Having recently taken over this quaint and charming English public house, Paul, Lucie and family offer the warmest of welcomes to tourists and locals alike. Visitors from all over the world come to soak up the atmosphere of this ancient smuggling town steeped in history. The introduction of a weekday tapas menu has proved particularly successful, as have the traditional Sunday Roasts in which only the finest fresh local produce and ingredients are used.
Ye Olde Bell was built in the 15th Century and a further extension added around 200 years later. The name originates from an episode in Ryes history from 1377 whereby a French raid on the town ended up with them stealing the bells from St Marys Church, and almost completely devastating the town by fire.
Not a town to take things lying down, the men of Rye and Winchelsea set sail in 1378 to wreak their revenge on the French coast and returned with the bells and other loot stolen the year before. One of the bells was later hung in Watchbell Street to warn of subsequent French attacks on the town.
Perhaps the most exciting point in Ryes history was the 18th Century when smuggling in the town was rife. The smugglers stored their hoards in the old vaulted cellars and they crept around Rye through secret tunnels and passages. Ye Olde Bell was used by some of the Smugglers and records show of at least two raids by officials to reclaim booty.