Pictures of Smallhythe
in the county of Kent
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Between the 14th and the 16th-centuries this lovely Wealdon hamlet was a flourishing port and famous ship building centre where one of Henry VIII war-ships was built. Henry himself visited the yard in 1537 to view the progress of 'The Grand Masters' the name given by the king to his new vessel.
The shipyards closed when the River Rother altered its course. Now it no longer flows through Smallhythe but follows a route from Newenden to Rye. None-the-less, Smallhythe continues as a popular village attracting a healthy number of tourists who mainly come to see the attractive home once occupied by actress Dame Ellen Terry.
Smallhythe Place was built in 1480 originally it was the Customs House for the port. The house is close-studded and of magnificent proportions, with the whole of the upper storey overhanging the lower front elevation. Smallhythe Place perfectly reflects all the charm and elegance of the English country house and we are fortunate that it has been preserved as a museum illustrating the life and times of Ellen Terry who lived in the house for 30 years, before dying there in 1928. On show in delightful room settings are some of the exquisite costumes worn by the great Shakespearean actress during her theatrical career, these are in stark contrast with mementoes of her private life from which there are captivating glimpses of her in the role of wife and mother. Smallhythe Place and it's stunning collection was given to the National Trust by Dame Ellen Terry's daughter. It is open to public view and makes a fascinating visit.
At nearby Tenterden you can see the handsome church dedicated to Saint Mildred, typical Wealden houses along its grass-verged streets and take a trip on the preserved steam line of the Kent and East railway.
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