Cars taking over churchyard

Churchyard as car park

A reader (giving his name as Jake) has sent in three photos of cars parked in St Mary’s churchyard in Rye – but without details of when the photos were taken – expressing concern that the churchyard is turning into a car park.

A parking area does exist at the back of the east end of the church by the entrance door used by the clergy, choir, vergers and others involved in church activities – and that door is effectively the “stage door” when concerts and other events take place.

And normally – unless a major service like Easter or Christmas is taking place, or a Bishop is visiting – there is enough parking space on the far church side of the war memorial, or immediately adjacent to the entrance from the road (see photo below).

Churchyard or car park?

However, the top photo shows cars parked all round the war memorial, which is not normally allowed, and one photo (below) shows a car parked on a footpath which goes round the church.

Appropriate parking?

Only limited use of the church is possible currently because of restrictions introduced as a result of the pandemic, but staff are still required, so some parking will be necessary. In the past however St Mary’s has, from time to time, required users to display identity cards on their windscreens – and it has been suggested that lightning may strike offending vehicles.

A comment has been sought from St Mary’s – but this has been an intermittent problem even before the parking meters arrived.

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. This is appalling but not unexpected. There are quite a few areas around Rye where people displaced from their ‘entitled’ all day for nothing parking have re-located rather than pay – or walk. I hope the church finds some way to cordon off their land and stop abuses like this

  2. Also the large area of pavement (surely for pedestrians?) by the Ferry Road level crossing is acquiring more parked cars almost on a daily basis.

  3. People parking illegally in my churchyard has been a recurring problem ever since I became Rector in 2010. It’s not just the parking – it’s the fact that most people seem to think that they can simply park there and go off shopping, without asking or telling us!

    However, I do h@ve some explanation regarding the 3 photos.

    The first one was taken the day of my wedding, and all the cars had my permission to park there. This is common practice for weddings and funerals.

    In the second one, all the cars except one belong to church staff, who have every right to be there.

    In the third photo, the blue car is mine! As I have explained elsewhere, it broke down on our honeymoon and had to be recovered from Ilfracombe to Rye. There was literally nowhere else to put it!

    As I said, parking in my churchyard is a problem, but not it seems, on these three occasions.

  4. It is a great sadness that the Town Memorial ( a Grade 2 listed monument) has to be surrounded by cars and vans at any time, let alone at the present time of Remembrance. Standing near some half term visitors this week, who were trying to read the names, I heard a young person say “why did they put the memorial in a car park?”

    Colonel Anthony Kimber
    President Rye RBL

    • I wholeheartedly agree … and it is disappointing the Rector does not find any of these three [particular but pretty representative] examples of parking in his churchyard to be problematic.

      While it might be factually correct that the cars “have every right to be there”, I would hope consideration be given as to whether it is respectful, fitting or appropriate for Rye’s War Memorial – and all those it recognises and commemorates – to be regularly surrounded by parked cars in this way, especially around this time in the Nation’s annual calendar.


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