Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
I have just bought an Elizabethan cook book written by Lady Elenor Fettiplace, and the first thing it made me wonder was where all those interesting names went to. I suppose they died out with the last male heirs.
As expected, it features Quince products quite heavilly. Quince were the Elizabethan fruit before the fashion for Spanish oranges took their place in Marmalade. If I were more gullible, I could convince myself that the aroma of Quince takes me back to a previous life in the 1600s.
The first question it has answered for me is 'what is Ratafia?' I know that they made special glasses (see above) in the 18th century to drink Ratafia from, but I never quite knew what it was until Lady Elenor showed me a recipe (or receipt, as she calls them). It is, quite simply, apricot brandy. End of mystery, but I suppose I could have looked up the biscuits of the same name.
It is indeed a small world. The Fettiplaces were good friends of the Danvers family of Dauntsy, where H.I. and I had a big hand in the restitution of the Doom Board, in the family church.
The reason I say that I would have like to have been born in the second half of the 17th century is that the first was a little troubled by the plague, poor medicine to fight it, family fueds which involved the royal court - and regicide.
One of the Danvers was executed for his part in the plot of the Earl of Essex, and his estates were foreited to the Crown.
His brother married into the Fettiplace family through a relative who was murdered at Dauntsey, and the Fettiplace family got him his estates back. He sold some of the estate including the whole of Cirencester - for £2600. That wouldn't buy you a kennel these days, but there again, a rural priest could live on £30 a year.
All this has been gleaned from a quick scan of the book (compiled and annotated by Hilary Spurling), and I am looking forward to trying out a few receipts from it. I hope I do not have to make the cure for the plague which is in it, though.