In 1989 Rye celebrated the seven hundredth anniversary of becoming a Town, a town that has changed little over these many years. The river may have silted up and we no longer build ships for a royal navy but the Church still stands and the bells still ring out their beckoning call. We still have the largest fishing fleet on the South Coast and “The Rye Bay Catch” is some of the finest fish in the world.
Rye is still a Cinque Port.
On the 700th anniversary the focus was very much on a medieval theme with battle re-enactments, jousting, street markets, jugglers and minstrels. There was also an archery tournament organised by a local archer and medieval enthusiast called Willy Maybury. The costumed archers bending their “sticks” that day come from across the country and their expertise catches the attention of half a dozen locals who feel they would like to have a go. One evenings shooting in the company of Willy is enough, they are hooked and The Order of Rye Longbowmen is born. The rest, as they say, is history.