Rye House was a fortified manor house in the Lea valley. It’s history dates back to 1433 when Sir Andrew Ogard, a Danish soldier who had fought in the 100 years war was granted the manor of Rye and built a manor house there. By the early 16th century it was owned by the Parr family and Catherine Parr, later the 6th wife of Henry VIII, lived here until 1531. It passed from the Parrs to the Frankland family and then to the Baeshe family in 1619.
In 1683, it was the headquarters of ‘The Rye House Plot’, whose members wanted to assassinate King Charles II as he passed Rye House on his way to the Newmarket Races and then replace him with his Brother James. However, the races were cancelled due to a large fire in the town and so the attempt never took place. News of the plan soon leaked out and some of the conspirators turned King’s evidence and following the trials a dozen of the conspirators were executed including 2 MPs (Sir Thomas Armstrong and Lord Russell) and Henry Cornish, Sheriff of the City of London. The Earl of Macclesfield and his son, Viscount Brandon were also sentenced to death but were later pardoned. A further 10 conspirators, including 2 Earls, 2 Barons and 3 MPs were imprisoned and another 10 were either exiled or fled the country before they could be arrested. Also implicated in the plot was the Duke of Monmouth, Charles’ illegitimate son, who as a result ‘retired’ to Holland. Interestingly he was to return to England in 1685 at the head of ‘The Monmouth Rebellion’ seeking to over through James II, who by this time had succeeded his brother as King. Some historians have suggested that some of those implicated were innocent and the King Charles used the plot to dispose of some of his political opponents.
After this period of fame, the house passed to the Fielde family. But by 1834 it had become a workhouse and in 1864, Henry Teale bought it and turned it into a tourist attraction with a maze, bowling green and other attractions.
Today all that remains of the house are the Gatehouse, some fragments of walls and a pair of columns at an entrance over the moat.