Rye Town Council

Mayor's Welcome


Hello and welcome to Rye Town Council’s web site. Whether you live or work in our Antient Cinque Port Town, are a regular visitor – or are contemplating spending time with us - I am confident you will find something of interest within the pages of this site.

Along with my predecessors - who can be traced all the way back to 1289 - I consider myself deeply privileged to have been elected Mayor of a town steeped in history which retains, to this day, a strong sense of identity and community.

Our inherent inclination towards independence and self-reliance has taken something of a knock in recent times. Rye is now largely governed by bodies based in Brussels, Westminster, Guildford, Lewes and Bexhill. The turning point for many Ryers came during local government reorganisation in 1972-74 when the numerous and diverse functions and assets of Rye Borough Council where transferred to East Sussex County Council and the newly-created (Bexhill-based) Rother District Council, leaving us with a small town council possessing just a Town Hall, adjoining cottage and an impressive collection of robes and regalia - suggesting an influential and noble past.

However, there is little to be gained from constantly reflecting on the ‘good old days’. Since 1983 (with the acquisition of the Freda Gardham Playing Field) the Town Council has steadily embarked on the painstaking task of rebuilding its ‘services portfolio’ and is keen to accelerate this process – for the benefit of resident, businessperson and visitor alike. And when it is appropriate, those who seek to impose ill-conceived decisions from ‘afar’ are reminded of our non-conformist tendencies!

I am sure I am on safe ground when I conclude with the assertion that Rye is a national – indeed, international – asset, to be enjoyed and treasured by its small population of just over 4000 inhabitants and its 1m annual visitors. The challenge for the Town Council is to balance the need to protect the town’s rich heritage against the need for a healthy and sustainable local economy – in short, the need to ‘preserve and prosper’.

I hope you find this site useful.

Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Rye 2014-