3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

A Taste of Townend - historic cookery in Windermere

PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 September 2014 | UPDATED: 23:38 23 October 2015

A Taste of Townend, Manager at Townend, Emma Wright, with a decorative pie

A Taste of Townend, Manager at Townend, Emma Wright, with a decorative pie

Archant

A book on display near Windermere gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of a Lakeland family 300 years ago

A Taste of Townend, the cottage-style garden at TownendA Taste of Townend, the cottage-style garden at Townend

Elizabeth Birkett knew a thing or two about cookery, as the recipes she collected in the years before her marriage in 1702 prove. But the book she put together also proves that she knew rather less about medicine.

Among the dubious treatments in the book is one for a nose bleed which suggests you collect the patient’s blood and use to write, on their forehead, Consummatum est – Latin for It is Finished, as are they likely to be if they’ve lost enough blood for you to write all that.

Another cure to rid someone of a malarial fever requires you to catch a live spider in a piece of cloth and tie it round the patient’s neck without them noticing.

But while no-one is queuing up to test her nursing tips, plenty of people are showing an interest in Miss Birkett’s recipe ideas.

A Taste of Townend, Manager at Townend, Emma Wright, in period costume, and Fe Wolley, house assistant, with some of the meaty mince piesA Taste of Townend, Manager at Townend, Emma Wright, in period costume, and Fe Wolley, house assistant, with some of the meaty mince pies

Elizabeth compiled the recipes, remedies and assorted other household tips in a small notebook before she settled down to married life with Ben Browne at Townend farmhouse near Windermere.

The house is now owned by the National Trust and managed by Emma Wright who said: ‘People often say how nice it must have been to have lived when Elizabeth did and I agree that I wouldn’t mind dressing up in the clothes and eating some of the recipes but I wouldn’t be so keen if I got poorly and someone came at me with a live spider in a piece of cloth.’

Elizabeth’s book, which contains 89 recipes and 65 medicinal instructions, is on display at Townend and Emma is recreating some of the recipes in the farmhouse kitchen each Thursday afternoon until October.

‘I have eaten a lot of the food,’ Emma said. ‘Some of it is rather challenging to our modern taste but a lot of it is really tasty. There’s a recipe for shred pies, which are very similar to modern mince pies but are made with veal, and there’s a recipe for a sweet spinach tart.

‘Some of the recipes are not that far removed from things we eat today – one recipe is for almond meringues and another is for biscuits flavoured with rose water and caraway seed which are very nice.’

And Emma added: ‘The book is fascinating on so many different levels and you can read into it a lot about Elizabeth and her lifestyle. It’s also interesting to see the exotic ingredients she used, there are recipes which use dates, anchovies, apricots and citrus fruits, and we have receipts which show she was able to buy some of these things at the local shop.

‘People generally assume that because they were Lakeland farmers they existed on a diet of hearty stews and I’m sure they did eat plenty of those, but when they wanted to impress, boy could they impress. There are some beautifully intricate recipes but the intriguing flip-side of that is the list of weird and wonderful remedies which shows she was still sensitive to folklore and tradition.’

Townend is open Wednesday to Sunday 11am-5pm, for more details log on to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/townend

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 14:33

Cosy, warm and welcoming. Discover some of the county’s best places serving up food perfect for the new season

Read more
Autumn
Friday, August 31, 2018

A £10million project has transformed a Victorian hotel into a Lakes spa resort with a brilliant pan-Asian restaurant. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Derwentwater Asian Food Luxury Break
Friday, August 24, 2018

It’s a cooking career that started with a tuna pasta bake and now Chris Parsons is head banqueting chef at Ribby Hall Village, venue for this year’s Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards. He spoke to Roger Borrell

Read more
Ribby Hall
Monday, August 20, 2018

Come and enjoy a relaxed dining experience effortlessly prepared by our Award Winning Head Chef.

Read more

Your granny wouldn’t like it but this Manchester restaurant aims to be out of this world, writes Roger Borrell.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Asian Food
Friday, August 3, 2018

Due to the popularity of our Vegan Menu and to promote the health benefits of a plant based diet we are launching our weekly vegan night, Choose Vegan.

Read more
Friday, August 3, 2018

The world’s best pizza deal comes to The Feilden’s Arms at Mellor Brook.

Read more
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Join us Monday to Friday, from 12pm ‘til 3pm during the school summer holidays (23/7/18 to 31/8/18) when children under 12 can enjoy a Kids Pizza for FREE.

Read more
Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Lancashire couple sold up their home and their business so their sons could become farmers

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Beautiful food in beautiful surroundings...

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Fine dining in elegant surroundings makes Pier Eight at the Lowry a destination dining restaurant you’ll want to visit time and again, says Kate Houghton.

Read more
Friday, July 20, 2018

It’s summer, so let’s eat out on the riviera...the Mersey riviera, that is

Read more
Liverpool
Friday, July 20, 2018

An old tea service owned by her grandmother set Tina Nunn on the path to a rewarding new career.

Read more
Afternoon Tea
Thursday, July 19, 2018

A young couple are taking an innovative approach to farming on land overlooking Morecambe Bay

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search