Pubs of the Marsh


A new book, “Much Drinking in the Marsh” has just been published, written by local author Keith Swallow. The volume runs to over 200 pages with over 300 photographs and not only looks at the history of local pubs, hostelries and breweries but also features present day drinking and brewing establishments on Romney Marsh. It includes a 40 page chapter on drinking in Rye.

In the past many of the inns on Romney Marsh and in Rye were focal points for the thriving smuggling trade. A number of local pubs lay claim to be haunted. Two of the newest entries in the book are the Smugglers’ Alehouse which is a micropub in New Romney High Street and the Olde Worlde Wines bar in Cinque Ports Street Rye.

Olde Worlde Wines in Cinque Ports Street, Rye

As well as Romney Marsh and Rye the book also features pubs in surrounding villages including Camber, Rye Harbour, Rye Foreign, Playden, Iden and Appledore.

According to the appropriately named Swallow, in 1574, the first reliable records show that Rye had 26 inns and alehouses. At the start of the 17th century there were as many as 40, by 1772 they had dwindled to six and in 1815 to just four. The beer act of 1830, which liberalised the industry had a huge impact in raising the numbers up to 22 by 1839 and 32 by 1872. In more recent times there was a post-war peak of 21 in 1974. In the past Rye had it own “Eagle” brewery in, Landgate,

The book gives an insight into how important the traditional pub has been to the community as a general meeting place as well as a venue for functions like weddings, auctions, sporting matches and indoor games.

Priced at £15 this wide-ranging book is good value. It is available from Keith Swallow post free by email or by calling 07759 792867.


Photos; courtesy the book’s author

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