Rye Foreign history night

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St Michael's Church, Playden

More than 50 local residents enjoyed a fascinating evening of local history at Playden WI Hall on the evening of Thursday, November 15. A talk incorporating maps, documents and photographs was given by local historian Alan Dickinson at the request of Rye Foreign Parish Council with all proceedings going towards the roof fund of St Michael’s Church in Playden.

The first half of the evening concentrated on the development of the parish from the middle ages to the present day. Mr Dickinson took us on a journey from the time the parish was formed when Henry III, upon taking back much land from the French abbey at Fecamp, left some land still ‘foreign’ under the ownership of the abbey. We saw, through maps, many changes to boundaries and buildings and learned of some of the people who lived in the parish. Of particular note was the realisation that throughout this time the parish has always been closely associated with medical and social care in the community. Looking into the future, Mr Dickinson showed how plans for the continued development of facilities at the Rye and Winchelsea Memorial Hospital fit nicely with the centuries of care that have been provided at this site.

Following a short interval and raffle, the evening continued with a focus on many historically interesting photographs of the landscapes, buildings and people illustrating both change and continuity within the parish. Overwhelmingly one had the feeling that people who lived here hundreds of years ago would still recognise the place.

The final total raised during the evening was £424. Some swift accounting enabled Peter Challans from the church to thank those present at the end of the event.

The parish council would like to thank Alan, ably assisted by Lesley Voice, for the time they gave in putting together a stimulating presentation which showed how even a lowly place like Rye Foreign has a story worth the telling.

It is fortunate that some people gather and archive this information for the benefit of us all. With that in mind we ask that anyone who may have documents and photographs relating to Rye Foreign and Playden contacts Rye Foreign Parish Council (d.dengate4@gmail.com) so that we might put together an event for next year in which we can share some more local history.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird.

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