The Austin Friar's Monastery is situated in the middle of the Citadel of Rye, 5 mins from the station, on a cobbled hill leading onto the High St; just around the corner from the George Hotel.
Despite being conveniently located in the hub of a small thriving town, it has a country house feel to it and it is very private; open only by appointment or invitation.
The Monastery consists of a two floor chapel, circa 1380, which was converted for various utilitarian uses in 1907. Hence it is an unusual combination of 14th century monastic and brutal industrial architecture; with four original stone tracery windows on the 1st floor and a height of 8.7 meters from the floor to the apex of the roof.
The industrial ground floor is also a lofty space with chunky rivetted iron beams spanning the ceiling and factory style doors leading to the main large garden with its huge ancient tree and its distinct Italian feel.
In addition to these two main spaces, there are several interesting ancillary spaces including a study with 14th century archway and original exposed stone walls and a glamorous, high-ceilinged entrance hall. The entrance hall connects to a low beamed reception with dry oak parquet flooring and a staircase leading to the exquisite bedroom set above, in which is found a stunning 19th century Italian marble bath.
A Georgian cottage is attached to the monastery on the West side. An annex added in 1927 on the East side of the building houses a kitchen and leads onto a walled courtyard garden. All of these spaces are decorated by Alex Macarthur Interiors.
The garden is large and lends itself to wonderful outside celebrations with plenty of space for marquees or belle tents. The style here is again an interesting juxtaposition with corten steel fencing and planters in keeping with the building’s industrial interventions and olive and cypress trees giving a hint of both rustic and formal Italian monastic gardens.
In the summer the garden comes alive with bird song and feels like a sanctuary; the large corten steel outdoor dining table comfortably sits 10 (with extensions available) from where you can enjoy breakfast in the shade, lunches with a meditarian feel or a last supper watching the sun go down.