OF THE RYE WINDMILL
The distinctive and famous Rye Mill is a grade-two listed building and has been the inspiration for artists and photographers throughout the centuries. It occupies an historic site in Gibbet's Marsh where a windmill has stood, in one form or another, since at least the sixteenth century. The Symondons map of Rye created in 1594 shows an illustration of a windmill in the exact spot where today's mill now stands. Copies can be seen in Rye Town Hall and in the guesthouse.
The first recorded owner of a Rye Mill was Thomas Chatterton who built a 'post mill' in 1758. After his death his widow, Mary, passed it on to a Frederick Barry who demolished the 'post mill' in 1820 to erect a 'Smock Mill', similar to the one we see today. Milling continued until 1912 when the premises became a bakery. Eventually to be owned by the Webbs, a well regarded family of Rye bakers who were to become custodians of the Windmill for over 60 years.
Unfortunately, on a 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 mill was reconstructed in 1932 and it continued as a bakery until 1976. The ovens were put to good use when the mill became a pottery. The original oven doors can be seen in the base of the Windmill, behind what is now the bar.
The Mill first became a B&B guesthouse in 1984. Since then the Mill has gone through many improvements and, today, its present owners aim to carry on making The Rye Windmill a memorable venue and unforgettable experience for all patrons.