The chuffiness of hot cross buns

It’s Good Friday tomorrow and Good Friday to us pagans means hot cross buns! I’ve been looking through old newspapers again and came across an advert from 1824 –

J.Dean begs to advise his friends and the public that they may be supplied with Hot Buns on Good Friday; N.B. orders given on Wednesday previously will be attended to.

There was another advert for ‘Jones’s real hot cross buns‘ – real as opposed to what? There was an interesting little phrase ‘a goodly supply of hot crossed buns’  – I seem to vaguely remember some elderly people calling the spicy, curranty, sticky bins that when I was a child.

I then came across several amusing articles, all from the 1830’s and 40’s, about the consumption of hot cross buns:

Good Friday.— This holiday was ushered in by a more than usual quantity of hot cross buns, the munching of which, by the various urchins was truly gratifying to the looker-on, and still more so, we presume, to the urchins themselves, if one may judge by the self-contented, happy ‘physog’ of the little wights.

I am guessing that the urchins were just children, not necessarily ragamuffin street children. ‘Physog’ of course is face, from physiognomy – would young people today know what it was? I have never come across the term wights as used here – meaning kids, I guess. It actually means creatures, but of course many of us will think of the barrow-wights from Tolkien.

There was a report of a policeman arresting a dog for eating a shilling’s worth of hot cross buns which hadn’t been paid for, and its master clung to the dog and was brought before the magistrate as well as the bun-filled creature. The case was dismissed ‘and policeman laughed at for his pains’.

Then I came across the wonderful story of John Doyle –  an individual occupying at the least, the rank of Grand Master, in the Ancient and Renowned order of Bacchanals.

I guess this was some sort of social club but he was arrested on Maundy Thursday;

Doyle was charged with on Thursday night having been guilty of alarming the propriety of Church-street, frighting several persons from their slumbers, and performing such extraordinary feats of eloquence and dancing.
Doyle admitted the charge of having .been a little intoxicated but stated that it arose from his having indulged rather too .largely in Hot Cross Buns, the  chuffiness of which had so stuffed his chest that he was compelled to imbibe more than he ought, to prevent the disastrous effects of indigestion.

He was fined 7 shillings,. let that be a warning, do not over indulge in hot cross buns otherwise their chuffiness might have an adverse effect!

 

12 Comments

  1. Klausbernd

    Dear Lois
    we didn’t know this with this tradition of the hot buns, maybe as we are agnostics as well. Great, we’ll try to bake some too, maybe without a cross 😉
    Wishing you great holidays
    The Fab Four of Cley

    Liked by 1 person

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