Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bounteous Buckingham

The festive period of 1507 was a time of great extravagance - and food - for the household of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521). Edward Stafford was the nephew of Queen Elizabeth of York through her younger sister Katherine, and was therefore a first cousin of King Henry VIII.

The Christmas period of 1507 was celebrated by the Stafford family at their manor of Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire. Christmas Day saw the Duke host 299 people for dinner, and even more astoundingly hosted 459 people on Epiphany Day on the 6th January 1508. For this extravagant feasting and hospitality shown by the Duke, he was named 'Bounteous Buckingham'.

Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham 1520.jpg
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Christmas Day 1507 saw the Duke entertain 182 strangers, with 176 in attendance for supper in the evening - this number is in addition to the Duke's family and household members.
In attendance;
95 Gentry, 107 Yeoman, 97 Grooms attended Dinner
84 Gentry, 114 Yeoman, 92 Grooms attended Supper 

Food eaten: 4 swans, 4 geese, 5 suckling pigs, 1 carcass and seven rounds of beef, 9 carcasses of mutton, 4 pigs, 1 1/2 calves, 14 capons, 18 chickens, 21 rabbits, 1 peacock, 3 mallards, 5 widgeons, 12 teals, 3 woodcocks, 22 syntes, 12 large birds, 400 hens eggs, 2 dishes of butter, 10 flagons of milk, 1 flagon of rum, 2 flagons of frumety, and herbs. 

Drink consumed: 11 bottles and 3 quarts of Gascony wine, 1½ pitchers of Rhenish wine, ½ pitcher Malvoisey and 171 flagons and 1 quart of ale.

Thornbury Castle
On the 6th of January the Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated with the grand total of 459 people present. The majority of those in attendance being strangers whom the Duke had opened his home to; 319 at dinner and 279 at supper. Due to the huge number of people attending the feasts, the Duke of Buckingham brought in two extra cooks from Bristol to cope with the demand.
In attendance; 
134 Gentry, 188 Yeomen, 197 Grooms attended Dinner
126 Gentry, 176 Yeomen, 98 Grooms attended Supper

The guest list: The Duke's sister Lady Anne with fifteen attendants, Robert Poyntz with nine, Edmund Gorges with seven, John Rodney and six, Maurice Berkeley and nine, Richard Berkeley and five, James Berkeley and three, Thomas Welsh and three, Richard Frye (duke's cousin) and three, William Kingston and three, Doctor Thower and four, two Auditors and five, Robert Peverell and two, Humphrey Blount and two, John Burrell and two, Edward Garth and two. Bailiff of Hatfield Broadoak, and two. Bailiff of Oakham, and two. The Bailiff of Navisby, the Bailiff of Rowell, two of the Duke's tenants of Penshurst, one of Blechingley, Hugh Boughey and two, William Kemys, Thomas Morgan and three, William Morgan, the Receiver of Newport and two, two men in service to the Lord of Newport, twelve in service to the Lord of Brecon with ten attendants, chaplain John Barton, eighteen singers and nine chapel boys, the Receiver of Surrey and Kent and three, three tenants of the Lord of Brecon, the vicar of Christchurch and two, Henry Dunstan, the Abbot of Kingswood and four, a hermit, a bondman, a joiner, a brickmaker, and embroiderer with two assistants, a goldsmith from Bristol and two hardwaremen, as well as 42 people from the town and 95 from the country.

Food eaten on Epiphany; 678 loaves of bread, 2 manchets*, 36 rounds of beef, 12 sheep, 2 calves, 4 pigs, 1 dried ling, 2 salt cod, 2 hard fish, 1 salt sturgeon, 3 swans, 6 geese, 6 suckling pigs, 10 capons, 1 lamb, 2 peacocks, 2 herons, 22 rabbits, 18 chickens, 9 mallards, 23 widgeons, 18 teals, 16 woodcocks, 20 snipes, 9 dozen large birds, 6 dozen small birds, 3 dozen larks, 9 quail, 1/2 fresh salmon, 1 fresh cod, 4 dogfish, 2 tench, 7 small beams, 1/2 fresh conger, 21 small roaches, 6 large fresh eels, 10 small whitings, 18 flounders, 100 lampreys, 3 plaice, 400 eggs, 24 dishes of butter, 15 flagons of milk, 3 flagons of cream, 2 gallons of frumenty and 200 oysters.

Drink consumed; 8 gallons and 6 pitchers of wine, 259 flagons and 3 quarts of ale, 33 pottles** and 1 pitcher and 1 quart of Gascony wine, four pitchers and a half of Malvoisey wine, 7 pitchers of Rhenish wine, 1 pitcher of Ossey wine.

Also used was; 8 prickets***, 20 quarriers, 9 sises, 46/5 of candle, 10 loads of fuel, 12 quarters of charcoal, hay and litter for 49 of the Duke's horses as well as 62 horses of the Duke's attendants.

The entertainment which was enjoyed during these great feasts included the Duke's own household members such as minstrels, an idiot and a bear. Also, he made payments for two minstrels, six trumpeters, four waits from Bristol and four players sent by the Duke's brother-in-law the Earl of Northumberland from Writhill. It is also likely there were harpists and wrestlers present.

*A manchet is a loaf of the finest white bread, weighing 6oz

**Pottles were a quantity of two quarts

***Prickets were spikes used to hold candles

1 comment:

  1. Danielle, Your posts are wonderful! This one made me very hungry, though it is doubtful I will ever eat a swan. I added your blog address to my most recent blog post with the hope that others will find your site. I am glad I did!