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Ypres Tower

Ypres Tower in the picturesque town of Rye, surrounded by stone walls and gate towers, is like a time capsule back to medieval times and smuggling throughthe centuries. With its nearby smaller sister town of Winchelsea, also boasting defensive gate towers, this is a fabulous place to explore.

History of Ypres Tower

1000's ~ The Saxon fishing village of Rye, almost entirely surrounded by water and within the Manor of Rameslie, is promised to the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy by King Ethelred the Unready.

1014 ~ King Ethelred is forced to flee from the Danes who have invaded England. Luckily the Abbey in Normandy provides him and his men with shelter.

1016 ~ Ethelred dies before he is able to bestow his gift tothe Abbey. His widow, Queen Emma marries King Canute, now also King of England. She ensures her ex husbands promise is honoured with the transfer of Rye and the surrounding area, to the Norman Abbey of Fecamp. (more in the History section)

Tower today

Ypres Tower looks out across what would have been sea in all directions overlooking the harbour with Winchelsea a short boat ride away. Today the sea has retreated to such an extent that Henry VIII's 16th century Camber Castle, located on the flat marshy land below Ypres Tower, to better defend the harbour, is now entirely land-locked miles from the sea. Rye is famous for its smuggling history which just adds to the whole experience of exploring Rye and Winchelsea. Parking in and around Rye is limited, and the walking up steep cobbled streets can be a challenge, so make sure you have suitable footwear.

Text by Fred Vincent