The Friary’s initial local benefactors were William Taillour and Benedict Zely, who in 1364 were allowed by the civic authorities to give the Augustinians two acres of land at East Cliff, on which once had stood five properties that already had been destroyed by the sea and to which the present Ockman’s Lane used to lead.
The King did not oblige the friars to pay the annual rent of 2/10d (two shillings and ten pence) on the property because the Lord Warden had reported it as having no current value, being endangered by erosion by the sea. In return for this exemption, the Austin Friars were to celebrate Mass for the good of the King and the donors of the land, and for their souls, progenitors and heirs.
The Augustinian chapel and priory on East Cliff were among the buildings that suffered from the raid by marauding French sailors in 1377, which destroyed most of Rye by fire. As the site was already being undermined by the sea, it was deemed unwise to rebuild on the same site.
The Augustinians applied to the Corporation of Rye for a new site, which was duly granted in 1379 at a place called La Haltone. Here the friars soon built a new chapel, and other buildings which no longer survive. The Chapel, which did survive, is known today as the Monastery.
(Continued on the next page.)