Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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62                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
without the context no one would imagine was intended to represent it.
One of the most prominent features of Mr. Timothy Burrell's Journal—and it marks the benevolence of his character and illustrates the closer relations which once existed between the higher and the lower classes in England —is the lists of guests, from the humbler classes of society, whom he invited to dine with him at Christmas, and the bills of fare that he provided for them. He commenced this custom in 1691, and he kept it up to the year before his death (1717). The following are the bills of fare for the Christmas dinners of 1706:—
" 1st January, 1706. Plumm pottage, calve's head and bacon, goose, pig, plumm pottage, roast beef, sirloin, veale, a loin, goose, plumm pottage, boiled beef, a clod, two baked puddings, three dishes of minced pies, two capons, two dishes of tarts, two pullets."
" 2nd January, 1706. Plumm pottage, boiled leg of mutton, goose,
E ig, plumm pottage, roast beef, veal, leg, roasted pig, plumm pottage, oiled beef, a rump, two baked puddings, three dishes of minced pies, two capons, two dishes of tarts, two pullets."
It will be remarked that plum pudding, without which no Christmas-day festivities would be now complete, does not figure in Mr. Timothy Bun-ell's bill of fare. Its place is supplied by " plumm pottage" (sometimes called plumm broth) which occurs thrice in each bill, and which, no doubt, stood in the place of and was the embryo of its more famous successor. Minced pies had arrived at maturity; but plum puddings had yet to be invented 1
The journal of Mr. Timothy Burrell, Barrister-at-Law— " Counsellor Burrell" was his more common title amongst his neighbours—was brought to a close on the 25th July, 1715, when he gave over the cares of housekeeping to a Mr. Trevor, who had married his only daughter, Elizabeth. The death of this lady, after a short and very unhappy married life, hastened, it is believed, the death of her father, who expired on the 26th of December, 1717, at the age of 75, and lies buried in Cuckfield Church; and with him we will bring this chapter of Sussex Diarists to a close.
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