used for fortifications. Despite all this the town was still considered to be in need of fortification and in 1385 a commission was appointed to supervise the fortification of the town and town granted dues paid on fish landed in ports between Hastings and Whitstable and 200 trees were granted. The earlier murage may have been spent on Ypres Tower but the walls seem to date from the late C14 and the several hundred pounds raised from the levy on fish. In the mid C14 much fuss was made of the threat from the French but what the money raised from murage was spent on is unclear.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ922206
Latitude50.9528388977051
Longitude0.735249996185303
Eastings592210
Northings120610
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Simon Tunbridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 124-5
  • Purton, P.F., 2010, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 137
  • Draper, Gillian et al, 2009, Rye: A History of a Sussex Cinque Port to 1660 (Phillimore) esp p. 153-178
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 36, 71, 126, 141, 142, 203, 205, 222, 261
  • Jones, R., 2003, 'Hastings to Herstmonceux: the castles of Sussex' in Rudling, D. (ed) The archaeology of Sussex to AD2000 (Great Dunham: Heritage Marketing and Publications) p. 171-8
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Sussex (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 65-7
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 253-4
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 476
  • Freke, D., 1978, 'Medieval urban archaeology in Sussex' in Archaeology in Sussex to AD 1500 (CBA Research Report 29) p. 87-92 online copy
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 159-63
  • Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1937, VCH Sussex Vol. 9 p. 40-2
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 208
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 321 online copy
  • Holloway, W., 1847, The History and Antiquities of the Ancient Port of Rye p. 585-90

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Mayhew, G.J., 1984, 'Rye and the defence of the narrow seas: a 16th-century town at war' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 122 p. 107–26
  • Hadfield, J., 1981, 'An excavation at l-3 Tower Street, Rye, East Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 119 p. 222-5
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 206
  • Ditchfield, P.H., 1924, 'The walls of Rye and Winchelsea' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 30 p. 120-131
  • Blaauw, William Henry, 1861, ' Royal Licenses to Fortify Towns and Houses in Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 13 p. 104-117 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1367-70) Vol. 14 p. 224 (licence to crenellate, grant of murage and levy) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1367-70) Vol. 14 p. 224 (licence to crenellate, grant of murage and levy) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1327-1330) p. 403; (1330-1334) p. 304; (1334-1338) p. 230; (1343-1345) p. 43; (1348-1350) p. 93; (1377-1381) p. 74-5 (murage grants) online copies via University of Iowa Libraries
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1370-1374) p. 203; (1377-1381) p. 434; (1381-1385) p. 588; (1381-1385) p. 525 (other grants toward fortifications) online copies via University of Iowa Libraries
  • 1876, Fifth report of the royal commission on historical manuscripts (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts 4) p. 497a (other grants toward fortifications)
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >

Other

  • Harris, R.B., September 2009, Rye Historic Character Assessment Report: Sussex Extensive Urban Survey Download copy