Mermaid Street Rye

Rye, on the east coast of Sussex may be a small town, but it big on charm, and has a history woven into its fabric that is second to none on interest and intrigue.
A meander around the streets will bring you to Turkey Cock Lane and may leave you wondering it got its name. Once upon a time there was a monastery near Turkey Cock Lane, situated on cobbled Conduit Hill. The story goes that one of the monks from the Austin Friars monastery fell in love with a peasant girl living nearby He watched her everyday and became so besotted, that he attempted to woe her with his beautiful singing voice. After a while she gave in to his charms, and the couple decided to run away together. Unfortunately the couple’s plans were discovered and the monk was grabbed and dragged to a cell outside the town walls. For his punishment the entrance was bricked up and, with no food or water, he was left to die a long and lingering death. Devastated the girl returned to her home, and pining for her monk, she turned her face to the wall, and died of a broken heart. It is said that the ghosts of the couple meet in the lane, where her beloved monk tries to sing to her, but now he sounds like a turkey gobbling, the very sound he made as he was gasping for air in his bricked up prison.

Turkey Cock Lane Rye

One of the prettiest and most atmospheric streets in the town must be Mermaid Street, once the town’s main road, and filled with an assortment of timber framed houses. The Mermaid Inn is probably the most famous smuggling pub in Sussex and is where and the infamous Hawkhurst Gang would smoke their pipes, loaded pistols on the table openly boast and their exploits. The cellars date from 1156 when the original Inn was built and it would have been constructed of laths, wattle and daub and plaster, and the Inn keeper of the day would have charged one penny a night for lodgings. The black and white timber-framed and tiled building was reconstructed around 1420, retaining its old cellars and was again renovated in the 16th century. But the Inn is known most of all for its hauntings and it has been named the most haunted pub in Britain. In all there are 31 rooms, spread over several floors and eight have 4-poster beds. Room 1 is said to be haunted by a white or grey lady who sits in the chair by the fireplace. In the morning when guest’s wake they are puzzled to find that clothes put on this chair overnight are wet, despite no windows being open. In room number 10 resides the ghost of a man whose passion is to walk through the bathroom wall into the main room, and has frightened many a guest or three. The Elizabethan room, number 16, was once a scene of a duel involving two men, both wearing 16th century clothing. It is said that after fighting their way through rooms, one man finally ended up being killed in this room, before being dragged into another room and thrown down the trap door to the cellar below. This room is also haunted by the girlfriend of one of the Hawkhurst gang who was killed
by another of the gang because she knew too much and he was afraid she would
expose the exploits of the men. Another member of the gang, Thomas Kingsmill has
number 17 named after him. Here the ghost of George Gray’s wife, another gang
member haunts a rocking chair, but the chair had to be removed from the premises
because it kept disturbing too many guests. An American guest staying at Room 19
became so terrified at seeing a man, dressed in old fashioned clothes sitting on his
bed, that he spent the rest of the night in an adjacent room with a mattress pulled
around his head!

Mermaid Inn Rye

In the dining there is beautiful 17th century oak chair that is carved to look like a devil.
It is said to have once belonged to a witch’s coven, and is cursed was well as been
very unlucky. The Landlady said that a party of school children came to the Mermaid
on a tour and learn about its history, and one little girl misbehaved throughout the
entire tour and when they were explaining about the chair, and told the children not
to touch it, this little girl immediately jumped up and sat on it. The following day the
landlady received a call to say that the child had broken her leg! Fate or accident? I
will leave you to decide.
Next week we shall stay in Rye and explore the sad tale of James Lamb, and the
disaster of the Rye life boat crew.

The dining Room Mermaid Inn

About Wendy Hughes

Wendy turned to writing, in 1989, when ill-health and poor vision forced her into early medical retirement. Since then she has published 26 nonfiction books, and over 2000 articles. Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as The Lady, Funeral Service Journal, On the Road, 3rd Stone, Celtic Connections, Best of British, and Guiding magazine. She has a column in an America/Welsh newspaper for ex-pats on old traditions and customs in Wales. Her books include many on her native Wales, Anglesey Past and Present, The Story of Brecknock, Brecon, a pictorial History of the Town, Carmarthen, a History and Celebration and Tales of Old Glamorgan, and a book on Walton on Thames in the Images of England series, a company history and two books on the charity Hope Romania. She has also co-authored two story/activity books for children. Her latest books are: Haunted Worthing published in October 2010, a new colour edition of The Story of Pembrokeshire published in March 2011, and Shipwrecks of Sussex in June 2011 and Not a Guide to Worthing in 2014. She is working on a book entitled A-Z of Curious Sussex which will be published in 2016 Wendy also works with clients to bring their work up to publishable standard and is currently working on an autobiography with a lady that was married to a very famous 1940’s travel writer. Wendy has spent many years campaigning and writing on behalf of people affected by Stickler Syndrome, a progressive genetic connective tissue disorder from which she herself suffers. She founded the Stickler Syndrome Support Group and raises awareness of the condition amongst the medical profession, and produces the group’s literature, and has written the only book on the condition, Stickler The Elusive Syndrome, and has also contributed to a DVD on the condition, Stickler syndrome: Learning the Facts. She has also writing three novels, Sanctimonious Sin, a three generation saga set in Wales at the turn of the century, Power That Heal set in the Neolithic period entitled Powers that Heal, and a semi biographical book entitled New Beginnings which deals with two generations coping with blindness and a genetic condition. She has also had a handful of short stories published, and in her spare time is working on several at the moment. She also gives talks on a variety of subjects including Writing and Placing Articles, Writing Local History, Writing as Therapy, Writing your first novel, etc, and runs workshops on the craft of writing – both fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, and a member of the Society of Authors.