which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Rechabites and temperance in Crich

The Rechabites were part of the Temperance Movement. They take their name from a biblical tribe who were commanded 'to drink no wine' by their leader Jonadab son of Rechab. It is written that they resisted wine even when greatly tempted. Taking inspiration from this story the founders of the International Order of Rechabites opened their first Tent (or branch) on the 25th August 1835 in Salford.

They were part of the Friendly Societies of that time. One strand of thought is that Friendly Societies originated out of 'harmonious clubs' formed by inn keepers. The welfare of members was organised by "passing the hat round" for voluntary donations. Eventually members paid a regular subscription and from this "Friendly Societies" were created. Most of the existing Friendly Societies, such as Oddfellows, Buffaloes and Foresters, were, as a consequence, centred on public house or inns. The Independent Order of Rechabites was a Temperance Society created to offer friendly society benefits in a temperance environment.

The Independent Order of Rechabites, a friendly society, had, from the beginning, adhered to the principle of abstinence from all alcohol. In 1831 it was suggested that clubs and benefit societies should be moved to schoolrooms, such things having been previously held in public houses.
A Mr Livesey of Preston wrote the first "pledge" to which seven men added their names. By 1833 the Total Abstinence Movement was started in Manchester although some members were led astray by attending friendly society meetings amongst their non temperance colleagues. In 1835 Dr Grinrod suggested the formation of Temperance Friendly Societies. 
Originally members paid sixpence a week to alleviate distress to other needy members. It then became also a means to save for funeral expenses, by paying another sixpence a week to a burial society. These payments were made on unlicensed premises.
The Rechabites were formed with a view to getting rid of all intoxicating liquor. The name, Rechabite, comes from the 35th Chapter of Jeremiah verse 6. "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab, the son of Rechab our father, commanded us saying. Ye shall drink no wine neither you nor your sons for ever"
In Marshside this philosophy fitted well with the Methodist thinking and there were also juvenile branches of the movement. Local branches were named "Tents".
Other temperance groups were also popular. The National British Womens Total Abstinence Union had the "Little White Ribboners" Here parents could sign the pledge on behalf of their children or babies promising to see that their children would abstain during their childhood years and setting a standard hopefully for life. There was also the Band of Hope. This began in Leeds in 1847 with much the same ideals, and also incorporated signing the "Pledge". A Mrs A.J. Carlile, a 72 year old Irish Christian is quoted as saying "What a happy band these children make, they are the hope of the future"
There was clearly a great feeling by many individuals that concern for the welfare and nurture of children was of great importance.
Source, John Wright's "North Meols and its Families" site at:

Rechabite card
Membership card courtesy Brian Gibbons

The Order were organised and structured 'Biblically' and along tribal lines. Each Tent had a Chief Ruler, Tent Steward, Inside and Outside Guardians, and a 'Levite of the Tent'.

Crich had Oddfellows, Buffaloes and Foresters based at the local hostelries. There were Rechabites at Wheatcroft.

Derbyshire Times 1929

rechabites of Crich

Another Temperance Movement which was active in the parish between 1875 and 1900 was the Band of Hope. This was based at St, Mary's Church supported by the Revd Acraman, his sister and Florence Nightingale.

Below is a transcript of a letter sent by Florence Nightingale to the Crich vicar, Revd William Acraman.

Lea Hurstß
Nov 26 1881
Dear Sir
I beg your acceptance of £3 3s for any of your works that require it most. Temperance or Lay Reader.
I wish it were more, but the claims upon me are far beyond my means.
I trust that your fight in favour of temperance will be crowned with success as I am sure you will also pray for ours.
Drink & dress seem to be the great barriers against civilization, against God’s work in these parts. The people do not even understand their own interests: they will live in wretched quarters, perhaps 7 in family and a lodger, in two miserable bed rooms – happy too if grown up sons & daughters are not in the same bed room & even (up into the teens) in the same bed. While they spend more on eating & drinking & dressing (with no mending) than we do – and mend their clothes less than we do. There are people earning (parents, sons & daughters included) considerably more than a London Government clerk, who has to appear like a gentleman. What wonder if immorality is rampant!
I have to thank you for a sermon preached the Sunday before last against profanity, & against drinking, repeated to me, as far as I could guess almost word for word, by my maid. I always make them tell me the Sermons they hear.
I pray God to bless your work
Excuse pencil
I pray believe me
ever your faithful servt
Florence Nightingale

The Pledge
Signing the Pledge (courtesy Alan Flint)

temperance bookmark
Temperance bookmark (courtesy of Alan Flint)

Derby Mercury: Wednesday 19 December1883
CHURCH OF ENGLAND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY. – The annual tea and meeting in connection with the Crich Band of Hope was held in the National Schoolroom on Tuesday evening. The vicar presided and presented medals to those members who had joined the society a year ago. Mr. Gentles, of Derby, and the Rev. C. Baker, vicar of Matlock Bath, gave thoughtful and interesting addresses on temperance, and a cantata, especially written and composed for the Crich Band of Hope by the vicar (the Rev. Wm. Acraman) entitled “The Temperance Army and the Blue Ribbon Boy” was rendered by some of the members and was very heartily received by the audience.


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