People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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Royal Tunbndge Wells
Hours of their being taken out of the Sea; and the Difference which that makes in their Goodness, I need not mention. They have likewise here abundance of Wild-Fowl, of the best sorts; such as Pheasant, Partridge, Wood­cock, Snipe, Quails, also Duck, Mallard, Teal, etc., particularly they have from the South Downs the Bird call'd a Wheatear, or what I think I may call the English Ortolans, the most delicious Taste for a Creature of one Mouthful, (for 'tis little more) that can be imagin'd; but these are very dear at Tun-bridge : They are much cheaper at Seaford, Lewes, and that Side of the Country." The Wheatear seems to have been regarded every­where as a very delicious little bird. " They are as fine a morsel as the French ortolan, or Italian beccofico," says Samuel Derrick enthusiastically. " This bird is brought hither by the shepherds of the Sussex Downs, in great plenty, about the end of the harvest: the season for catching them is not more than three weeks. This is remarkable, that the wheatear is found in other parts of England, but everywhere, Kent and Sussex excepted, is as bad as a carrion-crow." Derrick has some further words of praise for the market, and declared the poultry to be the best in 70
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