The view from Rye Church Tower is fantastic and worth experiencing if you ever visit the town. It is accessed from inside the church for a small fee. The climb to the top takes you through very narrow passages and rickety steps. You’ll see an original 15th century clock mechanism, and a full array of the church bells. Interestingly, one of the original bells was stolen during a French raid during the 13th century. It was recovered the following year from Normandy during a raid by men of Rye and Winchelsea and put to use as attack warning bells. There it stayed for nearly 300 years before being restored to the church. The old bells were replaced entirely during the 1700’s and these are the ones on display now.
You can still get a good sense of how the town would have been when it was part of the Cinque Ports even though the landscape has changed substantially since. Â The flat land that now makes up Pett Level and Romney Marsh would have been wetlands. The Rother would have been a substantial tidal river, five or six times wider than it is now. This map provides an idea how the land used to look.
These photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.