Monday, 14 October 2013

The coronation feast of James II and Queen Mary

One of the many printed books contained in the Cathedral library is a lavishly illustrated account of the coronation of James II and Queen Mary, which took place on Tuesday 23rd April, 1685.

This book was commissioned to commemorate James II's coronation and was given to his Majesty as a gift upon his visit to Worcester in 1687. It is a very detailed account of the preparations for the occasion; a description of the clothing, robes, crowns and sceptres, personnel, seating arrangements and menus for the day. As this is a very precise (and lengthy) account of the ceremony, I have chosen to discuss the coronation feast and menu, which visitors to the library often express interest in.

Below is an exquisite engraving depicting the feast in Westminster Hall, in which you can see the Lords and Ladies tucking into an array of foods, as well as the servers located at the sides of the halls.
James II's coronation feast (1685). Photograph reproduced by the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (U.K.).
Their Majesties table alone is described as containing "99 dishes of the most excellent and choicest of all sorts of cold meats, both flesh and fish, excellently well dressed and ordered all manner of ways, [...] brought up by the gentlemen who served at their majesties cupboards." The engraving certainly conveys the author's point that there was "little vacancy between the dishes, which were set upon stands of several heights, and all so equally mixed, that it made an extraordinary good appearance”. At feasts or banquets today, a table is rarely as fully laden with dishes as we see here. This coronation feast makes Christmas dinner look like a light snack!
Another engraving, pictured below, depicts the table layout of the 145 dishes served at the table of King James and Queen Mary. The King's table was located at the upper end of Westminster Hall.You can see that each dish has a small number on it. Below is a list of the dishes to which each number corresponds. Besides these 145 dishes, there were 30 more served up to their Majesties table at the second course, making 175 dishes in all…!!! 

We'd love it if you could pick your favourite item and tell us which dish, if you could, you would order as part of your coronation dinner.

Table of dishes corresponding with numbers below. Photograph reproduced by the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (U.K.)

The dishes served at the table of King James and Queen Mary:
1.Pistacio cream in glasses.                            
2.Anchoviz (anchovies)                                          
3.Custards        )                                                         
4.Collar Veal    )  Cold
5.Lamb – stones
6.Cocks-combs  )
7.Marrow patie  )  Hot
8.Jelly   )
9.Sallet )   Cold
10.Stags tongues.
12.Patty pidgeon.
14.Cray Fish.
15.Blumange              )      
16.Bolonia Sausages  )  Cold
17.Collops and Eggs.
18.Frigase Chick   )
19.Rabbets Ragou )  Hot
20.Oysters pickled  )
21.Portugal Eggs    )  Cold
22Dutch Beef         )
24.Mushrooms  )
25.Veal              )  Hot
26.Hogs tongues  )
27.Cheese cakes  )  Cold
28.Ciprus Birds.
30.Asparagus  )
31.A Pudding  )  Hot
32.Ragou of Oysters  )
33.Scallops                )  Cold
35.Three dozen glasses of lemon Jelly.
36.Five Neats Tongues  (Cold).
37.Four dozen wild Pidgeons,12 larded, (Hot).
38.A whole Salmon  (Cold).
39.Eight Pheasants,3 larded  (Cold).
40.Nine small Pidgeon Pies  (Cold).
41.Twenty Four fat Chickens,6 larded  (Hot).
42.Twelve Crabs  (Cold).
43.Twenty Four Partridges,6 larded, (Hot).
44.A dish of tarts.
45.Soles marinetted, (Cold).
46.Twenty Four Tame Pidgeons,6 larded, (Hot)
47.Four Fawns,2 larded, (Hot).
48.Four Pullets La Dobe.           )  
49.Twelve Quails                       )  (Hot)           
50.Four Partridges – Halved      )
51.Ten Oyster Pies, (Hot)                                                 
54.Four Dozen of Puddings,(Hot)
56.Beef a La Royal, (Hot).
57.An Oglio, (Hot).
59.A Batalia Pie
62.Three Turkeys a La Royal, (Hot).
63.Four Chicks        )     
64.Bacon Gammon  ) (Hot).
65.Spinage               )
66.Three Piggs (Hot)
67.Almond Puff.
68.Twelve Stump Pies, (Cold).
69.A square pyramide, rising from four large dishes on the angles, and four  lesser dishes on the sides, containing the several fruits in season, and all manner of sweet-meats.
70.A whole Lamb, larded, (Hot).
71.Twelve Ruffs.
72.Four dozen Egg –Pies, (Cold).
73.A very large circular pyramide in the middle of the table, rising from twelve dishes in the circumference, six of which were large, and the others six less, containing the several fruits in season, and all manner of sweet-meats.
74.Six Mullets, large souc’d.
75.Eight Godwits.
76.Eight Neats Tongues and Udders roasted, (Hot).
77.A square pyramide, rising from four large dishes on the angles, and four lesser on the sides, containing the several fruits in season, and all manner of sweet-meats.
78.Eighteen Minc’d Pies, (Cold).
79.Marrow Tofts.
80.Eight wild Ducks, marinated, (Hot).
81.Gooseberry Tarts   )
82.Lampreys               ) (Cold).
83.Shrimps                  )
84.Twenty Four Puffins, (Cold).
87Four Dozen of Petit-Paties, (Hot).
89.Five Carps, (Cold).
90.Blewmange in shells, (Cold)
92.Four Dozen of Almond Puddings, (Hot).
94.Eight Ortelans.
95.Lamb Sallet, (Cold).

96.Five Partridge Pies    )
97.Smelts marinated       )  (Cold) Moil              )
99.Eighteen Turkey Chicks, six larded, (Hot).
100.Twelve Lobsters, (Cold).
101.Nine Pullets, for larded, (Hot).
102.Bacon,two Gammons, (Cold).
103.Twelve Leverets, four larded, (Hot).
104,Sturgeon, (Cold).
105.Twenty Four Ducklings, six larded, (Hot).
106.Collar’d Beef, (Cold).
107.Eight Capons, three larded, (Hot).
108.Five Pullet Pies, (Cold).
109.Eight Geese, three larded, (Hot).
110.Three souc’d Pigs, (Cold).
111.Three Dozen glasses of Jelly.
112.Botargo            )
113.Gerkins            ) (Cold)     
114.Souc’d Trout   )
115.Sheeps Tongues.      )
116.Skirrets                     )  (Hot)
117.Cabbadge Pudding   )
118.Eight Teals Marin    )
119.French Beans           )  (Cold).
120.Leveret Pie               )
121.Lemon Sallet          )
122.Smelts Pickled        )  (Cold).
123.Periwinkles             )
124.Chicks marl’d     )
125.Cavear                 ) (Cold)
126.Olives                  )
127.Prawns            )
128.Samphire         )  (Cold)
129.Trotter Pie       )
130.Taffata Tarts     )
131.Razor Fish        )  (Cold)
132.Broom Buds     )
133.Collar’d Pigs.
134.Parmazan   )
135.Capers       )  (Cold).
136.Spinage Tart.
137.Whitings marinated   )
138.Cockles                      )  (Cold).
139.Pickled Mushrooms  )
140.Prawns                      )  (Cold).
141.Mangoes                   )
142.Bacon Pie           )
143.Cardoons            )  (Cold)
144.Souc’d Tench     )
145.Three Dozen Glasses of Blumange, (Cold).

As you can see, many of the items are familiar to us to-day, although some, if not many, have gone out of fashion. Others are not so recognizable. All in all this was not a table for the faint hearted….!!!

Clarification of a number of the menu items may well be required. I hope that the following will help with this; if some are wrong then please feel free to advise the correct explanation.

There is also a record, of the dishes served at the other  tables. They do differ in some cases to that of their Majesties, but in general they are a large number of common dishes.
Some spellings are different to what we are familiar with now, and these I have left in their traditional form.
The more, possibly obscure items, I have attempted to translate;

Item 4: Collar Veal – Meat that is rolled up and tied with string, also to cut up and press into a roll.
Item 5: Lambs-stones  (Testicles)
Item 6: Cocks-combs  - the red fleshy crest on the head of the domestic fowl.
Item 7: Marrow Patie – (Bone Marrow pate.)                                   
Item 9: Sallet – (Salad.)
Item 11: Sweet-breads – (the pancreas or thymus gland of an animal – heart, stomach, belly, throat, gullet or neck, - looked upon as a delicacy.)
Item 13: Petty –toes  (pigs feet).
Item 17: Collops and Eggs  (an egg fried on bacon).
Item 21: Portugal Eggs  (egg tart pastry, similar to custard tart).
Item 23: Andolioes  (ANDOLIANS – the guts of a hog, cooked with salt, pepper, cloves, mace and coriander).
Item 28: Ciprus Birds  (Preserved Fig Peckers-Beccafico – considered a dainty when it was fattened on figs and grapes)
Item 29: Tansy  (a pudding, omelette, or the like, flavoured with juice of tansy (an Herbaceous plant).
Item 34: Salamagundy (a type of salad, made with lettuce, finely chopped chicken and anchovies, garnished with small poached onions and scalded grapes.)
Item 36: Neats Tongues  (an Ox or Bullock,a Cow or Heifer).
Item 37,39,41,43,46,47,70,99,101,103,105,107 & 109  (Larded – to insert small strips of bacon into, before cooking.)
Item 48: Pullets la Dobe  (Chicken Stew)
Item 57:Oglio  (a very large stew with extensive ingredients)
Item 59:Batalia Pie  (a Fish pie)
Item 68: Stump Pies  (Mutton/Lamb Pie)  [ ]
Item 71: Ruffs  (either a small freshwater fish or a male bird of the sandpiper family)
Item 74,110,114 & 144: Souc’d  (Meat, Fish – prepared or preserved in vinegar/pickle.
Item 75: Godwits  (A type of marshland bird)
Item 79: Marrow Tofts  (Toasts)
Item 82: Lampreys (An eel like sucker fish)
Item 85:Smelts  (small fish)
Item 88: Morels  (type of mushroom)
Item 90: Blewmange: (probably a chicken meat dish served in pastry shells)
Item 94: Ortelans:  (a small bird of the bunting family: they were captured alive, force fed, then drowned in armagnac, roasted, then eaten whole, bones and all..!!).
Item 98: Turt de Moil: (a puff pastry dish containing bone marrow, butter, sweet-meats, cream, eggs, orange-flower-water and sweetened with sugar.)
Item 103: Leverets (young Hares)
Item 107: Capon  (castrated domestic cock).
Item 112: Botargo (a relish made of Mullet roe or Tunny).
Item 116: Skirrets: (a species of water parsnip).
Item 118: Teals:  (species of wild duck).
Item 128: Samphire:  (sea shore plant, growing on rocks, who’s aromatic, saline, fleshy leaves were used in pickles).
Item 130: Taffata Tart: ( was a word  applied for a cream dish i.e. a cream tart/pie).
Item 131: Razor Fish: (a mollusc having a long narrow shell like the handle of a razor).
Item 143: Cardoons:  (edible part of the artichoke).
Item 15 & 145: Blumange:  (a meat concoction)  [  ].

Item 8,35 & 111: Jelly:  (dishes of Jelly – probably refer to gelatine, flavoured with either Lemon or Orange).

by Adrian Skipp.

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