National Trust, Lamb House

National Trust

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Lamb House is a brick-fronted early Georgian house. It was built in 1722 for the wine-merchant and 13-times Mayor of Rye (1693–1756), James Lamb, on the site of a brewery belonging to his co-heiress wife, Martha Grebell. It had once provided a shelter from storm for George I, and was the last summer home of the celebrated American author Henry James (1843–1916). The Garden Room, built in 1743, where Henry James wrote ‘The Awkward Age’ (1899), ‘The Wings of a Dove’ (1902), ‘The Ambassadors’ (1903), and ‘The Golden Bowl’ (1904), was unfortunately destroyed by a German bomb in 1940 along with 200 books from James’s library. Lamb House was also the residence of a less literary writer (although probably more widely read), E. Frederick Benson (1867–1940) best known for the ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels set in Rye, of which he also became Mayor. It was presented without contents to the National Trust by the widow of James’s nephew in 1950. With the help of a succession of distinguished tenants, Henry James mementoes have been added, notably the 1894 portrait of him by Sir Philip Edward Burne-Jones, son of the Pre-Raphaelite.

West Street, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7ES England

01580 762334