Sinful Rye

The Curse of Rye

Temperance as a mass movement originated in the early 19th century. In 1829 a Belfast professor of theology made the gesture of pouring his stock of whisky out of his window and this may have been the inspiration for two of Rye’s many drinkers, J W Crosse & P E F Berry, to write the following piece for the Rye Parish Magazine in August of that year. The movement gathered force and a British Association for the Promotion of Temperance was established in 1835.

If anyone were to say Rye is a drunken town, we would stoutly maintain it was false. Of habitual drunkards we have a few and though there are too many Public Houses, both for the sake of the trade and their customers, they are excellently managed on the whole. Nevertheless, it is DRINK more than anything else which demoralises our people; not a despicable and bestial indulgence in Drunkenness, but an awfully dangerous liquor at frequent intervals during the day, and imbibing far more than is good for health or brain.

We have all of us seen the disastrous effects of this sinful habit on some of the Ryers of the past; we are not blind to what is going on at the present moment, as we sadly have to watch both old and young – some of our very best – gradually become slaves to the fatal indulgence.

For the love of this old town, and in the hope of encouraging all who love Rye to do their best to combat this growing evil in our midst, we have determined ourselves to become abstainers for a year, and earnestly ask the cooperation of all for a united stand against the besetting sin of the town.

NB:  There was once a Temperance Hotel in Rye, on the site of the more recent Wood’n Things and the present            .

See also Inns, Tipplings and Alehouses of Rye

First posted in Said About Rye on 15th December 2010
Last updated: 7th December 2012