Rye skull set for public display

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THE skull and gibbet cage of notorious Rye murderer John Breads now looks certain to go on public display at Rye Heritage Centre following a council vote on Monday night.

Only two councillors voted against the move to transfer the macabre artefact from its long-standing home in the attic of Rye Town Hall, where it can only be viewed by appointment, to a display case at Rye Heritage Centre.

Cllr John Breeds said: “My feelings are somewhat ambiguous as I am unsure as to whether I am related to John Breads or not. I am against it being put on public display.”

Cllr Jo Kirkham said: “I feel it is an attraction that belongs in the Town Hall.

“We don’t want it to become an object of voyeurism. If people seriously want to see it they can make an appointment to see it at the Town Hall.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “The economic climate is not improving and the heritage Centre needs our support more than ever.

“Under controlled circumstances, displaying it there will be of huge importance and benefit to the town.”

John Breads, a local butcher, was sentenced to death in 1742 for the murder of Deputy Mayor Allan Grebell in Rye churchyard. Sentence was passed by his intended victim James Lamb, who was Mayor and magistrate.

James Lamb had earlier fined Breads for selling short weight.

Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall said: “I will be recommending that decision isn’t implemented until the Council has obtained specialist conservation advice on temperature and humidity.”