An “incident” at the Kesgrave Bell

As anyone familiar with the iconoclasm of William Dowsing knows, Suffolk suffered greatly from Puritanism in the 17th century. This manifested itself in Ipswich in the form of Samuel Warde, Town Preacher from 1605 to 1634, a post for which he received £100 p.a. He had to preach in St. Mary-le-Tower three times a week and his sermons, apparently, often lasted two hours. He was eventually imprisoned for offending the Church of England clergy by calling them “devills in surplices, anti-Christian mushrooms.”

One of his edifying sermons was called Woe to Drunkards, which was published in 1627. He called for the closure of all ale-houses. One example he gave was of an “incident” at the Bell Inn in Kesgrave, Suffolk:

“An Ale-wife in Kesgrave neere to Ipswich, who needs force three Servingmen (that had been drinking in her house, and were taking their leaves) to stay and drink the three Outs first (that is, Wit out of their head, Money out of their purse, Ale out of the pot) as she was comming towards them with the pot in her hand, was suddenly taken speechlesse and sicke, her tongue swolne in her mouth, never recovered speech, the third day after dyed. ”

This, according to Warde, was “a noted and remarkable example of God’s Justice.” So be warned.

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