Rye Harbour Image Library | Picture

Picture No:80
Courtesy of:Barry Yates
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Rye Harbour Heritage logo

Rye Harbour Heritage was established in 2005, around 200 years after the harbour’s first settlement. It aims to record and promote the rich and varied history of Rye Harbour village, lying between the industrial area, the Harbour of Rye and the Nature Reserve.

It is funded by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and English Nature through Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

Picture Added on 24 March 2006.


I remember using the ferry to go to Camber in the 50s. I have a record of Johnny Doughty singing the songs he used to sing in the pub. Round Rye Bay for More also has a booklet with his life story and photos-have you got this ?
Added by Shirley Gregory on 24 April 2006.
"Uncle Johnny" was the Ferry man at Rye Harbour, watching out for potential customers from the "Billy" (William the Conqueror) pub. He lived with "Aunty Meg" in Camber for many a year. At one stage he and Meg lived aboard a boat moored up on the Camber side of the river. He used to walk from the Camber Social Club, over the golf links to the boat and on several ocassions, Mr Doust, the Harbour Master, used to have to pull him out of the river having listed too far to starboard on attempting to board his boat. He gave me my love of the sea and all things in it. He was renowned for his singing, and versification, so much so that a record "Round Rye Bay for More" was made. Songs like these must be preserved for our future generations.
Added by Lionel Marchant on 23 October 2006.
Hi Lionel, I am Bernard Leeman. You used to drop in on me when I was 7 years old in Camber. The last time I saw you was when you had just joined the army and were serving drinks to the Boxing Day hunt outside Rye. The strange thing about Johnny was that in fact he was a Brighton man. My mother used the ferry daily to get to work at Gould's in RH. My uncle, Ken Rook, lives in RH. Sometimes Johnny let me row. Any news on where Theresa Doust is these days? I emigrated to Australia long ago and teach at a university there. However, between 2002-4 I taught at London University and often brought Japanese and Korean students on trips to Rye.
Added by Dr Bernard Leeman on 28 October 2006.
Yes, I remember dear old Johnny Doughty, when he was the ferryman at RH. During WWII he was a seaman in the convoys to Russia; his ship was sunk and he spent about a week on a wooden liferaft, before he was rescued. I believe the rest of his crew mates died due to hypothermia, and he was found just in time.

I regret to say that my sister Theresa Doust passed away mid-1994 following a severe attack of asthma. She, her husband and family were living in North Wales at the time of her death.

Added by Michael J. Doust on 15 February 2007.
The RH Heritage Logo, is the old black tarred house on the front at RH. This building, which was owned I believe by a Mr Blattman when I was a young boy. The building was in fact the original lifeboat house, and the eastern end has a large double door through which the boat was brought in and out. The boat was like the old "Mary Stanford, " propelled by both oar and sail. In front of the building, and it is still standing as far as I know, is the RNLI/CG signal mast on which were hoisted the northerly and southerly gale cones (apex upwards, north gale, apex downwards, south gale).
Added by Michael J. Doust on 21 February 2007.
The map attributed to Monica Edwards, the children's book author, is actually drawn by Geoffry Whittam, who lived somewhere in East Sussex. Since many of M.E's books feature Rye Harbour, GW would visit and draw the actual backgrounds to the illustrations, so Camber Castle, the cliffs at Winchelsea, Rye itself, Castle Farm (now demolished)and many other views are to be seen in his excellent drawings that accompanied her series of books published by Collins from late 1940s until early 70s.
Added by Rosemary Myers on 09 January 2008.
My name is Francis Rook and my Grandfather, Fred Caister had the William the Conqueror.
Jonny Doughty's cat had kittens and we had one of them and called it Johnny after him.
I spent many holidays at Rye Harbour and took up sailing eventually joining the Merchant Navy as a Radio Officer.
I remeber Jack Doust who was very good to me and never charged me any mooring fees.
My Father Frank Rook was a founder member of the Rye Harbour Yacht Club and my Uncle Ron designed its burgee.
I still have a boat, a Seal 28 which I keep at Conyer. I have brought it into Rye several times with great nostalgia.

Added by Francis Rook on 11 November 2010.
Hi my name is Maureen Steer (marchant) my brother is Lionel Marchant, my family comes from Camber on my fathers side and Rye Harbour on my mothers side (Tillman). I have very fond memories of Jonny Doughty and his wife Meg they always had a xmas party for the children of Camber, Jonny also used to go to my grandmothers club in Camber, I remember him singing his sea shantys well especially Herrings Eyes.
Added by Maureen Steer on 23 April 2011.
Hello Maureen Steer, are you related to Cecil Marchant? Regards Paul Kennedy.
Added by Paul Kennedy on 29 April 2011.
Hi Paul, yes that was my dad, Lionel Marchant my brother sadly died two days ago (4th May).
Added by Maureen Steer(Marchant). on 06 May 2011.
Hello Maureen,
I am sorry to hear about your loss. I will contact you in a short while. Yes it was in regards to the Mary Stanford.

Added by Paul Kennedy on 23 May 2011.

my name is Simon Ayling, my mother was Theresa Doust. I am trying to find members of her side of the family, my uncles and aunties.

If you have any information it would be wonderful to know.

Added by Simon Ayling on 30 December 2011.
hello simon yes I remember your mother Theresa, she was more a friend of my brother sadly he died last year, she went to the grammer school in Rye, not sure if this is correct but was told that the Dousts family was related.
Added by Maureen Steer on 05 February 2012.
Can anyone give me any information about my mother's family the Tillmans, thank-you.
Added by Maureen Steer on 24 February 2012.
Not familiar with THIS house - we lived in Harbour Lights, close to the Conq, 1950-53 [Ed. it's the old Watch House, overlooking the lifeboat house]
Added by Rupert Macnee on 16 April 2012.
Hello, my mother was Grace Marchant(nee Tillman)her father was Jack Tillman of Rye Harbour, who died at Christmas 1939. She, along with her brother Charles, and sister Alice, were the by Jack Tillmans second wife.
Added by TONY MARCHANT on 17 May 2013.
Hello Rupert,
I'm Michael Pope we I used to play together when our family came down for holidays when we stayed with our Grandparents Fred and Sissie Pope at 2 Ship Cottage.
You were living in Harbour Lights at the time, where our Grandfather was born. I can remember your Dad taking us both out for a row in a small pram dingy in the harbour and I'm sure somewhere we have a photo of the you and me with you Dad on the river. I was only allowed out with you that one time in the dingy as my parents thought it too dangerous.

Added by Michael Pope on 07 August 2013.
I have recently uncovered in one of my relatives attics and they are two pencil sketches of Rye Harbor by a single named artist Chaz/Chas any help would be greatly appreciated
Added by Kara on 30 January 2014.
Can anyone give me any more information about the Tillman family my mothers name was Grace Marchant (nee Tillman).
Added by Maureen Steer (Marchant) on 14 February 2014.

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