Church of England Temperance Society Medal

Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0
Object type: Medal
Period: Modern
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 12/05/2023
Location: Ripon, North Yorkshire


This better example more clearly shows the design of the medal. On the obverse is Saint George slaying the dragon with the inscription “Church of England Temperance Society”.

On the reverse is a bible crossed by a sceptre with the words “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” which is from Corinthians 10:31.

When the temperance movement first came across from America in the late 1820s the Church of England wasn’t that enthusiastic although individual clergy did embrace it. In 1861 a small number of them met to form the Church of England Abstinence Society. This soon changed to the Church of England Temperance Society or CETS. This reflected their unique difference in ideology from the teetotal societies in the rest of the temperance movement; CETS claimed drinking in moderation was the superior position to total abstinence.1

Probationary service

In 1876 a printer called Mr Rainer went to court on business and saw how little help the prisoners received. He wrote to CETS to suggest they help and enclosed five shillings to help start a fund. This became known as the Police Court Mission and this became the origin of the modern probationary service.


  1. Shiman, Lilian L. “The Church of England Temperance Society In the Nineteenth Century.” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 41, no. 2 (1972): 179–95.