The Mermaid returns


The Mermaid in Rye, which re-opened last week, is the main sponsor of this year’s Rye Festival of The Sea planned for Sunday, September 5. For more information visit this site.

In 2019 the Mermaid entered two boats in the raft race, a mermaid crew and a mermen crew – with the the mermen finishing second behind Skinners.

The Mermaid has been part of Rye ever since the cellars were first built in the 12th century and it has remained resilient in the many centuries since. Fire, plagues, recession have all posed threats, but the Mermaid has always been able to return stronger.

During the last 12 months the Mermaid has used the lockdown to ensure she does return stronger and bathrooms have been renovated, white and black paint has been applied throughout the building, and the outdoor area for drinks and dining has been expanded to offer shelter, light and warmth – and the hotel has been open for guests, indoor dining and drinks since Monday, May 17.

Being part of the community

The main charity of the Mermaid is the National Deaf Children’s Society and in recent years the Mermaid has raised in excess of £3,000 each year.  Funds are raised through raffles drawn on Boxing Day and new year’s eve, and through donations from parties who organised paranormal visits in January, and from groups who owner Judith Blincow takes on guided tours around the haunted, historic hotel on the afternoon of the last Sunday of each month.

Schools: Previous to the lockdown, the Mermaid was on the visit list of local primary schools who were given the opportunity to explore the history of the Mermaid, in particular smuggling, as they toured through the historic building and its cellars.

Work experience: The Mermaid has for many years recruited from the local area.  Many of the present staff have been with the inn for many years, and for many it has been the first rung of the ladder of employment. Both the owners went to school in Rye, and have sought to offer both school and college students the opportunity to discover a career in hospitality.

Rye Old Scholars Association: The Mermaid has had long links with the local secondary school whatever its name – Rye Secondary Modern, Rye Grammar School, Thomas Peacocke, Rye Community College and Rye College, and many students have worked and developed their careers at the Mermaid.

The present owners Judith and Georgina both attended Thomas Peacocke, and Judith has been secretary of the Old Scholars (ROSA) for more than 35 years.  The ROSA committee regularly meets at the inn, the AGM and luncheon are held at the Mermaid, and sadly last September there should have been a reunion of ROSA members who had worked at the Mermaid.

Helping and supporting 

From January to March a group from the Mermaid helped with the delivery of food from Jempson’s at Peasmarsh to Rye’s food bank at the Baptist Church during a period when Jempson’s were unable to deliver due to demand on their services – but recently Jempson’s have resumed deliveries, timely as the Mermaid resumes welcoming guests.

Auction of Promises: The Mermaid has supported the Rye Bonfire Society for a number of years and each May the Tudor Room plays host to an auction of promises and the evening provides a wide variety of lots donated by the Rye community.

Each year the auction is packed, and regularly raises in excess of £6,000 and more recently the Rye Bonfire Society have held regular quiz evenings in the Tudor room, adding vital funds to support the November firework celebrations.

Source: The Mermaid

Image Credits: Nick Forman .

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  1. The Food Bank is hugely appreciative of the way that Martin and his Mermaid team stepped in to help with deliveries of food supplies during tight lockdown earlier in the year. It was a wonderful, open hearted response to need in the community. They moved many tons of food from Jempsons to the stores and were hard working, always cheerful and completely reliable. Thank you all!


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