|Where:||Formerly Ripley, Surrey at the Talbot on the High Street|
|When:||Formerly Early November|
The Assize of Bread and Ale was a thirteenth century statute setting out quality control for those staples of the English diet, in an early form of consumer protection to ensure that customers were given good quality comestibles in fair measures. It was the first law of this type in England. At Ripley each year the Ale was tasted by the manorial Ale Taster (and was found to be good!) and the bread was examined – in 2014 there were 3 large stones inside the first loaf so the baker was expected to be punished at a later date. The crowd was entertained by Thames Valley Morris Men and Fleur de Lys Morris dancers and Cadets of the Surrey Yeomanry in the courtyard of the Talbot Inn followed by singing and soup with bread made from traditional stone-ground flour. It was a tradition that had been carried on here for hundreds of years and it was a rare surviving example up until 2015 of what was once a widespread custom. Victorian dress was encouraged but not compulsory and a host of nattily dressed officials were present including the Hangman (who doesn’t get too much work these days…)
The event lapsed in 2015 owing to the sad death of Lord of the Manor Col Molyneux-Child earlier in the year.
The Talbot is a very historic and upmarket hostelry – see their website for more. The event was organised by the Lord of the Manor rather than the Talbot so don’t be put off if you can’t get all the details from the pub.
The Ale Tasting event varied slightly in date over the last few years but was usually held on a weekday (often a Tuesday) in the first week of November.
Click here for the Talbot website : http://www.thetalbotripley.com/index.php
here for Fleur de Lys Morris : http://fleurdelysmorris.com
and here for the Thames Valley Morrismen’s site : http://www.tvmm.org.uk/index.htm
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