Another loss for Rye

Clive Chizlett at the 2018 Royal British Legion remembrance lunch

Rye lost another one of its distinguished characters when Clive Chizlett passed away last weekend.  Clive was a familiar sight around town to many, usually walking up from North Salts to breakfast at Haydens. Over the course of the day he would continue to the Apothecary for lunch and then to Simply Italian for dinner where a special table was always reserved for him.  He was a courteous and friendly member of the community with a fierce intelligence and dry humour.

Clive was a man of many talents and interests which he shared with various groups and individuals around Rye. He was a keen member of the University of the Third Age (U3A), where he ran a course on calligraphy, in which he was an expert. He organised a visit to the British Library to see an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts which is warmly remembered by attendees. He was also active in the Militaria and Visiting History groups of U3A and produced leaflets about church architecture in Romney Marsh.

One member of U3A remembers him turning up to a meeting about an Italian course. Clive was asked if he already spoke some of the language. Clive replied: “No. I’ve brought information on Dante – they can’t learn Italian if they don’t know about Dante”.

In his younger days Clive played rugby for his local team at Hounslow. He started his career in printing as an apprentice compositor before National Service intervened. Later he ran a printing works in West London. He became principal of the Brighton College of Art and Design and lived at Woodingdean.

He moved to Rye with his wife when he retired. He had a lifelong love of the cinema and  the starting-up of the Kino cinema in the town was a great development for him. His favourite film was Casablanca from which he could quote long passages, having seen it so many times. He was also a competent artist and at one time was a keen cyclist with  different bicycles for different terrains.

He will be sorely missed in Rye.

Image Credits: Anthony Kimber .


  1. Totally agree with this article about Clive. He was a lovely man, a real gentleman who was always willing to pass the time of day and share his nuggets of wisdom. In addition to his daily routine of visiting the afore-mentioned cafes and restaurants, he could also be found having a quiet moment of reflection sitting in a pew in the church after the Sunday morning service.

  2. What a lovely obituary for a very unassuming but very interesting and knowledgeable gentleman who was a familiar face in Rye. He will be missed.

  3. I also remember having a lovely conversation with him, when he was in the landgate bistro. Where he also used to go. He will be sadly missed.

  4. He will certainly be missed at Haydens. His special ‘Clive’s porridge’ button will remain on our till system as long as we are in business. A true gentleman, quick-witted, slightly mischievous and always kind. Clive would often leave us quirky notes in his beautiful calligraphy. May he rest in peace.

  5. We first met Clive (where else?) at Haydens a few years ago. When this handsome elderly gentleman commented on the stack of library books on our table we asked him to join us and that was the start of our friendship. In between yearly visits to Rye we exchanged letters (his were always amusing) and a few phone calls. As Kate Hayden wrote Clive was a true gentleman, always kind, mischievous. He had a bit of a crush on the actor Joan Collins and was quick to point out that although both were born in the same year, he was three months younger! Our first morning back in Rye was always breakfast with Clive at his table at Haydens. Dear Clive, you will be much missed but always three months younger than Joan.
    Robin and Judith Cox


  6. My goodness, what a loss for Rye. I knew Clive for what seems forever. He would drop into my toy soldier shop for chats often and was someone l always found more than fascinating to listen to. He was witty, charming, kind, and always interesting.
    He will always remain one of the people l shall ever be honoured to have called a friend and to have shared just a small part of his lifes journey was a privilege.
    Chris Viner.

  7. Strangely enough it was only today walking through Rye I was wondering why I had not seen Clive with his usual bag always full of interesting articles he had found or written. Many times we had a conversation in the library and he showed me something about history he had discovered/studied or written himself.

    I wonder how many people really knew just how much information/history/intellect and ideas he harboured. Of course I only got to know him through the ten years living in Rye while others knew him for many years. A great loss and very sad. Heidi

  8. Clive was a much-loved friend of my father, Ashley Young, and Godfather to my younger brother, Mark. Dad and Clive met as young men in West London and maintained a lifelong friendship founded on a love of the Arts, religion, history and esotericism. Clive would share his papers for R.I.L.K.O with dad (which I now have) sometimes annotated with such phrases as ‘Herewith: one of my effusions to be used when needing to sleep but wakeful… (in beautiful script.)
    Clive made a lasting impression on me from a young age, and indeed our correspondence continued until a year or so before his death. When my father died, he was preparing an Eckhart Society conference on Dante, which Clive would have enjoyed. Perhaps the two men are now discussing the details. Clive’s obituary will find a place tucked into the Dante on my bookshelf.


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