A Rye ‘name’ for over 200 years


Popular speaker Peter Ewart returns to the Rye Museum on East Street on Tuesday evening, March 10, to share highlights of what he knows of the Vidler family who have featured prominently in so many strands of the story of Rye for well over 200 years.

The name Vidler has been prefaced by Alderman, Mayor (many times), Chief Magistrate, Harbour Commission Chairman, Medical Officer and Port Officer among other titles. Vidlers were master mariners and shipowners, auctioneers and merchants, estate agents, surveyors and valuers. There was a Major Vidler and a Surgeon-Captain Vidler among the Rye/Cinque Port Volunteers who served in the Boer War, surviving ambush and capture in South Africa.1503Vidler2

Vidlers played prominent roles in establishing Rye’s 18-hole golf course and the Rye and Camber Tramway. And that’s not all!

Alec Vidler (1899-1991), theologian and historian of religion, became Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, and on retirement to Rye became yet another Mayor Vidler, following his father Leopold (1870-1954) who wrote “A New History of Rye”, still considered the fullest and most authoritative of Rye histories. During his time as Mayor, Leopold managed to establish the first Rye Museum in Battery House, just north of the Ypres Tower.

The Friars of the Sack house on Church Square was bought by this family in 1801 and descendants still own it. Everyone isĀ  welcome to a stimulating evening of family and town history intertwined at the museum on March 10. The talk begins at 7:30pm.

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