Rye area bids farewell to farmer and true Sussex countryman


One of the most knowledgeable and respected farmers in the Rye area has passed away aged 94.

Bob Langrish was a true countryman, farmer and grazier. He passed away at his Beckley home on July 27.

Unusually for these days Bob was born in the same house he died in. His father having bought the small farm at Beckley in 1914, and he was the youngest of three, having two elder sisters.

He went to school at Rye Grammar and would often walk there or hitch a ride with one of the Carters that delivered goods from Rye station out to the surrounding farms and villages.

During his early years he lived through a period of great hardship, but he learnt quickly how to get the best from the land and livestock.

His exploits at catching and shooting rabbits as well as squirrels and moles was renowned, and more recently the trapping of mink.

He had an understanding of the balance of nature and despaired at “armchair” conservationists.

He was probably one of the last people to collect and sell plovers and gulls eggs that he collected from the Marsh after World War Two as they were so abundant. There were no badgers and very few foxes on Romney Marsh until the early 1970’s.

He had a good eye for livestock and would always look to buy sheep or cattle that would improve when grazed on his well maintained pastures.

He built up an impressive sheep flock of “Kents” (Romneys) and would often make the highest price at the Autumn sheep sales for ewe lambs and win the commercial flock competitions. His original flock now numbers close to 5,000 ewes and the 100 acre farm now over 1,200 acres.

When he was out on the land he would always have his thistle spud for digging up Gores (Scotch thistles), a couple of dogs, usually a collie and a gun dog, his gun would never be far away whether for shooting vermin or for something for the pot. Many people benefitted from his years of experience and knowledge of farming and wildlife. He was always pleased to offer advice and encouragement and had a saying for most circumstances, especially the weather.

He was chairman of Rye NFU (National Farmers Union) in the 1971/2 and served on a number of national committees including the Council of the NFU in 1987/8. He was a keen Snooker player for Rye Club and played in the local league, he also enjoyed a game of Cribbage in the winter months.

He leaves a wife, Veronica to whom he was married for over 66 years, two sons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.