Last weekend, June 1-3, saw a visit of nearly 50 members of The Malcolm Saville Society to Rye and Winchelsea. Malcolm Saville (1901–1982) wrote more than 90 books for children between 1943 and 1978. Some of his popular Lone Pine series were set in and around Rye, a town with which he had family connections.
The visit began on Friday afternoon with a presentation of information about the author to Winchelsea Museum for their archive. Members then had a very informative tour of Winchelsea which included the house Malcolm Saville lived in for the latter part of his life and visits to sites from his books.
On Saturday members visited Camber Castle by kind permission of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Malcolm Saville is particularly known for the sense of place in his writing and Camber Castle plays a key role in The Gay Dolphin Adventure. Members were particularly interested to see the site where the main protagonists from the book met for the first time. This was followed by a boat trip at Rye Harbour on a slightly faster boat than the old ferry which featured in one of the books.
Sunday morning saw groups from the Society follow the walks Malcolm Saville described in his guide book to Rye, A Portrait of Rye, before finishing the weekend with Sunday lunch at The Hope Anchor, the site of the fictional Gay Dolphin.
For more information about Malcolm Saville and The Malcolm Saville Society please visit the website.
Editor’s note: Although Saville never lived in Rye, his father and grandfather (who was pastor of the Rye Congregational Church) lived in the town. He spent most of his life in Hastings but finally moved to Winchelsea where he wrote his last books. As a boy, I was a fan of his and read as many of his books as I could. Although some of the settings may seem a little dated to the young of today, I would still commend him as an excellent writer who clearly understood his young audience. No wizards or magic!
Photo: The Malcolm Saville Society