A woman with historic links to Rye going back several centuries is bringing her family to the town to celebrate her 70th birthday.
Carolyn Gaught (nee Igglesden) has been researching her family tree for a long time and found herself connected to some colourful characters who played a part in Rye’s historic past.
To that end, she is organising an ancestral trail in Rye on Friday (August 5), starting at 2pm at the Ypres Tower.
So far Carolyn, who grew up in Bexhill and now lives in Calne in Wiltshire, has located 17 properties in Rye that the family occupied, which are located in Mermaid Street, High Street, Landgate, Eagle Road, Belford Place, Bridge Place, Cyprus Place, The Strand, Traders Passage and Tower Street.
It was Carolyn’s brother’s namesake John Igglesden who served the town’s most notorious murderer, John Breads with his last drink at the Flushing Inn.
Breads was a local butcher and landlord of the Flushing Inn, who was executed and hanged in chains for the murder of Allen Grebell, the deputy mayor, in St Mary’s churchyard in 1743.
He lay in wait at night in the churchyard, armed with a knife, but his real target was the mayor James Lamb, because he had fined him for cheating his customers with non-standard weights.
According to the popular story, the next day Breads was heard drunkenly shouting ‘Butchers should kill lambs’.
He was actually tried and convicted by mayor Lamb, the very man he was intending to kill.
Breads was hanged and his corpse was gibbeted and left hanging in an iron cage.
A good number of Carolyn’s family were innkeepers in Rye, The Swan and the Ypres Tower Inn among them.
The ancestors managing The Swan had 11 children and coped with eight lodgers while there.
There were also bargemen, fishermen and a shipwright, not to mention the odd smuggler among Carolyn’s ancestors.
In 1838 a great-great-great grandmother was resident in the Ypres womens’ tower. The family were at one time running the Rye Hygienic Laundry.
Carolyn said: “I have been aided enormously in my research by being able to trace seven of my eight great-great grandparents. I would like to acknowledge the help of residents who have opened up their homes and lofts to give me some insight as to how people got about town in days gone by.
“Rye Museum has been so helpful to me and I’m hoping I might locate some other descendants among family lines, namely Igglesden, Axell, Jarrett, Jewhurst, Ailsworth, Tolhurst, Miller, Noakes, Jeffery and Easton.
“We are looking forward to a great family celebration.”
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