Here at Sussex Exclusive we’ve got a bit of a sweet spot for windmills. There’s just something so evocative about them, and even when unloved and run down, they seem to stand majestic and proud, inviting you to admire them and learn more.
A look back
Rye Mill sits on the banks of the River Tillingham just a short distance from Rye centre and often features in landscapes and photos of this iconic Sussex town. It’s believed a windmill has been on the site since 16th century and by the early 19th century, the mill was known as Barry’s Mill, after the incumbent miller.
In 1844, in the Sussex Weekly Advertiser, the mill was described as “A capital fantail windmill … erected a few years since of the best materials and in the most substantial manner with five floors ….”. By 1930, the windmill had changed names to Gibbet Mill and was part of a working bakery when on Friday 13th in 1930, the ovens of the bakery overheated and destroyed the wooden structure on the mill, leaving just the two-story brick base. The windmill was rebuilt at a cost of £800 and continued as a bakery until 1976 when it became a pottery.
Since 1984, Rye windmill has been one of the more unusual B&B places to stay in the area, but perhaps one of the most remarkable changes in recent years can be seen from the 1974 photo above in which the windmill stands solitary and alone as if in the remote countryside and not just on the outskirts of Rye.
Stay somewhere different
There are lots of wonderful places to stay in the Rye area, but how often do you get the chance to stay in a windmill? Although, it’s not an original, Rye windmill is still a grade II listed building and unbelievably has 10 en suite rooms! Our particular favourite has to be the Windmill Suite set over two floors of the mill with views of the town and the surrounding countryside and with access to the balcony. Breakfast is served in the windmill base and old granary which makes a pretty perfect start to a day spent exploring the area.
Honestly? Why not! Rye is of course one of our county’s most historic and beautiful towns but beyond its cobbled streets and timber-framed buildings are a whole host of wonderful things to do and places to visit. We’ll be sharing lots of these over the next few months (like our Winchelsea bike ride) but if history, castles, beaches, nature reserves, walks and great food float your boat, you can’t go far wrong with Rye.
Two nights at the Rye Windmill Suite are £220.00pn and you can find out more at: https://ryewindmill.co.uk/. They reopen on 17 May 2021.
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