The Cornish Pasty
The Cornish Pasty endeavours to give only the facts about pasties .....
There are only a few old references to the pasty that we have been able to verify
We present them on separate pages with the dates of the literary works .....
It is claimed that Devon has a pasty recipe from 1510 AD (in fact, it is a list of ingredients from a book-keeper's accounts) and Cornwall has one from 1746 AD.
However ..... the pasty itself goes much further back than that e.g. in olde literature (to 1296 AD).
There are some interesting facts about the history of the pasty:
The word "pasty" is from Middle English and means "made of paste" (pastry)
This is reminiscent of "en croute" (French) meaning "in crust"
Cornwall Record Office has a copy of a 1746 AD recipe that soaking a leg of mutton in claret, which was then enclosed in pastry and baked.
It is believed that sometime in the 1700's the venison pasty (a preserve of the gentry) was turned into the cheaper, D-shaped turnover Cornish pasty for the working classes - the miners and farmers - using beef. This coincided with the growth of mining in Cornwall. It may have been based on a turn-over pasty in Edward Kidder's book, 1720 AD.
The pasty recipe was handed down through the generations without the need for it to be written - in any case, not many could read or write in those days but everyone ate! Those that ate the venison pasties generally had uneducated servants to make them. A good modern recipe is included in this web site - HERE
Guardian newspaper - a report of the Devon archives find below
news.bbc.co.uk - 13th November 2006 - "A reference has now been found in a 16th Century document at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office which reads: Itm for the cooke is labor to make the pasties 10d." This is in records for 1509/1510.
The Devon Pasty War - 2006 - based on the archives find above
Being born and bred in West Cornwall and having worked all my life in Plymouth, Devon, I like to think my thoughts are well-balanced in this matter (KR)
There is no doubt that the home-made pasty was part of the life of the tin miners and farmers (and their families) in both Cornwall and Devon back into the far distant past
The Cornwall/Devon rivalry is perhaps irrelevant since Chretien de Troyes mentions the pasty in Romances about knights of the Round Table that were set in Arthurian Cornwall, written in 1170.
However - for the sake of balance - the land of Arthur (look at this link!) extended from Lyonesse through Cornwall, Devon and Somerset (was Cadbury Castle/Hill Fort the old Camelot?) including Glastonbury / Avalon with references all the way to Wales - in fact the earliest reference to Arthur (which is indirect) is in an old Welsh elegy about the fallen in a battle at Catraeth, c. 600 AD.
With the traditions of mining, abndfarming in all these Celtic lands, perhaps the pasty is a Celtic affair. After all, there is the Cornish Pasty, the Devon Pasty, the Welsh Pasty and the Scottish Pasty.
(The "Devon Pasty" link above was to a menu item from the The Ship Inn, Noss Mayo, March 2007: "Locally made Devon pasty with a mixed salad. £6.95". There seems to be no "Devon" pasty-maker links on the internet? If you can correct this, please email me. The only link I have found is to Ivor Dewdney - and they market "Cornish Pasties" in Plymouth, Devon)
..... ..... mind you, I have never seen a pasty tree in Devon like Father used to have in Hayle, Cornwall. Then again, there's lots that people don't really know about the Cornish Pasty .....