For six Mince Pies of an Indifferent biggnesse

table of pies

Take halfe a peck of the fynest Flower, 2 li[bra]s of suger …… a Loyne of fatt Mutton w[i]th a litle of a Legg of Veale …..

This was a new look at Christmas when we enjoyed our session on transcribing old documents.  Heather Forbes, Head of Gloucestershire Archives, came to give us an introduction to reading Secretary Hand in its various forms and one example not only gave us practice but told us what our mince pies really should contain, to be authentic to our Campden House project!

class concentration
Deciphering old handwriting

We were totally absorbed in identifying the squiggles, with Heather’s cheerful help and encouragement, and felt exhausted but satisfied at the end.  She started us with an example from Gloucestershire  Archives of a Campden parish register of 1660, which felt very relevant for us, and progressed to more difficult documents, but as a group effort we were sharing our interpretations, ending up with the Mince Pies recipe which came from The National Archives.  We are now going to continue practising with letters and wills relevant to Campden in Elizabethan and Jacobean times. As well as being able to call on Gloucestershire Archives if we get stuck, we are also going to follow the National Archives tutorials on

Want the full recipe?    Take halfe a peck of the fynest Flower, 2 li[bra]s of suger 2 li[bra]s of Butter, a Loyne of fatt Mutton w[i]th a litle of a Legg of Veale to mynce with it, 2 li[bra]s of Reasons of the Sunn, as many Currons, of cloves, Mace, and Nuttmeggs one ownce.  For the Paist, mingle 1 pound and a halfe of Suger w[i]th the Flower and breake in the Yolkes of six Eggs, then worke it together w[i]th 3 parts of the two puonde of Butt[e]r. Sett on a litle water, and let it Seethe, then skym it and put in the 4th parte of the Butt[e]r, and when it is melted, Skym it cleane from the Water and worke it w[i]th  the Paist.  For the Meate. Let it be seasoned w[i]th Pepper, and mingled w[i]th halfe a pound of Suger, the other Frute and Spice, the Raisons must be stoned, & some of them minced amongst the meate, the others put in hole, put in the Joyce of two Orringes and one Leamond, and the Ryne of them small and mynced . When the pies are filled slyce Dates and stick in the top,and when you sett them into the oven Wash them over w[i]th the yolkes of Eggs. and pyn them upp in Papers.    As they say – Enjoy!        

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