ABOUT THE MONASTERY
by Alex Macarthur
I discovered the Monastery in Rye in 2014 due to a series of remarkable synchronicities... too many to mention here!
At the time, I had been successfully running my interiors business from my regency town house in Brighton, holding quarterly open houses and exhibiting at the Battersea Decorative Fair; clients loved the concept but it was very intense living inside a constantly evolving showroom so I knew it only had a certain life span.
I was therefore on the look out for an architecturally interesting live/work space and had recently specified my most desired qualities for this building to be: ecclesiastical, industrial, landmark, lateral space, walled garden for the dogs and ideally in East Sussex where I wanted to live due to its proximity to Brighton, London and Europe.
When I stumbled across the monastery in Rye, it was in an utterly derelict state; the main chapel hadn’t been in use for 10 years and the attached cottage, abandoned since the 1950’s, was infested with pigeons. I couldn’t believe that such a rare and architecturally interesting building, in the middle of such a romantic destination town, could have been neglected for so many years - and most unbelievably, that it ticked every single feature on my wish list!
It was so mesmerisingly beautiful it gave me butterflies and at the same time was so scary it sent shivers down my spine but I knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that I had to buy it!
So I took the leap of faith in 2015 and was aware right from the start that commiting to this building, this spiritual place, would mean facing my demons and following my dreams; I somehow knew that I would be challenged to my maximum potential... and I have to say that this dynamic still continues!
After years of painstaking restoration it feels like the dark, damp and traumatic history of this building has been transformed to allow the light and luxury in whilst always respecting it's past and spiritual significance. As well as providing an unparalleled and exclusive space for special celebrations, the monastery has now become a magical space to be shared and I hope that the curated events we plan and the sanctuary it provides for freedom of expression, celebration of diversity, inclusiveness and love will be expansive and far-reaching.