The parliamentary franchise of Rye was not much of a reality. There was, indeed, no pretence of popular selection. The corporation who nominally made the choice, really accepted the nominee of the Lord Warden, or some other powerful person. In one case all they knew about the candidate was that he was a son of Sir Edward Courcey, and they actually elected his eldest son instead of the second son for whom the position was intended, and to whom it was given by an amended return.
There are sundry references to Mr. Richard Fletcher, the Vicar of Rye, and father of the dramatist. Having to reprove one of his parishioners who was in a tavern on Easter Monday, when he ought to have been at the preaching, the unrepentant sinner declared that he was as good, as honest, and as well born as the parson himself. Mr. Fletcher he declared, "did eat and drink him," to which the vicar made reply that he had never cost the man a cup of cold water. To this John Bennet, angrily but illogically replied, "Nor never shall, dwelt he never so long there." And, still in a rage, he declared "at the bench upon the market place that he was as good a man and as well born as