Feasting at Fretherne

The Performance of a Crusade Play at King Charles V's Feast (detail), Master of the Coronation of Charles VI, Paris, about 1375–80. From Great Chronicles of France (Grandes chroniques de France). Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. Ms. fr. 2813, fol. 473v
The Performance of a Crusade Play at King Charles V’s Feast (detail), Master of the Coronation of Charles VI, Paris, about 1375–80. From Great Chronicles of France (Grandes chroniques de France). Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. Ms. fr. 2813, fol. 473v
Avening Pig Feast
In 1080, Queen Matilda consecrated the church in Avening, Gloucestershire and gave a feast of a pig’s head to the builders

Banquets were seen as opportunities for the rich to entertain in style. Although this image is of the French Court, the scene would have been very similar in England. It was all about showing off in style and impressing guests. Banquets could last for many hours and involve a large succession of courses with such delicacies as heron, peacock and swan and spices from exotic lands including cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg and saffron.

Feasting for peasants was an altogether different affair. Their food came from the land they worked and severe punishments were handed out if they were caught hunting the lord of the manor’s deer, boar, hares and rabbits or stealing his salmon and trout.

Feasting at Fretherne – Friday 26th June at 7pm

This sell out event was a real treat and almost everyone came suitably attired in medieval costume. Some were peasants and some the elite.

Our evening of feasting included seven courses, (well actually it was fourteen as every course had two choices and we were invited to sample both), singing by Delfryn and a mime play by Fram Dram, The Jackdaw of Rheims. We are pleased to acknowledge the support of our sponsors, Uley Brewery and Attwoolls.

‘Parables of our own time’, an exhibition of banners by local artists, was on display throughout the weekend, and also a timeline of Fretherne church.

If you are thinking of planning your own feast, the Medieval Recipes website provides a number of authentic dishes (including vegetarian and vegan) and whenever possible the source and/or original text is given. Entertainment was in the form of dance, musicians and song.