Rye Pillory




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Nation   England

County   Sussex

Location   Town Hall, Market Street,  Rye

Map location   in the vicinity

Year opened   Unknown

Year closed   1813

Century of Operation   1800-1899

Building Type   Pillory

Remarks   Pillory's location when in use is unknown. It may once have been located near, or stored in, St Mary's Church. It is now in the Town Hall attic.


'The Rye pillory is still kept in the Town Hall, and we give a picture of it [see drawing below] from a photograph. The last time it was used was in 1813, when a publican was put in it for aiding the escape of General Phillippon, a French prisoner of war, who had been brought to this old Sussex town. The pillory was erected on the beach, and the face of the culprit turned to the coast of France. Mr. Holloway, the local historian, supplied the late Mr. Llewellyn Jewitt with some particulars respecting this example. "It measures," says Mr. Holloway, "about six feet in height, by four in width. It consists of two up-posts affixed to a platform, and has two transverse rails, the upper one of which is divided horizontally, and has a hinge to admit of the higher portion being lifted, so as to allow of the introduction of the culprit's head and hands. Through the platform and the lower rail there are round perforations, into which, when the instrument was in requisition, an upright bar, probably of iron, was introduced, so as to allow the pillory, with its unfortunate tenant, to be turned bodily round at pleasure."'

William Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.

'The north chancel has also been used for a variety of purposes: as a store for the town’s lumber and builders’ ladders, a home for the town fire engine (now in the Rye Museum), and, it is thought, a hiding place for smuggled goods. In 1854 it was ruled that burials within and outside of the church should cease...In 1862, when the chancels were re-opened, the iron [gibbet] cage and its contents were removed to the Town Hall. At about the same time the pillory and ducking stool, fire engine, lumber and ladders were also removed.'

Rye Castle Museum, 'Rye Parish Church'

Featured Images

  • Pillory at RyeWilliam Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.


    William Andrews, 'Bygone Punishments'. London: William Andrews & Co., 1899.

  • http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29117/29117-h/29117-h.htm
  • Rye Castle Museum, 'Rye Parish Church', 2009

  • https://www.ryemuseum.co.uk/rye-parish-church/


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