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Rye Parish Church of St Mary

Rye Parish Church of St Mary near Pett Level, East Sussex

Rye Parish Church of St Mary
Church Square
Rye
East Sussex
TN31 7HF
01797 224 935
ryeparishchurch.org.ukVisit Website
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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 Pett Level?

  • Ryebellion Drummers

    Monday 21st May @ 7:30pm
    Location: Rye

    We are the drumming group of the Rye & District Bonfire Society. We perform at events throughout the Sussex bonfire ... more

  • Auction of Promises

    Thursday 24th May
    Location: Rye

    Auction of Promises, Antiques and Miscellaneous Items at the Tudor Rooms, Mermaid Hotel. Viewing from 7.00pm. Ticket: £5 includes glass ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 25th May @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Rye Country Market will be open every Friday from 9th March - 14th December. We sell Cakes, Savouries, Preserves, Free ... more

  • St Mary's Flower Festival

    Saturday 26th May for 3 days
    Location: Rye

    Flower Festival in aid of the historic parish church. The theme is ‘In Which We Serve’. As well as arrangements ... more

  • 1066 Walking Festival - Coastal Plants

    Saturday 26th May @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye Harbour

    Find out how the shingle and saltmarsh plants cope with their harsh environment. We will also see some coastal birds. ... more

  • Paperback Payback!

    Saturday 26th May for 9 days @ 10:00am
    Location: Hastings

    If you’re writing the biography of a killer aristocrat you’d better get your facts straight or you could find yourself ... more

  • Late Spring Fayre

    Saturday 26th May @ 10:30am
    Location: Icklesham

    Lots of stalls, tombola, raffle refreshments, cream teas. Proceeds in aid of St Nicholas Church. Venue: Icklesham Memorial Hall. ... more

  • Table Sale

    Saturday 26th May @ 2:00pm
    Location: Winchelsea Beach

    Tabel Sale at WBCA Community Hall Sea Road, Winchelsea Beach. ... more

  • Canine First Responder Course

    Sunday 27th May @ 9:00am
    Location: Hastings

    We're pleased to be holding another Canine First Responder Course at Hastings football ground (The Pilot Field). The course is ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellar Tours

    Sunday 27th May
    Location: Winchelsea

    Each year a team of volunteers run guided tours of the town’s medieval cellars. All proceeds received (£6 per person) ... more

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