|Subject:||A gild dinner|
|Original source:||Archives of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, First Brewers Book, ff.104-105|
|Transcription in:||R.W. Chambers and Marjorie Daunt, eds., A Book of London English 1384-1425, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931, 178-80.|
|Original language:||Middle English|
The arrangements for a dinner, with all its elements, on Tuesday, 29 August (harvest-time) 1424, the day of [rendering of] the accounts of Robert Smyth, William Crane, John Philip and Hugh Neel.
The first course:
Expenditures on the dinner:
These accounts are interesting not simply because they indicate what was eaten and drunk at the feast, and the contemporary costs of those victuals, but because of the light they shed on other aspects of the event: food preparation, hire of items and services needed for the feast, provision of fuel, and post-dinner clean-up. And because they help emphasize the social or ceremonial aspect a communal feast being more ceremonial than it would be considered today of gatherings whose purpose might seem mundane to us.
In this case, the occasion was the rendering of an account of annual expenditures and revenues by the wardens, or masters, of the brewer's gild. While hardly up to banquet standards, this meal was certainly more lavish than would be a small meeting of officials; the reason for the meeting was sufficiently important that we can surmise attendance was open to at least the higher-ranking gildsmen, or perhaps selected invitees a later entry in the brewers' book listing attendees and no-shows. The impression of a social aspect to the dinner is reinforced by the employment of an entertainer.
Elections of gild officials was another occasion for a communal gathering and feast; the election followed the feast. The menu for the election-feast in 1419 included brawn in mustard, cabbage soup, roast swan, venison broth, roast partridge, pears in syrup, fritters, and custard. A dinner held on a different occasion in 1425 shows similar items as those on the menu for the 1424 account-rendering, except that the meal was less elaborate and featured seafood (eels, whelks, mussels, sturgeon, salmon, pickerel, plaice, halibut, pike and stockfish) rather than meat. The menu for yet another dinner later that year, towards whose cost each brewer participating contributed 6d., featured stewed sirloin of beef, roast goose and capons, glazed chicken, roasted pigeons, and sweetmeats. Three and a half barrels of ale and 35 gallons of wine were provided, while 2 dozen earthenware pots, 4 dozen cups, and 8 dozen pewter vessels were rented, and service fees were paid to a cook, turnspits, water-carrier, butler, and pantry-keeper. Attention was again given to cleaning the vessels and the dinner linen, and emptying out the privy, after the feast. The election-feast later that year was even more elaborate and the whopping sum of over £38 was spent on it.
"Loin of deer"
|Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: August 9, 2014||© Stephen Alsford, 2001-2014|