The Small Town of Rye, East Sussex

The small town of Rye, East Sussex, England sits at the confluence of two local rivers in this southeast coastal region of the country. It is a smaller town, with a population of around 4,100 people. It is also, and officially, a civil parish in the English system of classification of population centers.

Rye has a long association with the nearby sea, and smugglers of the 18th and 19th centuries quite often ran their activities through the town’s environs. They were often aided and abetted by the townsfolk, who saw an opportunity for extra income. Because of its past history, and the scenic beauty and charm of the area, it is an active center for tourism in this part of the United Kingdom.

The town itself still supports a small fishing industry, and it has a good harbor facility for large yachts and other ocean-going vessels. This helps to make it a popular stopover for those cruising up and down the English coastal regions. There is an interesting historical structure, Camber Castle, in the Rye area. It was built by King Henry VIII, and was one of five device forts erected to protect this then-strategic portion of the coast.

Rye is one of a number of coastal English towns which have shore-based sea rescue watercraft, called “lifeboats,” along with a support station. They’re somewhat similar to what a U.S. Coast Guard station might resemble in terms of mission, only without the defensive aspects. Since 1696, there have also been six Royal Navy ships to carry the name HMS Rye, in honor of the town.

The county of East Sussex, in which the town of Rye sits, has a total population of 762,000 people. It has ancient roots, going back to the kingdom of what are called the ‘South Saxons.’ There are a number of hiking trails all through the county, which makes it a good site for walking tours and the like. Both Rye and East Sussex are fine examples of typical English history combined with modern sensibilities.

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