Rye is a small hill top town in East Sussex, UK, on the River Rother, and at the western edge of Romney Marsh. Notable buildings in the town include St Mary's church, the Ypres Tower, Lamb House, The Mermaid Inn and Mermaid Street, Watchbell Street, and Church Square.
With its population of about 4500 Rye, which has remained constant since Tudor times has a small, close knit community. Its isolation on the edge of the Romney Marsh and its proximity to London has led to it being a favourite retreat amongst artist and writers:
Rye has attracted many literary figures including Henry James, Conrad Aitken, Joseph Conrad, H G Wells, G K Chesterton, whereas others like John Ryan, Malcolm Saville and Monica Edwards have dreamt up popular stories such as the swashbuckling adventures of Captain Pugwash. One of Rye's most famous and best loved authors is probably E F Benson, a one time Mayor of Rye, and writer of the Mapp and Lucia series of books whose fictional town of Tilling was based on Rye.
Artists like Paul Nash and Edward Burra lived in Rye which, together with the surrounding coastline, has been painted by artists such as Van Dyck, Whistler, the Pre-Raphaelites and John Piper.