Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55
Thomas Austin
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THE Ancient Cookeries edited in this volume have been copied from Harleian MSS. 279 and 4016, in the British Museum. The first MS. was copied, and partly prepared for the press, by the late Mr. Faulke Watling, of the University of Oxford, but his untimely death prevented his seeing it through the Press. This MS. is divided into three Parts, the first, headed Kalendare de Potages dyuers, containing 153 recipes: the second Part, Kalendare de Leche Metys, has 64 recipes, and the third Part, Dyuerse bake metis, 41 recipes. This MS., besides the Cookery, contains the Bills of Fare of several Banquets which are noticed more fully below. The date of this MS. is about 1430 or 1440, and has been given a little too early on pages 1 and 5. This has been collated with Ashmole MS. 1439, in the Bodleian, noted as A. in the text. For the second MS. it was originally intended to publish Douce MS. 55, in the Bodleian Library, but this was found imperfect, and was replaced by Harleian MS. 4016. They are similar books, and contain the same recipes in nearly the same words, the latter having a few that are not in the former, and vice versâ. The Harleian Cookery has 182 Recipes, while the Douce Cookery has 184. The two have been collated, and are of about the same date, c. 1450. Two Banquets are prefixed to this MS., which are also more fully noticed below. Several of the recipes of the Douce MS. are appended at page 115.

Some recipes for sauces, taken from Ashmole MS. 1439, are given at page 108. This MS. is about the same date as Harleian MS. 279, and has the same Feasts added, though some of the leaves are missing. These recipes are followed by others taken from two odd leaves in Laud MS. 553, in the Bodleian Library; see page 112.

The first English Cookery Book seems to be that of Neckam, in Page  viii the twelfth century, but the Forme of Cury is the oldest practical work. This was compiled by the Chief Master Cooks of Richard II., and contains 196 recipes. The MS. that we possess was presented to Queen Elizabeth by Lord Stafford, and afterwards belonged to the Earl of Oxford, being purchased at his sale; it is now in the British Museum. This volume, with the Cookeries in WARNER, Antiquitates Culinariœ (1791), the Cookery published by MRS. NAPIER in 1882, known as the Noble Boke of Cookry, and Liber Cure Cocorum, have been used for purposes of reference, and elucidation of the recipes in the following MSS. The Cookery edited by Mrs. Napier had however, though then unknown, been previously edited by Pynson, as early as 1500, and again by John Byddell in 1650.

Much of the scientific Cookery was of course French, and, as will be seen in the following Recipes, the French titles got singularly perverted, and in some cases are extremely hard to recognise. For instance, who at first sight would recognise Lait under Let, Froide as Fryit, or Sauce in Sauke? Again Herbelettes becomes Arbolettys, and Aigredoux or Aigredouce, Egredouncye. The earliest Cookery Books that may be called English only date from the latter half of the seventeenth century.

Many of the Recipes that are given here would astonish a modern Cook. Our forefathers, possibly from having stronger stomachs, fortified by outdoor life, evidently liked their dishes strongly seasoned and piquant, as the Cinnamon Soup on p. 59 shews. Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, Garlic, Cinnamon, Galingale, Vinegar, Verjuice, and Wine, appear constantly in dishes where we should little expect them; and even Ale was frequently used in Cookery. Wine is used in the recipe for Roast Partridge, on p. 78, and also, as seems more natural to us, in the Partridge Stews on pages 9 and 78: it is also used for Brawn in Poivrade on p. 71. Ale is introduced in the Bowres on p. 8, in the Sops Chamberlain on p. 11, and in the Mortrews de Chairon p. 71, and is even used in the Charlette on p. 17, though Milk is also one of the ingredients: both Ale and Wine appear in the Maumenny Royal, on p. 22. Ale is also used with the Tench in BruetPage  ix on p. 23, in the Whelks and Oysters in Bruet, on the same page, and in fact seems to be a characteristic of the Bruets, as most of these dishes have it as an ingredient. Ale was also mingled with the water in which the fish was boiled: note the Boiled Pike on page 101, the Plaice on page 103, and the Barbel, p. 104. Stale Ale is used for the Oil Sops on page 12, possibly in place of Vinegar. Vinegar is used in the Brawn on pages 11 and 12, in the Numbles of Venison on pages 10 and 70, and in the Venison in broth on p. 70: Vinegar or Verjuice is added to the Stewed Mutton on page 72, Verjuice to the Meat Custard or Pie, on p. 74, and to the Tripe on pages 7 and 18. Here our ancestors shewed their wisdom, as the acid served as a corrective to the richness of the dishes. Sugar on the other hand is also used with Brawn, see the Blaunche Brawn on p. 34, and the Fried Brawn on p. 43, and was quite lately taken with it at St. John's College, Oxford.

Almond milk was also a constant ingredient of the dishes: see the Brawn in Comfit on page 71, and the Sturmye on page 26: it was also used with fish, as in the Viande de Cyprus in Lent, on page 28. Both Sugar and Salt are used in the Quinade on page 27, and in the Mortrews of Pork on page 28. Marrow was then much more used than at present: note the 300 marrowbones on page 67.

Meats that we do not eat at the present day, or eat but seldom, also appear in the Banquets of our ancestors, as Whale, Porpoise, Seal, Swan, Crane, Heron, and Peacock; while even the fishy Gull was eaten. One would imagine that Sturgeon was then more plentiful, to judge by the recipes for its cookery. Stockfish*. [See Glossary.] was of course much more in vogue, from the difficulty of obtaining fresh fish. We may suppose that the Pudding of Capon Neck on page 41, and the Pudding of Swan Neck on page 61, were dainties. It would appear, from page 67, that Oxen were salted whole, while, to descend to the other end of the scale, small birds were eaten, as they still are in France (see the recipe on page 9, and the Royal Banquet on page 58). Our flaming Christmas Pudding is recalled by the Viande Ardente in the Banquet on page 61.

Page  x

Some of the designs, or Subtleties, exposed on the Tables, as ornament, were of rather an ambitious character; far more so than most of those mentioned on pages 57, 58, etc. These were devices in sugar and paste, and apparently in jelly, and were, at any rate at times, made to be eaten. Those displayed at the Enthronement of Abp. Warham in 1505, must have been of considerable size, as their description shews. They represented silvan and hunting scenes, and one displayed the interior of an Abbey Church with its various altars. In other cases such devices as a ship, fully armed with her ordnance, with the Barons of the Cinque Ports on board, or buildings with vanes and towers are exhibited. A great Custard, planted, is displayed in a banquet given by Leland in his Collectanea. The dishes were also gilt at times, for purpose of display, as a Leche Lombard in the same volume; a Peacock also is mentioned with a gilt nib. The Subtleties mentioned in this volume are of a much more modest character, representing simply an Agnus Dei, an Eagle, a Doctor of Law, etc.; though those at the Stalling of John Stafford, on page 68, are more complicated. They seem both to have preceded the various courses, and also to have closed them, the first being called Warners, as giving warning of the entry of a fresh service.

We will now turn to the Banquets, whose Bills of Fare the Cookeries give us. The first of them [p. 57], both in place and importance, is that given at the Coronation of Henry the Fourth, and it has especial interest in the fact that a description of it is in the Chronicles of Froissart. Henry succeeded the dethroned Richard II. in 1399, as Froissart says, with the approval of the People of England; Richard having previously personally surrendered his Crown to him. Stow says that Henry was chosen at Westminster Hall, at a Parliament there. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel, having first preached a Latin sermon, on the text, Habuit Jacob benedictionem à patre suo, a Doctor of Law stood up, and read an Instrument which averred that Richard by his own confession was unworthy to reign, and would resign the Crown to a competent person. This having been read, the Archbishop advised Page  xi them to proceed to the election of a new king, and on a vote being taken, the whole assembly was in Henry's favour; Richard not having four votes for him. Henry then accepted the Crown, but Stow says that he acquired the throne more by force than by lawful succession or election.

Henry left the Tower of London, where he was then residing, on Sunday the 12th of October, 1399, having previously made forty-six new Knights of the Bath: he was dressed in a jacket after the German mode. He went to Westminster to sleep, and at night bathed, after the fashion of chivalry; next morning, Monday the 13th, and St. Edward's day, he confessed himself and heard three Masses, preparatory to his Coronation. The Prelates and Clergy then came in procession from the Abbey, and escorted him thither, the return procession entering the sacred place at about nine o'clock in the morning. The Lord Mayor with chosen Citizens of London, were in the Procession, clothed alike in red. Cloth was laid down for the king's passage, and the Abbey was also laid with cloth. Henry was under a Canopy of blue silk, according to Froissart, but Holinshed makes it of Cloth of Gold, with a golden bell jingling at each corner; the Canopy was borne, says Holinshed, by sixteen Barons of the Cinque Ports, four to each Staff, though Froissart again differs, noting that it was borne by only four Burgesses, Dover ones. Holinshed is more likely right. We may suppose that these were the actual bearers of the Canopy: Stow, however, tells us that there were four other, apparently honorary bearers--the Dukes of York, Surrey, Aumarle, and the Earl of Gloucester. The Burgesses had as fees Canopy, bells, and staves.

Preparatory to the Coronation and Banquet, Officials had been appointed on October 4th. The Earl of Northumberland was High Constable, and as holding the Isle of Man, bore on the king's left at the Coronation a naked sword, called Lancaster's Sword, with which Henry was girt when crowned; the Earl of Somerset carried a sword before the king, and Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, bore a third sword, by inherited right, and was also Pantler: the Page  xii Earl of Westmoreland was Marshal. Sir Thomas Erpingham was Lord Chamberlain, and furnished the monarch with water for his hands, both before and after the Banquet, having as fee the Basin, Ewer, Towels, etc. The Earl of Somerset was Carver, in right of his Earldom of Lincoln, and Sir Wm. Argentine, by reason of his tenure of the Manor of Wilmundale, or Wymondley, Herts, served the king with the first cup of drink at dinner, and received the silver-gilt Cup as his fee. Thomas, Earl of Arundel, was chief Butler, and had the royal goblet as gift; Citizens of London, chosen by the City, served in the Hall as attendants while Henry banqueted. Lord Latimer was Almoner for the day, the silver money being in a fine linen cloth; whilst William le Venour had the honour of making wafers for the king: Edmond Chambers was larderer, and Lord Grey of Ruthyn was Naperer (see post).

Henry took his seat on a throne that stood on a scaffold covered with crimson cloth, and was then proclaimed king from the four corners of it by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who asked the consent of the people: his words were greeted with shouts of "Aye!" Henry was then stripped naked to his shirt previous to anointing, and was anointed in six places, as Froissart says, the head, breast, shoulders, back, and hands: he was afterwards dressed in deacon's clothes, with shoes of crimson velvet, and wore spurs without rowels. The Sword of Justice was next drawn and blessed, and given to the King, who returned it to the scabbard: it was then girt about him by the Prelate, by whom the Crown of St. Edward was also placed on his head. Lord Furnivall, as holding the Manor of Farnham, gave the King his right-hand glove, and supported his arm while he held the sceptre. Henry quitted the Abbey when Mass was over and returned to Westminster Hall, where the Banquet was given.

At the Banquet the King sat at the first table, and at the Royal board were the two Archbishops and seventeen Bishops: at the bottom of the table was the Earl of Westmoreland with the Sceptre. The King was served by the Prince of Wales, who carried the Sword of Mercy, and on the opposite side by the Constable, bearing the Page  xiii Sword of Justice. At the second table sat the five great Peers of England, probably the Dukes of Lancaster, York, Aumarle, Surrey,*. [Thomas Holand, Duke of Surrey, is said to have been deprived of his Dukedom on Oct. 6th 1399, and was soon afterwards beheaded. Stow however writes as above.]and Exeter: at the third table were the principal Citizens of London, apparently the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, whose table was at the left of the Royal table. The Barons of the Cinque Ports sat at a table on the right of the King: at another table sat the newlycreated Knights; while all Knights and Squires of Honour sat at a sixth.

When the Feast was half over, the Champion, Sir Thos. Dymock, entered the Hall in full armour, mounted on a horse barded with crimson housings. He was equipped for Wager of Battle, and preceded by another Knight, bearing his lance, and himself carried a drawn sword, and had by his side a naked dagger. The Champion presented a paper to the King, which affirmed that he was ready to offer combat to any Knight or Gentleman who dared maintain that Henry was not a lawful sovereign. By the King's orders Heralds proclaimed this Challenge in six different parts of the Hall and City, without gainsaying. The Champion received as his fee one of the best horses in the Royal Stable, with saddle and trappings, and one of the best suits of armour. When Henry had dined, and partaken of wine and spices, he withdrew to his private apartments, whither the Lord Mayor brought him a Cup of gold filled with wine, taking it again as his fee, together with a second cup that had contained water to allay the wine.

Next follows, on page 58, the Banquet given at the King's second marriage, in 1404. Henry, when Earl of Derby, had married Mary, the younger daughter and coheiress of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Northampton, who died in 1394. His second wife, in whose honour the feast was given, was Joan of Navarre, widow of John de Montfort, Duke of Brittany. She landed a few days previously at Falmouth, and was married in Winchester Cathedral on the 7th of February: the Banquet was possibly in the Hall of Page  xiv the Castle, which still remains. She was crowned at Westminster on the 28th of the same month, and survived her husband.

Fabyan's Chronicle gives an account of the Feast at the Coronation of the Queen of Henry V., which took place on Feb. 24th, 1420, being St. Matthew's Day; for which reason the Bill of Fare was entirely Fish, with the exception of Brawn with Mustard in the first Course. The Queen, at table, had the Archbishop of Canterbury on her right, and Henry Cardinal of Winchester on her left. The Duke of Gloucester had charge of the Banquet, and stood bareheaded before the Queen, while Sir Richard Neville was Carver. The brother of the Earl of Suffolk was cup-bearer, Sir John Stewart, Sewer, and Lord Clifford, Panterer; and Lord Grey of Ruthyn was again Naperer. The Barons of the Cinque Ports were at the head of the table on the right of the Queen, towards St. Stephen's Chapel, and the Bowchiers of the Chancery (? the Proctors) were below them at the same table: at a table on the Queen's left sat the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London. The Bishops were at the head of the table next to that at which the Barons of the Cinque Ports sat, and the Ladies had a table next to the Lord Mayor's table. The Feast, as usual, was of three Courses, which were of the same character. Whale was served in the first Course: in the second was a Leche damask with the king's motto flourished on it, which was Vne sanz plus; meaning of course the Queen. In the third Course was Porpoise, and in this Course was a subtlety of a Tiger looking into a Mirror, with a man on horseback fully armed, grasping a Tiger's whelp.

Henry the Sixth's Coronation Feast is also mentioned in Fabyan: like the others, it was in Westminster Hall, and was also of three Courses. In the first Course was a Viande royale planted with lozenges of gold, and a Custard Royal with a leopard of gold sitting thereon. There was a Peacock enhackled in the second Course: in the third was a Baked meat like a shield, quartered red and white, and set with gilt lozenges and Borage flowers. There was a subtlety both before and after this Course, the last one representing the Page  xv Virgin and Child, with St. George and St. Denis kneeling on either side, and presenting to the Queen a figure of Henry with the following ballad in his hand:—

"O blessyd Lady, Cristes moder dere,
"And thou, seynt George! that called art her knyght;
"Holy seynt Denys, O marter most entere,
"The sixt Henry here present in your syght,
"Shedyth,*. [Imperative.] of your grace, on him your heuenly lyght:
"His tender youth with vertue doth*. [Imperative: make advance, in this case. ] auaunce,
"Borne by discent, and by tytle of ryght,
"Iustly to reygne in Englande and in Fraunce."

It is uncertain who the Lord de la Grey was, whose Banquet follows [p. 59]: if, however, the feasts are given in chronological order, the date can be assigned within a given period. Holinshed mentions a Lord Reginald Grey of Ruthyn that was Naperer*. [ He provided the table-linen.] at Henry the Fourth's Coronation, on account of a manor that he held, and who bore the great spurs before Henry IV., by right of inheritance from the Earl of Pembroke. He is also mentioned above, on the previous page, and may be the person in question.

Next follows [p. 60] the Feast of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln from 1420 to 1431: he was Canon of York when preferred to the Bishopric. As Bishop he exhumed and burnt the bones of Wycliffe, in accordance with the sentence of the Council of Constance, in 1425. A dinner of John Chandler, Bishop of Salisbury from 1417 to 1426, follows the above [p. 60], and was given at his entrance on the episcopate.

Then follows [p. 61] an Entertainment given on the 4th of December, 1424, on the occasion of the funeral of Nicholas Bubwith, Bishop of Bath and Wells. He was originally Bishop of London, for only a short time, and was transferred to Salisbury in 1407, and in the same year shifted to Bath and Wells. He was present at the Council of Constance. He built the north tower and a chantry in the Cathedral of Wells, he also founded an almshouse at Wells. Page  xvi It will be noticed with regard to this Dinner, that a separate fare of Fish was provided for the Clergy, doubtless on account of the melancholy occasion.

On page 62 is a festival given by John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, on the occasion of induction into his Episcopate, September 16th, 1425. He was born at Hook in the parish of Abbotsbury, Dorset, close to the Chesil Bank, and was descended from a collateral branch of the Stafford family. His father was Sir Humphrey Stafford, Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, and his mother was Elizabeth Dyrham, relict of Sir John Maltravers. He was educated at Oxford, and first practised in the Ecclesiastical Courts, afterwards entering holy orders. He became Archdeacon of Salisbury in 1419, and was made Chancellor of England, according to Stow about the 12th of Henry VI., 1434, according to Hook in 1421. In 1422 he was Dean of St. Martin's Le Grand at Charing Cross: he was also Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Lord High Treasurer to Henry VI. He got the Bishopric of Bath and Wells, as stated above, in 1425, and in 1443 was translated to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, on the nomination of Pope Eugenius IV., to whom he had been recommended by Chichele, his predecessor. The Banquet that he gave on being made Archbishop is at page 68, and he gave quite a different Bill of Fare on that occasion. He officiated at the marriage of Henry VI. with Margaret of Anjou in 1445, and also crowned that Queen. He was a Statesman, and was instrumental in the dispersion of Jack Cade's forces: curiously enough he also engaged in trade. He died at Maidstone, May 25th, 1452, and was buried at Canterbury in the Martyrdom.

The last Feast in Harleian MS. 279 [p. 63], is one given at the wedding of the Earl of Devonshire, and is without date. Concerning the Earl in question, Mr. Cokayne, Norroy King at Arms, has been kind enough to supply the following note, through Dr. Furnivall:—

"Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon (or Devonshire), was born 1389, being aged 30 when he succeeded his father in that Earldom Page  xvii in 1419. His marriage, with Anne Talbot, was before 1414, and before he became an Earl. He died 1422.

"His son is probably the Earl you want, viz. Thomas Courtenay, Earl of Devon, born 1414 (being aged 8 in 1422), who became Earl on his father's death in 1422. He married Lady Margaret Beaufort, second daughter of John, Earl of Somerset, probably about 1431, when he would be but 17, but certainly before 1432, when their son Thomas, (aged 26 at his father's death in 1458,) was born. Lady Margaret's eldest brother was born 1401, and her eldest sister Joan, Queen of Scotland, was married in 1423, so that she probably was quite as old as, if not older than her husband."

The remaining Festival [p. 67] is that given to Richard the Second by the Bishop of Durham, at Durham House, London, on the 23rd of September, 1387. The Bishop that feasted the King was John Forham, or Fordham, who held the Bishopric from 1381 to 1388, having previously occupied the See of Ely. He was one of Richard's evil counsellers, and held the Office of Lord High Treasurer, but was discharged of it in 1386. He was among the Lords that rebelled against the King in 1388, but was not imprisoned, though in that year he was deprived of his See, and permitted to retire to his old Bishopric, which was of far less dignity.

The Editor must add, that he has to thank Dr. Furnivall for most kindly collating the text with that of both the MSS., and he has also to thank him for some hints and information. He has, besides, to thank the Rev. A. L. Mayhew for criticizing the glossary, and for furnishing him with some old French derivations, etc.

OXFORD, Nov. 1888.