Saturday 18 July 2020

Rye Castle (Ypres Tower)

Rye Castle, also known as Ypres Tower is situated in the pretty and historic town of Rye in East Sussex. Although the exact date is not know it thought that it was built in the 13th or 14th centuries. Although the possibility of a castle in Rye was mentioned in 1226 and 1249 it was not until the early 14th century during attacks by the French that a medieval toll for the building and retaining of town walls was applied for and works carried out. 

The Ypres Tower, originally called Baddings Tower was built to protect the town from attacks by French Invaders. It was probably built in about 1249, however it has been suggested that it may have been built in the late 14th century when the town walls and gates were built. 

In 1377 the French attacked the town, burning, stealing the church bells and killing the inhabitants. Many of the stone buildings were destroyed but the tower survived. In 1430 the tower was leased to John de Ypres for use as a private residence. In the late 14th century the tower was used as a prison and in 1518 a new roof and new floors were added. 

For the next 300 years the tower was used as a Gaol and in 1789 a full time "Gaol Keeper: was appointed and a red brick exercise yard added. In the mid 1800's in an effort to improve conditions a new exercise yard, new cells and a tower for housing women prisoners were added. Over the following years its used was downgraded to a lock-up and was eventually used as a soup kitchen and mortuary, eventually in 1954 opening as a museum.

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