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(The Ellen Terry Museum)

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 Timbered building.
Smallhythe lies about 5 miles south of Tenterden on the B2082.

Believe it or not, this tiny hamlet used to be a flourishing port and a centre for ship-building! Timber from the Wealden Forests was collected in Tenterden , then sent to Smallhythe for the building of ships. The River Rother flowing past here was of sufficient width and depth to accommodate the main warships of the period. The shipyards became famous from the 14th to the middle 16th century.

One of Henry VIII's warships 'The Grand Masters' was built in the shipyards of this port, and in 1537 Henry VIII visited the construction site to view the building of this great vessel.

The direction the river Rother takes now is quite different to that which it used to take before the 13th century. Nowadays the river doesn't even flow through Smallhythe , it flows from Newenden to Rye .

In the 13th century it used to flow past Smallhythe , around the Isle of Oxney to the sea at Appledore . By the end of the 16th century, the river had silted up so that only a small creek remained.

In 1514 there was a devastating fire that destroyed much of Smallhythe . The village was rebuilt along with one of the few buildings to survive into this century, Smallhythe Place. Smallhythe Place was built in the mid 15th century, originally as the Customs House for the port. The unusual red brick built church of St Mildred was built in 1516 just after the fire. It is believed that the bricks used in its construction came from the Low Countries.

The river Rother silted up in the early 17th century, and the property became a farmhouse.

In 1899 Dame Ellen Terry the famous actress purchased Smallhythe Place and occupied it until her death in 1929. The building was given to the National Trust in 1939 by Dame Ellen's daughter. Now as the Ellen Terry Museum, it houses a wealth of interesting articles and memorabilia from the late, great actresses life.


 Ellen Terry museum.
There are no services in Smallhythe , and therefore you need to travel to Tenterden for shopping, and eating.

The nearest trains run from Appledore , and are on the Hastings to Ashford line with hourly services.


The area around the Isle of Oxney is very beautiful especially during the summer. It is possible to park near to the Ellen Terry Museum, and visit its facinating collection of items from the great actresses life.

Without moving the car, walk up the road towards Tenterden, where you can see the brick church built after the village was burned down.

The levels across to the Isle of Oxney , are very relaxing to view.

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