Ferry Cottage Rye

Ferry Cottage, Rock Channel

This historic little building can be found in Rock Channel just past Alsford Timber (on the right on the A259 South Undercliff) in Rye, East Sussex. It is now a private dwelling but played an important part in the everyday life of the town. Below is taken from the information board at the cottage:

Until 1927, the site of this building formed part of the bank of the River Rother and the cottage was the home of the Ferryman, who plied his trade carrying passengers and goods across the river.

Until about 1890 there were no bridges across the river and the ferry was the only means of crossing.

Romney Marsh sheep, destined for Rye Market, swam the river while the drover used the boat! Even his dog was expected to swim as the Ferryman charged for dogs too.

Running the ferry was something of a sinecure for the owner and the rights were the preserve of no more than two families (the Croucher's and the Gammons) for over 100 years, until 1927 when the course of the river was altered to reduce the perennial flooding which occurred at this point.

(The original course of the Rother flowed in a more or less straight line past the Fish Wharf (to the north of the cottage) and joined the Old Rock Channel immediately to the south of the cottage.

The new cut, as it was known, diverted the waters of Rock Channel southwards towards the sea, leaving Ferry Cottage, which was first established in the 1780's, high and dry!