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Title: The History of Bread From Pre-historic to Modern Times
Author: Ashton, John
Language: English
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  The History of Bread
  From Pre-historic to Modern Times



  4 Bouverie Street and 65 St. Paul’s Churchyard, E.C.



It seems extraordinary, but it is, nevertheless, a fact, that, up to
this present time, there has not been written, in the English language,
a History of _Bread_, although it is called ‘the Staff of Life,’ and
really is a large staple of food.

There have been small _brochures_ on the subject, and large volumes on
the Chemistry of Bread, its making and baking; and long controversies
as to the merits of whole meal, and other kindred questions, but no
History. It is to remedy this that I have written this book, in which I
have endeavoured to trace Bread from Pre-historic to Modern Times.




  CHAPTER  I. PRE-HISTORIC BREAD                   13

     ”    II. CORN IN EGYPT AND ASSYRIA            20

     ”   III.  BREAD IN PALESTINE                  29


     ”     V. BREAD IN EASTERN LANDS               56

     ”    VI. BREAD IN EUROPE AND AMERICA          69

     ”   VII. EARLY ENGLISH BREAD                  83

     ”  VIII. HOW GRAIN BECOMES FLOUR             103

     ”    IX. THE MILLER AND HIS TOLLS            114

     ”     X. BREAD-MAKING AND BAKING             123

     ”    XI. OVENS ANCIENT AND MODERN            136

     ”   XII. THE RELIGIOUS USE OF BREAD          142


     ”   XIV. BREAD RIOTS                         162

     ”    XV. LEGENDS ABOUT BREAD                 170


  THE QUANTITIES      _Frontispiece._



  EGYPTIAN REAPERS                                   20

  EGYPTIANS STACKING CORN                            21

    AND THRESHING                                    23


  ASSYRIAN BREAD-MAKING                              26

  EGYPTIAN CAKE SELLER AND BREAD                     27

  A PALESTINE HAND-MILL                              36

  DEMETER AND TRIPTOLEMUS                            45

  PITHOI FOUND AT HISSARLIK                          47

  ETRUSCAN WOMEN POUNDING GRAIN                      49

  A BAKE-HOUSE AT POMPEII                            51

  ROMAN METHODS OF BREAD-MAKING                      53

  A BAKER’S SHOP (_from Pompeii_)                    54

  CHINESE METHOD OF HUSKING GRAIN                    59

  EARLY SCANDINAVIAN BAKERIES                     70-71

  A MEDIÆVAL BAKERY                                  79

  THE ARMS OF THE WHITE BAKERS                       86

  THE ARMS OF THE BROWN BAKERS                       87

  AN EARLY BAKERY                                    91

  A POST MILL                                       104

  A WATER-WHEEL MILL                                105


  ‘HOT GINGERBREAD, SMOKING HOT’                    152

  HOGARTH’S PICTURE OF FORD                         154

  THE BIDDENDEN MAIDS                               160






Man, as is evidenced by his teeth, was created graminivorous, as well
as carnivorous, and the earliest skull yet found possesses teeth
exactly the same as modern man, the carnivorous teeth not being bigger,
whilst in many cases the whole of the teeth have been worn down, as if
by masticating hard substances, such as parched grain.

In the history of bread, the lake dwellings of Switzerland are most
useful, as from them we can gather the cereals their inhabitants used,
their bread, and the implements with which they crushed the corn. The
men who lived in them are the earliest known civilised inhabitants
of Europe—by which I mean that they cultivated several kinds of
cereals—wove cloth, made mats, baskets, and fishing nets, and, besides,
baked bread.

The cereals known to us, and made use of, are the result of much
cultivation, improved by selection; and Hallett’s pedigree wheat would
be hardly recognised when put by the side of its humble progenitor of
pre-historic times. We now use wheat, barley, oats, Indian corn or
maize, rye, rice, millet, and Guinea corn, or Indian millet, besides
such odds and ends as the sea lyme grass (_Elymus arenarius_), which,
though uncultivated, affords seed which is used in Iceland as a food,
for want of something better.

We have been enabled to trace with certainty the cereals used by
pre-historic man, as they have been found lying in the lake mud, or
buried under a bed of peat several feet thick, when they had to be
collected out of a soft, dark-coloured mud, which formed the ancient
lake-bottom, and is now called the relic bed. Dr. Oswald Heer, in his
_Treatise on the Plants of the Lake Dwellings_, says: ‘Stones and
pottery, domestic implements and charcoal ashes, grains of corn and
bones, lie together in a confused mass. And yet they are by no means
spread regularly over the bottom, but are frequently found in patches.
The places where bones are plentiful, where the seeds of raspberries
and blackberries, and the stones of sloes and cherries are found in
heaps, probably indicate where there were holes in the wooden platform,
through which the refuse was thrown into the lake; whilst those places
where burnt fruits, bread, and plaited and woven cloth are found,
indicate the position of store rooms in the very places where they were
burnt, and thus the contents fell into the water. The burnt fruits
and seeds, therefore, unquestionably belong to the age of the lake
dwellings; and a portion of them are in very good preservation, for
the process of burning has not essentially changed their form. Many
of the remains of plants, however, have been preserved in an unburnt

He gives the following list of cereals that have been found, and
it is a somewhat extensive one: ‘(1) Small lake-dwelling barley
(_Hordeum hexastichum sanctum_), (2) Compact six-rowed barley (_Hordeum
hexastichum densum_), (3) Two-rowed barley (_Hordeum distichum_),
(4) Small lake-dwelling wheat (_Triticum vulgare antiquorum_), (5)
Beardless compact wheat (_Triticum vulgare compactum muticum_), (6)
Egyptian wheat (_Triticum turgidum_), (7) Spelt (_Triticum spelta_),
(8) Two-grained wheat (_Triticum dicoccum_), (9) One-grained wheat
(_Triticum monococcum_), (10) Rye (_Secale cereale_), (11) Oat (_Avena
sativa_), (12) Millet (_Panicum miliaceum_), and (13) Italian millet
(_Setaria Italicum_).’

Of these Nos. 1 and 4 were the most ancient, most important, and most
generally cultivated, and next to them come Nos. 5, 12, and 13. Nos. 6,
8, and 9 were, probably, like No. 3, only cultivated, as experiments,
in a few places. Nos. 7 and 11 appeared later, not until the Bronze
Age, whilst No. 10 (rye) was entirely unknown amongst the lake
dwellings of Switzerland.

At the lake settlement at Wangen a remarkable quantity of charred corn
was dug up. Mr. Löhle believes that, altogether, and at various times,
he has collected as much as 100 bushels. Sometimes he found the entire
ears, at other times the grain only. Any of my readers can see for
themselves some of this wheat, and also some raspberry seeds, found
at Wangen. In the same case in the Prehistoric Saloon of the British
Museum may be seen specimens of beans, peas, charred straw, acorns,
hazel nuts, barley in the ear, millet in ear, in seed, and made into
cakes, one showing the pattern of the bottom of a basket, and another
the impress of a rush mat. The cakes or bread of millet are very solid,
and are made of meal coarsely crushed.

We know how this was crushed, for we have found their corn-crushers and
mealing-stones. Of these the rude corn-crushers are undoubtedly the
earliest. These stones, with their rounded ends, for a time somewhat
puzzled the archæologist as to their use; but that was at once apparent
when they were taken in conjunction with the hollowed stones. They were
corn-crushers, which were used for pounding the parched corn or raw
grain to make a thick gruel or porridge.

Later on they improved upon them by using mealing-stones, which
ground out the meal by rubbing one stone on another, accompanied with
pressure. The stones are in the British Museum. Such mealing-stones
were used by the Egyptians and Assyrians, as we shall see, and are
employed to this day in Central Africa. ‘The mill consists of a block
of granite, syenite, or even mica schist, 15in. or 18in. square and
five or six thick, with a piece of quartz or other hard rock about
the size of a half-brick, one side of which has a convex surface,
and fits into a concave hollow in the larger, and stationary, stone.
The workwoman, kneeling, grasps this upper millstone with both
hands, and works it backwards and forwards in the hollow of the lower
millstone, in the same way that a baker works his dough, when pressing
it and pushing from him. The weight of the person is brought to bear
on the movable stone, and while it is pressed and pushed forwards and
backwards one hand supplies, every now and then, a little grain, to be
thus at first bruised, and then ground on the lower stone, which is
placed on the slope, so that the meal, when ground, falls on to a skin
or mat spread for the purpose. This is, perhaps, the most primitive
form of mill, and anterior to that in Oriental countries, where two
women grind at one mill, and may have been that used by Sarah of old
when she entertained the angels.’[1]


To these mealing-stones succeeded the quern. This was a basin, or
hollowed stone, with another—oviform—for grinding. The quern has
survived to this day. In London, at the west end of Cheapside, by
Paternoster Row, was a church, destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666,
and never rebuilt, called St. Michael le Quern. It was close by Panyer
Alley, so called from the baker’s basket, and a stone is still in the
alley on which is sculptured a naked boy sitting on a panyer. Querns
have been found in the remains of the lake dwellings in Switzerland,
and in the Crannoges, or lake dwellings of Scotland and Ireland.
They are still in use in out-of-the-way places in Norway, in remote
districts in Ireland, and some parts of the western islands of
Scotland. In the latter country, as early as 1284, an effort was made
by the Legislature to supersede the quern by the water-mill, the use of
the former being prohibited, except in case of storm, or where there
was a lack of mills of the new species. Whoever used the quern was to
’gif the threttein measure as multer[2];’ and the transgressor was to
‘time[3] his hand mylnes perpetuallie.’ Querns were not always made of
stone, for one made of oak was found in 1831, whilst removing Blair
Drummond Moss. It is 19 in. in height by 14 in. in diameter, and the
centre is hollowed about a foot, so as to form a mortar.

To sum up this notice of pre-historic bread, I may mention that at
Robenhausen, Meisskomer discovered 8lbs. weight of bread, and also at
Wangen has been found baked bread or cake made of crushed corn exactly
similar. Of course, it has been burnt, or charred, and thus these
interesting specimens have been preserved to the present day. The form
of these cakes is somewhat round, and about an inch to an inch and a
half thick; one small specimen, nearly perfect, is about four or five
inches in diameter. The dough did not consist of meal, but of grains
of corn more or less crushed. In some specimens the halves of grains
of barley are plainly discernible. The under side of these cakes is
sometimes flat, sometimes concave, and there appears no doubt that the
mass of dough was baked by being laid on hot stones, and covered over
with glowing ashes.



The ancient Egyptians had as cereals three kinds of wheat—_Triticum
sativa_, _zea_ and _spelta_; barley, _Hordeum vulgare_, and doura,
_Holcus sorghum_, specimens of which may be seen in the Egyptian
Gallery at the British Museum. The so-called ‘mummy-wheat’ is a
fallacy, as far as its name goes; it is the _Triticum turgidum
compositum_, cultivated in Egypt, Abyssinia, and elsewhere.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN REAPERS.]

In this fertile land the cultivation of corn was very primitive;
the sower had his seed in a basket, which he held in his left hand,
or suspended it either on his arm or by a strap round his neck, and
he threw the seed broadcast with his right hand. According to the
paintings in the tombs, he immediately followed the plough, the light
earth needing no further treatment, and the harrow, in any form, was
unknown. Wheat was cut in about five months after planting, and barley
in about four. We have here a representation of harvesting, showing the
reaping, with the length of stubble left, and its being tied up into
sheaves, or rather bundles. We next see the bundles being made into
pyramidal stacks.


Here it remained until it was required for threshing, and then it was
transported to the threshing floor in wicker baskets, upon asses, or in
rope nets borne by two men. These threshing floors were circular level
plots of land, near the field, or in the vicinity of the granary; and,
the floor being well swept, the ears were laid down and oxen driven
over it in order to tread out the grain, which was swept up by an

And, like their modern brethren, they were merry at their work and sang
songs, several of which may be seen in the sculptured tombs of Upper
Egypt. Champollion gives the following, found in a tomb at Eileithyia:

 ‘Thresh for yourselves (twice repeated),
  O oxen,
  Thresh for yourselves (twice repeated);
  Measures for yourselves,
  Measures for your masters.’

Sometimes the cattle were bound by their horns to a piece of wood,
which compelled them to move in unison, and tread the corn regularly.
But it was also threshed out by manual labour, with curious implements.
The next operation was to winnow the corn, which was done with wooden
shovels; it was then carried to the granary in sacks, each containing
a certain quantity, which was determined by wooden measures, a scribe
noting down the number as called by the tellers, who superintended its
removal. Herodotus (book II., 14) says that the Egyptians trod out
their corn by means of swine.

Besides the growing and gathering of wheat, the doura is also
represented in paintings in tombs at Thebes, Eileithyia, Beni-Hassan,
and Saggára. Both it and wheat are represented as growing in the same
field, but the doura is the taller of the two. It was not reaped, but
was pulled up by the roots by men, and sometimes women, who struck off
the earth which adhered with their hands, bound it in sheaves, and
carried it to a place where it was rippled, as flax is done.



In the ordinary life of the Egyptians, the woman mealed the flour—in
as primitive a form as the prehistoric man—and in the British Museum
are two wooden models, which show the first process of converting
the cereal into meal; and then we have two figures of men kneading
dough—from the Museum at Ghizeh (formerly at Boulak). The bread
itself was both leavened and unleavened—as may be seen by the many
examples—round, triangular, and square—in the British Museum, some of
which must have been a foot across, and over an inch thick; the three
examples given on page 27 being 5in. in diameter, and 1/2in. thick; 7
ditto and 1/2 ditto; whilst the ornamented cake is 3-1/2in. in diameter
and 3/4in. thick.

But there were professional bakers in Egypt, as we see in some of
the tomb-pictures. In the Biblical story of Joseph we find that ‘the
butler of the King of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the
King of Egypt’; and the Rabbi Solomon says their offences were the
butler not having perceived a fly in Pharaoh’s cup, and the baker
having got a stone into the royal bread, so that Pharaoh thought they
were conspiring against his life. We know they were put in prison with
Joseph, and related their dreams to him. The dream of the Opheh, or
chief baker, was that he ‘had three white baskets on his head, and in
the uppermost basket there was all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh.’
The Bible story of Joseph goes on to tell us how, in the years of
plenty, he providentially stored up the excess of corn to meet the
years of famine, and how the Israelites sent to Egypt for food, and
subsequently abode in that land.


Thanks to Assyrian art, and to the enduring qualities of bronze, we are
able to see how that ancient people made their bread (at least in the
camp) during the reign of Shalmaneser II., son of Assur-nasir-abli,
who began to govern Assyria about the year 860 B.C., and died in 825
B.C. On the bronze bands of the great gates of Balawat are recorded the
warlike doings of Shalmaneser II. in detail. In almost every camp that
is represented are men depicted as preparing bread against the return
of the, of course, victorious soldiery: we see them mealing the corn,
kneading the dough, making it into flat, round cakes, and, finally,
piling these up in large heaps ready for the hungry warriors.


These gates were found in the year 1877 by Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, who,
whilst excavating for the Trustees of the British Museum on the site
of ancient Nineveh, began also excavations at a mound called Balawat,
about 15 miles east of Mosul, and nine miles from Nimroud. Having
received, as a present, before his departure for the East, some
fragments of chased bronze, said to have been found in this mound, he
naturally had the greatest wish to follow up the indication of a new
store of antiquities. He experienced some difficulty from the villagers
of Balawat, as the mound had been used by them for some years as a
burial ground, and their scruples having been overcome, the result
was the finding of these beautiful bronzes in fragments. They were
skilfully restored at the British Museum, where they now are, and rank
among the best of Assyrian antiquities.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN BREAD.]


The old Assyrians knew the value of irrigation in growing their crops,
and the remains of aqueducts and hydraulic machines which remain
in Babylonia bear witness to an advanced civilisation; these are
constructed of masonry, which slanted up to the height of two feet,
and, disposed at right angles to the river, they conducted the water
from 200 to 2000 yards into the interior.

The food of the poor seems to have consisted of grain, such as wheat,
or barley, moistened with water, kneaded in a bowl, rolled into cakes
and baked in the hot ashes.



Of the bread of the ancient Hebrews we know nothing, except from their
sacred books; but these contain a large store of knowledge. Their
cereals seem to have consisted only of wheat, barley, rye (or it may
be spelt), and millet, but they cultivated leguminous plants, such as
beans and lentils. It is impossible to say accurately when these books
were written, so that in the following notices respecting the bread
of the Hebrews I take the sequence in which I find them placed in the
Bible. It is impossible to do otherwise, as their chronology is such an
open question.

At first, in all probability, the normal course of pre-historic man was
followed—wheat and barley grew wild, were first eaten raw, and then
parched. Of this latter and primitive method of cooking cereals we have
several notices. It was used as a sacrifice, as we see in Leviticus ii.
16: ‘And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten
corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense
thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.’ That parched
corn was at that time a food we find in Levit. xxiii. 14: ‘And ye
shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the
self-same day that ye have brought an offering unto your God.’ We next
find it as the food of labouring people in Ruth ii. 14, when Boaz
‘reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.’

Mention is again made of it in I. Sam. xvii., when Goliath of Gath
challenged the men of Israel. Jesse’s three sons had followed Saul to
the battle, and the anxious father had sent his youngest son David,
with provisions for them, and a present to their commander, vv. 17,
18: ‘And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an
ephah[4] of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the
camp to thy brethren; and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain
of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their
pledge.’ We see, I. Sam. xxv. 18, how Abigail, Nabal’s wife, in order
to propitiate David, ‘made haste, and took 200 loaves, and two bottles
of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched
corn, and 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs, and laid
them on asses.’ The last we hear of parched corn as food is in II.
Sam. xvii. 27, 28, when David arrived at Mahanaim. Shobi, Machir, and
Barzillai ‘brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat,
and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentils, and
parched pulse.’ In England this parching is sometimes applied to peas,
and, indeed, there is a saying comparing an extremely lively person ‘to
a parched pea in a frying pan,’ and in America ‘pop corn,’ or parched
maize, is very popular.

Threshing corn we first read of in Deut. xxv. 4, when we find the
following direction given: ‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he
treadeth out the corn,’ a practice which the natives of Aleppo, and
some other Eastern places, still religiously observe.

How Gideon (Jud. vi. 11) or Oman (I. Chron. xxi. 20) threshed, whether
by oxen or by flail, we cannot tell, but in Isaiah xxviii. 27, 28, we
find five methods of threshing then in vogue. ‘For the fitches [this
is supposed to be the _Nigella sativa_, whose seeds are used as a
condiment, like coriander or caraway] are not threshed with a threshing
instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but
the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.
Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor
break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.’
In Lowth on _Isaiah_ we find this passage made somewhat clearer:

 ‘The dill is not beaten out with the _corn-drag_;
  Nor is the _Wheel of the Wain_ made to turn upon the cummin.
  But the dill is beaten out with _the Staff_,
  And the cummin with the _Flail_, but
  The bread corn with the _Threshing-Wain_;
  And not for ever will he continue thus to thresh it,
  Nor vex it with the Wheel of its Wain,
  Nor to bruise it with the _Hoofs of his Cattle_.’

The _Staff_ and _Flail_ were used for that grain that was too tender
to be treated in any other method. The _Drag_ consisted of a sort of
frame of strong planks, made rough at the bottom with hard stones or
iron; it was drawn by horses or oxen over the corn sheaves spread on
the threshing floor, the driver sitting upon it. The _Wain_ was much
like the former, but had wheels with iron teeth, or edges like a saw;
the axle was armed with iron teeth or serrated wheels throughout; it
moved upon three rollers, armed with iron teeth, or wheels, to cut the
straw. In Syria they make use of the drag constructed in the very same
manner—and this not only forces out the grain, but cuts the straw in
pieces for fodder for the cattle; for in Eastern countries there is no

Sir R. K. Porter, in his _Travels in Georgia_,[5] speaks of this method
of threshing, which he saw in the early part of the last century.
‘The threshing operation is managed by a machine composed of a large
square frame of wood, which contains two wooden cylinders placed
parallel to each other, and which have a turning motion. They are
stuck full of splinters, with sharp square points, but not all of a
length. These barrels have the appearance of the barrels in an organ,
and their projections, when brought in contact with the corn, break
the stalk and disengage the ear. They are put in motion by a couple of
cows or oxen, yoked to the frame, and guided by a man sitting on the
plank that covers the frame which contains the cylinders. He drives
this agricultural equipage in a circle round any great accumulation
of just-gathered harvest, keeping at a certain distance from the
verge of the heap, close to which a second peasant stands, holding
a long-handled 20-pronged fork, shaped like the spread sticks of a
fan, and with which he throws the unbound sheaves forward to meet the
rotary motion of the machine. He has a shovel also ready, with which he
removes to a considerable distance the corn that has already passed
the wheel. Other men are on the spot with the like implement, which
they fill with the broken material, and throw it aloft in the air,
where the wind blows away the chaff, and the grain falls to the ground.
The latter process is repeated till the corn is completely winnowed
from its refuse, when it is gathered up, carried home, and deposited
for use in large earthen jars. The straw is preserved with care, being
the sole winter food of the horses and mules. But while I looked on
at the patriarchal style of husbandry, and at the strong yet docile
animal, which for so many ages had been the right hand of man in his
business of tilling and reaping the ground, I could not but revere the
beneficent law which pronounced, “Muzzle not the ox when he treadeth
out the corn.”’

It was probably one of these that Araunah meant (II. Sam. xxiv. 22)
when he said unto David: ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what
seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and
threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.’ And
it is certainly mentioned in Isaiah xli. 15: ‘Behold, I will make thee
a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth.’

The threshing-floor is many times mentioned in the Bible. There were
those of Atad, Nachon, and Araunah (or Ornan), the value of whose
floor, etc., is variously stated in II. Sam. xxiv. 24, where it says
that David bought the flour and oxen for 50 shekels of silver, or about
6_l_ of our money; whilst in I. Chron. xxi. 25, he gave him 600 shekels
of gold in weight, or 1200_l_ of our currency, which seems a large sum
for a small level piece of ground; for the floors, so-called, were out
of doors, so that the wind might carry away the chaff, as we read in
Hosea xiii. 3: ‘They shall be ... as the chaff that is driven with the
whirlwind out of the floor.’ See also Psalm i. 4.

These floors were used for other purposes than threshings, as we read
in I. Kings xxii. 10: ‘And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king
of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void
place (_or floor_) in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the
prophets prophesied before them,’ a statement which is repeated in II.
Chron. xviii. 9.

Harvest-time was appointed by Moses as one of the great
festivals—Exodus xxiii. 14, etc.: ‘Three times thou shalt keep a feast
unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread:
(thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee,
in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out
from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty). And the feast of
harvest, the first-fruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the
field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year,
when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.’ And again, in
Exodus xxxiv., this is repeated, with the addition (v. 21): ‘Six days
thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time
and in harvest thou shalt rest.’ This holiday was, and is, called the
feast of tabernacles, and we read in Deut. xvi. 13, etc.: ‘Thou shalt
observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast
gathered in thy corn and thy wine: and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast,
thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy
maid-servant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the
widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn
feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose:
because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in
all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.’

In the story of Ruth we get an idyllic picture of a Hebrew harvest
field, with its kindly greetings between master and man, and its
gleaners. Naomi, a native of Bethlehem, returned thither from Moab,
after the death of her husband, Elimelech, accompanied by her
daughter-in-law Ruth, who was also a widow, ‘and they came to Bethlehem
in the beginning of barley harvest.’

Special favour was accorded to Ruth. She might glean ‘among the
sheaves’—_i.e._, following the reapers, instead of waiting until the
corn had been carried; but the Jews were enjoined to be liberal in the
matter of gleaning, as we see by Lev. xix. 9: ‘And when ye reap the
harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy
field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest’; and in
Deut. xxiv. 19, ‘When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and
hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it;
it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow:
that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.’

There were no public mills at which flour could be ground, but, as
now, in the unchangeable East, every family ground their own corn, and
this task, as well as the making and baking of bread, was left to the
women. See Matt. xxiv. 41: ‘Two women shall be grinding at the mill;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.’ Again we find that it
was a woman who was grinding corn on a housetop in Thebez who (Judges
ix. 53) ‘cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all
to brake his skull.’ An Eastern flour mill consists of two stones,
the upper one rotating on the lower. In Shaw’s _Travels_, p. 297, he
says: ‘Most families grind their wheat and barley at home, having two
portable millstones for that purpose. The uppermost is turned round
by a small handle of wood or iron placed in the edge of it. When this
stone is large, or expedition is required, then a second person is
called in to assist. It is usual for the women alone to be concerned in
this employ, setting themselves down over against each other, with the
millstones between them.’

[Illustration: A PALESTINE HAND-MILL.]

And Dr. Clarke, in his _Travels_,[6] says, that at Nazareth: ‘Scarcely
had we reached the apartment prepared for our reception, when, looking
into the courtyard belonging to the house, we beheld _two women_
grinding at the mill in a manner most forcibly illustrating the saying
of our Saviour. They were preparing flour to make our bread, as it
is always customary in the country when strangers arrive. The two
women, seated upon the ground opposite to each other, held between
them two round, flat stones, such as are seen in Lapland, and such as
in Scotland are called querns. In the centre of the upper stone was
a cavity for pouring in the corn, and by the side of this an upright
wooden handle for moving the stone. As the operation began, one of the
women with her right hand pushed this handle to the woman opposite, who
again sent it to her companion, thus communicating a rotary and very
rapid motion to the upper stone, their left hands being all the while
employed in supplying fresh corn as fast as the bran and flour escaped
from the sides of the machine.’

Of such importance among the household treasures of the Hebrews was the
flour mill esteemed that Moses laid it down (Deut. xxiv. 6): ‘No man
shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a
man’s life to pledge.’

The first mention of bread in the Bible, with the exception of Adam’s
curse, is in Gen. xiv. 18: ‘And Melchizedek, King of Salem, brought
forth bread and wine’; but it is pre-supposed, in Chap. xii. 10: ‘And
there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to
sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.’ When the three
angels visited him on the plains of Mamre, he offered them hospitality
(Gen. xviii. 5, 6): ‘I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye
your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come
to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham
hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three
measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.’ And
to this day in Syria cakes are made upon the hearth, and the breaking
of bread together is a token of amity and protection extended by the
stronger to the weaker.

Of what shape the Hebrew bread was we do not know, for no
representation of it has come down to us. As a rule it was possibly in
the form of thin flat round cakes—similar to those unleavened biscuits
now used by the Jews during their Passover, and the form and dimensions
of which are probably traditional—but they also had _loaves_ of bread,
as we read in many places. The Shew, or Presence bread, must have been
loaves, because of the quantity of flour in each—between five and six
pints. The directions for making it, etc., are plain enough (Lev. xxiv.
5-9): ‘And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof:
two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two
rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. And thou shalt
put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a
memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every Sabbath he
shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the
children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron’s
and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most
holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual

This shew bread must have been leavened, for a cake containing nearly
three quarts of flour, and unleavened, could hardly be. We have no
certainty as to the shape of these twelve loaves, typical of the tribes
of Israel; for, although the gold table on which it was placed figures
in a _bas relief_ on the Arch of Titus at Rome, there is no bread upon
it. The Rabbis say that the loaves were square, and covered with leaves
of gold; and that they were placed in two piles of six each, one upon
another, on the opposite ends of the table; and that between every two
loaves were laid three semi-tubes, like slit canes, of gold, for the
purpose of keeping the cakes the better from mouldiness and corruption
by admitting the air between them; and it is also said, but upon what
authority I know not, that each end of the table was furnished with
a tall, three-pronged fork of gold, one at each corner, standing
perpendicularly, for the purpose of keeping the loaves in their proper

The new bread was set on the table with much ceremony every Sabbath,
and it was so ordered that the new bread should be set on one end of
the table before the old was taken away from the other, in order that
the table might not be for a moment without bread. Jewish tradition
states that, to render the bread more peculiar and consecrated from
its origin, the priests themselves performed all the operations of
sowing, reaping and grinding the corn for the shew bread, as well as of
kneading and baking the bread itself. On the table was, probably, some
salt, as we read in Lev. ii. 13: ‘With all thine offerings thou shalt
offer salt.’

There seems to be little doubt but that the Israelites knew nothing
about leavened bread until they went into Egypt, and that they obtained
that knowledge from the civilised Egyptians. That they did leaven their
bread we learn from Exodus xii. 34-39: ‘And the people took their dough
before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their
clothes upon their shoulders.... And they baked unleavened cakes of the
dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened;
because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had
they prepared for themselves any victual.’

Bread was sometimes dipped in oil as a relish, and in this state
it was also used in sacrifice. Lev. viii. 26: ‘And out of the
basket of unleavened bread, that was before the Lord, he took one
unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer,’ etc.; and,
occasionally, as we see in Ruth, it was dipped in vinegar. The Jew
thanked God for all His good gifts, and with his bread, he took it
in his hands, and pronounced the following benediction: ‘Blessed art
Thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, that produceth bread out
of the earth.’ If there were many at table, one asked a blessing for
the rest. The blessing always preceded the breaking of the bread. The
rules concerning the breaking of bread were—the master of the house
recited and finished the blessing, and after that he broke the bread;
he did not break a small piece, lest he should seem to be sparing;
nor a large piece, lest he should be thought to be famished; it was
a principal command to break a whole loaf. He that broke the bread
put a piece before everyone, and the other took it into his hand. The
master of the family ate first of the bread after blessing. Maimonides,
writing on _Halacoth_, or legal formulæ (_Beracoth_, c. 7), says the
guests were not to eat or taste anything till he who broke had tasted
first, nor was it permitted at festivals for any of the guests to drink
of the cup till the master of the family had done so.

There are several unleavened bread bakeries in London, and one each in
Birmingham and Leeds, to supply the Jews resident in the neighbourhood
with Passover cakes, or _Matzos_. Of course, there is an enormous
demand for this sort of unleavened bread, and to meet it these bakeries
begin baking two months before the commencement of the Passover. These
_Matzos_ look like ordinary large water biscuits, except that they
are a foot or more in diameter. They are made of flour and water, and
contain no other ingredient.

After the flour has been kneaded into a very stiff dough, a lump of it,
weighing about 50 lb., is placed on a great block of wood and pressed
into a thick sheet by a heavy beam, which is fastened to the block at
one end by an iron link and staple. This sheet is next placed under an
iron roller, from which it emerges in a long ribbon. It passes under
another roller, and another, and then it is thin enough for baking. It
is now stamped and cut into the unbaked _Matzos_, which are placed upon
a large peel, or wooden tray, having a long handle, and deposited in
an oven. Three minutes later they are taken out, white, but crisp. From
the oven they are conveyed to the packing room, where they are allowed
to cool, after which they are put up in stacks, and thus kept ready for
delivery. Of course, during the whole of Passover week the Jews eat no
other bread.



As an introduction to the bread of the Romans and Greeks, let us
begin with the pretty myth of Demeter (or Ceres, as the Romans called
her), and her daughter Persephone. Zeus, or Jupiter, had promised
his daughter Persephone to Pluto, without informing Demeter of his
plan, and whilst the girl was plucking flowers which Zeus had caused
to grow, in order to fix her attention, Pluto seized her, and, the
earth opening, they disappeared, and went to his kingdom of Hades.
Many places have been assigned as the spot where this took place; but
the ancient Eleusis, not far from Salamis or Athens, now the little
village of Lefsina, has, if such a thing were possible, perhaps
the prior claim, for here stood the famous temple of Demeter, now
lately (1882-89) excavated and surveyed, and here were performed the
Eleusinian mysteries in her honour.

The shrieks of Persephone were heard only by Hecate and Helios; and
her mother, hearing only the echo of her voice, at once darted down
to earth in search of her beloved child. Hopelessly and aimlessly she
wandered about, caring nothing for herself; and for nine whole days and
nights neither ate nor drank, tasted neither nectar nor ambrosia, nor
did she even bathe herself. On the tenth day she met Hecate, who told
her all she knew of her daughter’s disappearance, which was not much,
as she had heard but her piercing cries. But, thinking that Helios,
the all-seeing sun, might have viewed the scene, they hastened to him,
and he told them how it all happened: how Pluto had carried off her
daughter, with the approval and consent of Zeus.

Heart-broken at this conduct of the father of her child, she would have
no more of the society of the gods, and forswore Olympus, preferring to
live rather among men on earth. And so she dwelt among them, rewarding
those who were kind to her and severely punishing those who did not
treat her well; and in this way, still wandering and mourning for her
lost child, she came to Eleusis, where Celeus was king.

But her wrath was still as fierce as ever, and, by withholding her
gifts, the fields produced no crops, and there was famine upon earth,
and so sore indeed did it become that Zeus, perceiving it, feared that
the race of man might become extinct for lack of food, and sent Iris
as ambassador to try and persuade Demeter to return to Olympus. But
she was firm, although all the gods were sent to her to induce her to
relent, and nothing would she do to mitigate the evil she had wrought,
save on the condition that her daughter should be restored to her.


Hermes was sent to Pluto, and his mission met with partial success.
Persephone had eaten of the pomegranate seed, which sacredly pledged
her to her dread lord; and for three months in the year she must
leave her mother and the fair earth and go to live in Pluto’s dreary
kingdom. Hermes fulfilled his mission by restoring her to her loving
mother, who rejoiced over her with an exceeding joy. Zeus, choosing
this happy moment, sent Rhea to Demeter to conciliate her and prevail
upon her to return to Olympus—a task which she happily effected. The
earth smiled once more and became fertile, and Demeter, with her
daughter, to whom she was lent for nine months in the year, went to
dwell once more in the companionship of the gods; but, before she left
the earth, she rewarded Celeus, the King of Eleusis, who had been kind
to her, by giving his son, Triptolemus, a chariot with winged dragons
and seeds of wheat. His chariot was useful, for by means of it he was
able to ride all over the earth, and instruct men in growing corn.
He established the worship of Demeter at Eleusis, and instituted the
mysteries in honour of the goddess.

And in this pretty myth of Demeter and Persephone we may trace the
story of the seasons; how for nine months the earth is smiling and
fertile, and for the remaining three is dead.

Dr. Schliemann claimed to have found the site of ancient Troy when he
uncovered the hill of Hissarlik. It was undoubtedly the remains of a
pre-historic city, and one which had advanced to a considerable amount
of civilisation. And this is shown particularly in one instance, in the
huge earthenware jars, or _pithoi_, that were used for storing corn and
wine. The following illustration gives a graphic description of them
as they appeared _in situ_: ‘One of the compartments of the uppermost
houses below the Temple of Athené, and belonging to the third, the
burnt city, appears to have been used as a magazine for storing corn
or wine, for there are in it nine enormous earthenware jars of various
forms, about 5 ft. high and 4-3/4 ft. across, their mouths being from
29-1/2 in. to 35-1/4 in. broad. Each of them has four handles 3-3/4
in. broad, and the clay of which they are made is as much as 2-1/4 in.

Dr. Schliemann says [p. 279]: ‘The number of large jars which I brought
to light in the burnt stratum of the third city certainly exceeds
600. By far the larger number of them were empty, the mouth being
covered by a large flag of schist or limestone. This leads me to the
conclusion that the jars were filled with wine or water at the time
of the catastrophe, for there appears to have been hardly any reason
for covering them if they had been empty. Had they been used to contain
anything else but liquids, I should have found traces of the fact, but
only in a very few cases did I _find some carbonised grain_ in the
jars, and only twice a small quantity of a white mass, the nature of
which I could not determine.’


So that we see that this pre-historic nation not only grew corn, but
stored it for future use.

The means this pre-historic people had of crushing or mealing the grain
was the same as usual: the saddle querns, or two stones with flat
surfaces, between which the grain was crushed and roughly triturated—so
frequently found on the Continent, and the pestle and mortar of the
lake dwellings, as also round stones for fitting into hollows such as
are found in the lakes, the cave dwellings of the Dordogne and in the
dolmens of France. Dr. Schliemann, in describing ‘the Trojan saddle
querns,’ says they ‘are either of trachyte or of basaltic lava, but
by far the larger number are of the former material. They are of oval
form, flat on one side and convex on the other, and resemble an egg
cut longitudinally through the middle. Their length is from 7 in. to
14 in., and even as much as 25 in.; the very long ones are generally
crooked longitudinally, their breadth is from 5 in. to 14 in. The grain
was bruised between the flat sides of two of these querns; but only
a kind of groats can have been produced in this way, not flour. The
bruised grain could not have been used for making bread. In _Homer_
we find it used for porridge (_Il._ xviii., 558-560), and also for
strewing on the roasted meat (_Od._ xiv., 76-77).’

In Homeric times the corn was evidently ground by millstones (which
were, probably, precisely similar to those found by Dr. Schliemann),
as we see in _Il._ vii. 270, xii., 161, and _Od._ vii., 104, xx.,
105. Pliny N.H., xxxvi., 30, speaking of millstones says: ‘In no
country are the molar stones superior to those of Italy; stones, be
it remembered, not fragments of rock; there are some provinces, too,
where they are not to be found at all. Some stones of this class are
softer than others, and admit of being smoothed with the whetstone, so
as to present all the appearance, at a distance, of serpentine. There
is no more durable stone than this; for, in general, stone, like wood,
suffers from the action, more or less, of rain, heat, and cold....
Some persons give this molar stone the name of _pyrites_, from the
circumstance that it has a great affinity to fire.’

[Illustration: POUNDING GRAIN.]

In book xviii., 23, Pliny gives us _the mode of grinding corn_. ‘All
the grains are not easily broken. In Etruria they first parch the
spelt in the ear, and then pound it with a pestle shod with iron at
the end. In this instrument the iron is notched at the bottom, sharp
ridges running out like the edge of a knife, and concentrating in
the form of a star, so that, if care is not taken to hold the pestle
perpendicularly while pounding, the grains will only be splintered and
the iron teeth broken. Throughout the greater part of Italy, however,
they employ a pestle that is only rough at the end, and wheels turned
by water, by means of which the corn is gradually ground. I shall here
set forth the opinions given by Mago as to the best method of pounding
corn. He says that the wheat should be steeped first of all in water,
and then cleaned from the husk, after which it should be dried in the
sun and then pounded with the pestle; the same plan, he says, should be
adopted in the preparation of barley.’

This was how corn was prepared in some parts of Italy at the time of
the Christian era, by the same method as that described by Livingstone:
‘The corn is pounded in a large wooden mortar, like the ancient
Egyptian one, with a pestle six feet long and about four inches thick.
The pounding is performed by two or even three women at one mortar.
Each, before delivering a blow with her pestle, gives an upward jerk
of the body, so as to put strength into the stroke, and they keep
exact time, so that two pestles are never in the mortar at the same
moment.... By the operation of pounding, with the aid of a little
water, the hard outside scale or husk of the grain is removed, and the
corn is made fit for the millstone. The meal irritates the stomach
unless cleared from the husk; without considerable energy in the
operation the husk sticks fast to the corn. Solomon thought that still
more vigour than is required to separate the hard husk or bran from
the wheat would fail to separate “a fool from his folly.” “Though thou
shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will
not his foolishness depart from him.”’


We have noticed the primitive Homeric millstones and the Etruscan
pestles and mortars, but at the time of the Christian era things
molinary were somewhat more advanced. Doubtless in parts of the
country the hand mill or quern, called _Mola manuaria_, _versatilis_ or
_trusatilis_, was in use, and it was worked by slaves, who were sent to
the _pistorineum_ as a punishment. But the usual corn mill was worked
by animals, and was called _Mola iumentaria_ or _Mola asinaria_.

Both Greeks and Romans originally ground their flour and baked their
bread at home, and mills and bakeries have been found in several
private houses in Pompeii. One of these bakeries was attached to the
house of Sallust, on the south side, being divided from it only by
a narrow street. Its front is the main street, or Via Consularis,
leading from the gate of Herculaneum to the Forum. Entering by a small
vestibule, the visitor finds himself in a portico of ample dimensions,
considering the character of the house, being about 36 feet by 30
feet. At the end of the portico is an opening through which the
bake-house is entered, which is at the back of the house, and opens
into a smaller street, which, diverging from the main street at the
fountain by Pansa’s house, runs straight up to the city walls. The
work room of the mill and bakery is about 33 feet long by 26 feet. The
centre is occupied by four stone mills, and when it was uncovered, the
ironwork, though entirely rust eaten, was yet perfect enough to explain
satisfactorily the method of construction.

Not only were the flour mills, kneading troughs and other utensils
for baking found in Pompeii, but there were also loaves of bread,
of round form, and sub-divided, some of which were stamped with the
baker’s name. That this was the usual form of loaf is also shown by a
painting on the walls of the Temple of Augustus, where we see the bread
partially broken, and by the representation of a baker’s shop, where
all the loaves are similarly shaped.


[Illustration: A BAKER’S SHOP AT POMPEII.]

This, at all events, seems to have been the shape in vogue about the
time of the Christian era; but in the _bas reliefs_ on the tomb of
Eurysaces, who was a baker in a large way of business at Rome, they
seem to be globular. These _bas reliefs_ are most interesting, as they
show the whole history of baking. First there is the purchase of the
corn, and payment being made for it; then we see it ground, and sifted
to separate the bran. Next a man is buying some flour. Then we see the
dough being kneaded by horse-power, the bakers making it into loaves,
the baker with his peel baking the loaves, which are afterwards carried
in paniers to be weighed. Then there are the customers, and the bread
being sent out for delivery.

Pliny tells us that there were no bakers at Rome until the war with
King Perseus of Macedon, more than 580 years after the building of the
city. The ancient Romans used to make their own bread, it being an
occupation which belonged to the women, as we see is the case in many
nations even at the present day. In those times they had no cooks in
the number of their slaves, but used to hire them for the occasion from
the market. The Gauls were the first to employ the bolter that is made
of horse-hair; while the people of Spain made their sieves and meal
dressers of flax, and the Egyptians of papyrus and rushes.

Many freedmen were engaged as bakers, and under the Republic it was
one of the duties of the œdiles to see that the bread was properly
prepared and correct in weight. Grain was delivered into public
granaries by enrolled _Saccarii_, and it was distributed to the bakers
by a corporation called the _Catabolenses_. A bakers’ guild (_corpus_
or _collegium pistorum_), which long existed, was organised by Trajan,
and this body, through its connection with the _cura amonæ_, became of
much importance, and enjoyed various privileges. There were guilds of
_pistores_ and _clibanarii_ at Pompeii. A great increase in the number
of bakeries (_pistrinæ_, _officinæ pistoriæ_) afterwards took place at
Rome, owing, probably, to the action of Aurelian in introducing a daily
distribution of bread, instead of the old monthly distribution of grain
that had been usual since the time of Gracchi.



Agriculture has always taken a prominent part in Chinese polity, and
is incorporated in their religious observances; and a deep veneration
for it is inscribed on all the institutions in China. Among the several
grades of society the cultivators of mind rank first, then those of
land, third come the manufacturers, and lastly the merchants. Homage
to agriculture is done annually by the Emperor, who makes a show of
performing its operations.

This ceremony, which originated more than 2000 years ago, had been
discontinued by degenerate princes, but was revived by Yong-tching,
the third of the Mantchoo dynasty. This anniversary takes place on the
24th day of the second moon, coinciding with our month of February. The
monarch prepares himself for it by fasting three days; he then repairs
to the appointed spot with three princes, nine presidents of the high
tribunals, forty old and forty young husbandmen. Having performed a
preliminary sacrifice of the fruits of the earth to Shang-ti, the
supreme deity, he takes in his hand the plough, and makes a furrow of
some length, in which he is followed by the princes and other grandees.
A similar course is observed in sowing the field, and the operations
are completed by the husbandmen.

An annual festival in honour of Agriculture is also celebrated in the
capital of each province. The governor marches forth, crowned with
flowers, and accompanied by a numerous train, bearing flags adorned
with agricultural emblems and portraits of eminent husbandmen, while
the streets are decorated with lanterns and triumphal arches.

Although rice is the staple grain in use in China, wheat-growing is
one of the principal industries in the northern and middle parts of
that country. The winter wheat is planted at about the same time that
wheat is planted here. The soil, especially in the northern provinces,
is so well worn that it is unfitted for wheat-growing, and the Chinese
farmers, appreciating this fact, and the fact that all kinds of
fertilisers are excessively dear, make the least money do the most good
by mixing the seed with finely-prepared manure.

A man with a basket swung upon his shoulders follows the plough, and
plants the mixture in large handsful in the furrows, so that when the
crop grows up it looks like young celery. Immediately after the first
melting of snow, and when the ground has become sufficiently hardened
by frost, these wheat-fields are turned into pastures, under the theory
that, by a timely clipping of the tops of these plants, the crops will
grow up with additional strength in the spring.

Wheat-threshing is the principal interest in Chinese farming. Owing
to the scarcity of fuel, the wheat is usually pulled up by the root,
bundled in sheaves, and carted to the _mien-chong_, a smooth and
hardened space of ground near the home of the farmer. The top of the
sheaves is then clipped off by a hand machine. The wheat is then left
in the _mien-chong_ to dry, whilst the headless sheaves are piled in
a heap for fuel or thatching. When the wheat is thoroughly dry it is
beaten under a great stone roller pulled by horses, while the places
thus rolled are constantly tossed over with pitchforks. The stalks left
untouched by the roller are threshed with flails by women and boys. The
beaten stalks and straws are then taken out by an ingenious arrangement
of pitchforks, and the chaff is removed by a systematic tossing of the
grain into the air until the wind blows every particle of chaff or
dust out of the wheat. Even the chaff is carefully swept up and stowed
away for fuel or other useful purposes, such as stuffing mattresses
or pillows. After the wheat is allowed to dry for a few hours in the
burning sun, it is stowed away in airy bamboo bins.

The milling process is a very ancient one. Two large round bluestone
wheels, with grooves neatly cut in the faces on one side, and in the
centre of the lower wheel a solid wooden plug is used. The process
of making flour out of wheat by this machinery is called _mob-mien_.
Usually a horse or mule is employed; the poor, having no animals, grind
the grain themselves.

Three distinct qualities of flour are thus produced. The _shon-mien_,
or A grade, is the first siftings; the _nee-mien_, or second grade, is
the grindings of the rough leavings from the first siftings, which is
of a darker and redder colour than the first grade; and _mod_ is the
finely-ground last siftings of all grades. When bread is made from
this grade it resembles rough gingerbread. This is usually the food of
the poorest families. The bread of the Chinese is usually fermented,
and then steamed. Only a very small quantity is baked in ovens. But the
staple articles of food in Northern China are wheat, millet, and sweet
potatoes. Wheat and rice are the food of the rich, while the middle
classes of the Empire eat millet and rice. In the southern provinces
the entire bread-stuff is rice.


At King-Kiang wheat is served as rice. It is first threshed with flails
made of bamboo, and then pounded by a rough stone hammer, working in a
mortar which rests on a pivot, and is operated like a treadle by the
human foot. This separates the husks, and it is then winnowed, the
grain being afterwards ground in the usual way.

Rice is undoubtedly the staple food of those parts of China where it
will grow, in spite of its being a precarious crop, the failure of
which means famine. A drought in its early stages withers it, and an
inundation, when nearly ripe, is equally destructive; whilst the birds
and locusts, which are fearfully numerous in China, infest it more than
any other grain. Rice requires not only intense heat, but moisture
so abundant that the field in which it grows must be repeatedly laid
under water. These requisites exist only in the districts south of
the Yang-tse Kiang (the Yellow River) and its several tributaries.
Here a vast extent of land is perfectly fitted for this valuable crop.
Confined by powerful dykes, these rivers do not generally, like the
Nile, overflow and cover the country; but by means of canals their
waters are so widely distributed that almost every farmer, when he
pleases, can inundate his field. This supplies not only moisture, but
a fertilising mud or slime, washed down from the distant mountains.
The cultivator thus dispenses with manure, of which he labours under
a great scarcity, and considers it enough if the grain be steeped in
liquid manure.

The Chinese always transplant their rice. A small space is enclosed,
and very thickly sown, after which a thin sheet of water is led or
pumped over it; in the course of a few days the shoots appear, and when
they have attained the height of six or seven inches the tops are cut
off, and the roots transplanted to a field prepared for the purpose,
when they are set in rows about six inches from each other. The whole
surface is again supplied with moisture, which continues to cover the
plants till they approach maturity, when the ground is allowed to
become dry.

The first harvest is reaped in the end of May or beginning of June,
the grain being cut with a small sickle, and carried off the field in
frames suspended from bamboo poles placed across a man’s shoulders.
Barrow (p. 565) thus describes one: ‘The machine usually employed for
clearing rice from the husk, in the large way, is exactly the same as
that now used in Egypt for the same purpose, only that the latter is
put in motion by oxen and the former commonly by water. This machine
consists of a long horizontal axis of wood, with cogs, or projecting
pieces of wood or iron, fixed upon it at certain intervals, and it is
turned by a water-wheel. At right angles to this axis are fixed as many
horizontal levers as there are circular rows of cogs; these levers act
on pivots that are fastened into a low brick wall, but parallel to the
axis and at the distance of about two feet from it. At the further
extremity of each lever, and perpendicular to it, is fixed a hollow
pestle, directly over a large mortar of stone or iron sunk into the
ground; the other extremity extending beyond the wall, being pressed
upon by the cogs of the axis in its rotation, elevates the pestle,
which by its own gravity falls into the mortar. An axis of this kind
sometimes gives motion to 15 or 20 levers.’

Meantime the stubble is burnt on the land, over which the ashes are
spread as its only manure; a second crop is immediately sown, and
reaped about the end of October, when the straw is left to putrify
on the ground, which is allowed to rest till the commencement of the
ensuing spring.

As the cereal food of the Chinese is principally boiled rice, it
stands to reason that bakers are not numerous, bread only appearing at
the tables of high-class mandarins. It is chiefly replaced by fancy
biscuits and numberless kinds of pastry, made not only with wheaten
flour, but also that of rice—these serve as vehicles for the various
jams and fruit _compotes_ for which the Chinese are famous, and which
they know so well how to make; in fact, the bakers are more strictly
confectioners, and they can be seen any day busy in their shops baking
cakes of rice flour and ground almonds of every imaginable shape and
varied in quality by spices. Not only so, but these cakes are sold,
already baked, in the peripatetic cookeries which go about the streets.
Out of wheaten flour they make a kind of vermicelli, which is much
esteemed by the Chinese.

Failure of the rice crops, and consequent famine in Japan, have been
the means of introducing wheaten flour into this country more rapidly
than anything else could have done. Most remarkable is the universal
favour that bread and similar floury concoctions are beginning to
enjoy in the treaty ports. This article of food has become completely
Japanized, and sells in forms unknown to Europeans. _Tsuke-pau_,
sold by peripatetic vendors, who push their wares along in a tiny
roofed hand-cart, is much liked by the poorer classes. It consists of
slices—thick, generous slices—of bread dipped in soy and brown sugar,
and then fried or toasted. Each slice has a skewer passed through it,
which the buyer returns after demolishing the bread.

Flour is now used in many other ways besides the manufacture of simple
bread. There is _Kash-pau_, cake bread, which is sold everywhere. As
the name implies, it is a sort of sweet breadstuff made into cakes of
various sizes and artistic figures, according to the skill and fancy
of the baker. To an European palate this _Kash-pau_ is rather dry and
tasteless, but it is very cheap, and for five _sen_ (three-halfpence)
a huge paper bagful can be bought. _Kasuteira_, or sponge cake, is not
so much sought after as it used to be. Yet some bakeries, such as the
_Fugetsu-do_ and _Tsuboya_, excel in producing the lightest and most
delicious sponge cake.

Millet, in China, is only used as food by the very poor.

Wheat is not the primary article of food among the natives of India,
and hitherto only enough has been produced for home consumption; but of
late years much has been grown for export, and being of a particularly
hard nature is useful for mixing with the softer kinds. Still, it is
used by itself, and is made into unleavened cakes called _Chupatees_.
These are made by mixing flour and water together, with a little salt,
into a paste or dough, kneading it well; sometimes _ghee_ (clarified
butter) is added. They may also be made with milk instead of water.
They are flattened into thin cakes with the hand, smeared with a small
quantity of _ghee_, and baked on an iron pan, or sheet of iron, over
the fire.

Historic, too, is the _Chupatee_, for by its means the message was
sent round throughout the length and breadth of British India for the
rising against the English rule—known as the Indian Mutiny. Its true
meaning was not at first understood, as we may read in the Indian
correspondence of the _Times_, dated Bombay, March 3, 1857: ‘From
Cawnpore to Allahabad, and onwards towards the great cities of the
North-West, the _chokedars_, or policemen, have been of late spreading
from village to village—at whose command, or for what object, they
themselves, it is said, are ignorant—little plain cakes of wheaten
flour. The number of cakes, and the mode of their transmission, is
uniform. _Chokedar_ of village A enters village B, and, addressing
its _chokedar_, commits to his charge two cakes, with directions to
have other two similar to them prepared; and, leaving the old in his
own village, to hie with the new to village C, and so on. English
authorities of the districts through which these edibles passed looked
at, handled, and probably tasted them; and finding them, upon the
evidence of all their senses, harmless, reported accordingly to the
Government. And it appears, I think, with tolerable clearness, that the
mysterious mission is not of political but of superstitious origin;
and is directed simply to the warding off of diseases, such as the
choleraic visitation of twelve months ago, in which point of view it
is noteworthy and characteristic, and not unworthy to be remembered
together with last year’s grim and picturesque legend of the horseman,
who rode down to the river at dead of night and was ferried across,
announcing that the pestilence was in his train.’

_Apropos_ of Indian flour, Col. Meadows Taylor, in _The Story of My
Life_, tells a story anent the adulteration of flour in India.

‘During that day my tent was beset by hundreds of pilgrims and
travellers, crying loudly for justice against the flour-sellers,
who not only gave short weight in flour, but adulterated it so
distressingly with sand that the cakes made with it were uneatable,
and had to be thrown away. That evening I told some reliable men of my
escort to go quietly into the bazaars and each buy flour at a separate
shop, being careful to note whose shop it was.

‘The flour was brought to me. I tested every sample, and found it
full of sand as I passed it under my teeth. I then desired that all
the persons named in my list should be sent to me with their baskets
of flour, their weights and scales. Shortly afterwards they arrived,
evidently suspecting nothing, and were placed in a row seated on the
grass before my tent.

‘“Now,” said I gravely, “each of you is to weigh out a ser (two pounds)
of your flour,” which was done. “Is it for the pilgrims?” asked one.

‘“No,” said I quietly, though I had much difficulty to keep my
countenance. “You must eat it yourselves.”

‘They saw that I was in earnest, and offered to pay any fine that I

‘“Not so,” I returned, “you have made many eat your flour; why should
you object to eat it yourselves?”

‘They were horribly frightened, and, amid the jeers and screams of
laughter of the bystanders, some of them actually began to eat,
spluttering out the half-moistened flour, which could be heard
crunching between their teeth. At last some of them flung themselves on
their faces, abjectly beseeching pardon.

‘“Swear!” I cried, “swear by the Holy Mother in yonder temple that you
will not fill the mouths of her worshippers with dirt! You have brought
this on yourselves, and there is not a man in all the country who will
not laugh at the _bunnais_ (flour-sellers) who could not eat their own
flour because it broke their teeth.”

‘So this episode terminated, and I heard no more complaints of bad

The Indian flour mill is very primitive, consisting of two great
mill-stones, of which the lower is fast, and the upper is usually
turned by two women, who feed the wheat by handfuls into a hole which
passes through the stone. The meal so obtained is simply mixed with
palm yeast, and baked in very hot ovens, which have been heated for
several days. The small European householder finds it more convenient
to patronise the Mohammedan bakers, of whom, however, the bread has to
be ordered in advance. Sometimes two or three English families combine,
and hire a baker, paying him a monthly salary, and providing him with
the raw material.

The yeast mentioned above is made from the sap of the date palm. In
April, before the flowers appear, a Hindoo climbs the naked trunk—for
the leaves, as in all palm trees, are borne on the top. The man’s feet
are bound together by a rope, and about his hips are fastened two pots
for the reception of the sap. As he climbs, he calls out, ‘_Darpor,
darpor ata hain_,’ which, being interpreted, means, ‘The palm-tapper
is coming.’ This is for the benefit of the Mohammedan women who might
be sitting unveiled in the courtyards of the houses exposed to the
view of the climber after he has risen above the tops of the walls. A
tapper who once fails to give this warning cry is thenceforth forbidden
to ply his trade. When the tapper has reached the crown of the tree he
cuts two gashes in opposite sides of the trunk with an axe, which he
has carried up in his mouth. Then he fastens the pots under the gashes
and descends. The full pots are taken away and empty ones put in their
place twice daily. The sap has a sweet taste, and contains some alcohol
even when fresh. After standing in the sun in great earthen pots for a
few days it begins to ferment, after which it deposits a thick white
substance. This, taken at the proper time, is used as yeast.

But rice is, in India, the staff of life, being used to a greater
extent than any grain in Europe. It is, in fact, the food of the
highest and the lowest, the principal harvest of every climate. Its
production, generally speaking, is only limited by the means of
irrigation, which is essential to its growth. The ground is prepared
in March and April; the seed is sown in May and reaped in August. If
circumstances are favourable there are other harvests, one between July
and November, another between January and April. These also sometimes
consist of rice, but more commonly of other grain or pulse. In some
parts millet is used as food. Many are the ways of cooking rice—there
are powder of cucumber seeds and rice, lime juice and rice, orange
juice and rice, jack fruit and rice, rice and milk, and sweet cakes
made of rice flour, with or without green ginger.

The Bombay baker is a man of a different stamp altogether to the Bengal
baker. He is invariably a Goanese and a native Christian, and adopts
his profession not from choice but by heredity. For generations past
his fathers have been bakers, and have, in accordance with the rules
of the Society of Bakers, to which they must have belonged, studied
some portion at least of the art of manufacturing bread. The Bombay
baker is, moreover, a man of substance. To begin with, he grows his own
wheat, and has it conveyed to his factories, where as many as 200 hands
are employed in converting it into raw material for cooking. He retains
a staff of _chefs_, who also hail from Goa, and who attend exclusively
to the baking. Greater comparative intelligence and a love for his
trade enable him to turn out a far superior article to that of his
ignorant contemporary in Upper India; but even in Bombay the same fault
has to be found with the manufacturer: either the bread is too fine, or
it is too ‘brown’—that is, it contains too much bran.



Olaus Magnus, Archbishop of Upsala, who lived in the first half of
the 16th century, has left behind him, in his _Historia de Gentibus
Septentrionalibus_, a long and lucid account of Scandinavian life
and manners. Respecting harvest, he tells us that in the Northern
countries, in many fields of the Visigoths, on that part that lies
southward, barley is ripe and mown in 36 days from the date of
sowing—that is, from the end of June to the middle of August, and
sometimes sooner; and other corn sown in the beginning of May is reaped
in the middle of August—‘by the mutual help of the countrymen, not with
any great pains, but with alacrity and willing minds, lest cold wind
should blow upon it and blast the corn. And they desire no other reward
for their daily labour than a merry feast at night, where the young
people of both sexes, by reason of their faithful labours in the field,
by the judgment, consent, and permission of their provident parents,
are made choice of for to be married.’

He tells us that the farther North you go the less wheat is grown, but
there is more towards the South, the Swedes having plenty of wheat
but more rye. ‘But the Goths, both East and West, who feed on barley
and oats, have an infinite abundance given them by the mercy of God.
Yet there is use made of all these sorts of corn in both places. But
the Swedes provide most of rye, where their women know so well how to
winnow rye, that for colour, taste, and for health it surpasses the
goodness of wheat.’


In order to preserve their corn they carefully dried it. ‘On the
hottest days, when the sun shines strong, they spread cloths like
ships’ sails, or else the sails themselves, upon the ground, or on the
tops of mountains where there is no grass, and they lay the corn out to
dry for six, or more, or fewer days, as the sun shines hot; then when
it is cleaned they lay it up in vessels of oak, or else they grind it,
and so lay it up safe, and when it is so dried it will last good for
years. But if it be not ground meal, but corn, it is convenient once a
year to set it in the sun to be again dried, and thus new-dried corn
may be mingled with it prudently. But the meal thrust into the oaken
vessels, or tuns, by strong ramming it in with wooden mallets, and laid
up in a dry place, will last many years, and never be worm-eaten.’


He also discourses on the variety of mills for grinding corn in
use. How there was the windmill, that turned by running water, by
horse-power, by hands and feet—backwards and forwards, like the
pre-historic mealing stones, and also the quern; but he mostly extols
the windmills of Holland.

The grain being ground, it was ready for making into bread, and he
minutely describes the operation—how it was kneaded into a round shape,
then rolled very thin, and finally baked on a sheet of iron, like a
warrior’s shield, supported by a tripod, and heated by a slow fire—in
fact, the griddle, or girdle, cakes of North Britain. But there was
other bread which was baked in an oven; and here the artist seems
to have drawn somewhat upon his imagination for his cockroaches and
blackbeetles. It seems that bread was not sold by weight, and that they
were in the habit, about Christmas time, of making what we should call
dough babies, about the size of a five-year-old child, of which they
made presents, and similar, but smaller, babies of wheat-flour, which
they sold.

They also made a gingerbread of flour, honey, and spices, which
travellers in the winter made use of; another bread of flour, milk,
butter, eggs, and ginger. Then, also, they baked biscuits for shipboard
and for victualling forts, but he pathetically points out that these
biscuits, if kept for a length of time, especially in a damp place,
developed dangerous energy in the shape of weevils, which were harmless
(_non tamen noxii_). He says of the griddle cakes that they would keep
good for twenty or more years, by which time they would be reasonably

Scarcely two centuries have passed since rye flour, by itself, or mixed
with wheat, furnished nearly all the bread consumed by the labouring
classes of England. With the exception of wheat, rye contains a greater
proportion of gluten than any other cereal, to which fact it owes its
capability of being converted into a spongy bread; and if anyone wishes
to try it for themselves, here is a recipe for making _Grislex Surbröd_
or _Husholdinngsbröd_ (bread for the household), which is the ordinary
bread for the eastern parts of Norway.

‘Contrary to our expectations we found white bread everywhere, but the
common bread is a heavy bread, the chief ingredient of which is rye.
It is always sour—the goodwife intends it to be so. They also have
“flat bread” (_flad bröd_) made of potatoes and rye. It was this kind
of bread that the two women whom we happened in upon were making. They
were in a little underground room, unlighted except from the door.

‘The women making the bread were seated on either side of a long, low
table, upon which were huge mounds of dough. The one nearest the door
cut off a piece of this, and moulded it, and rolled it out to a certain
degree of thinness; then the other one took it, and, with the greatest
care, rolled it still more. At her right hand was the fireplace, and
upon the coal was a red piece of iron, forming a huge griddle more than
half a yard across. The bread matched this very nearly in size when
it was ready to be baked, and it was spread out and turned upon the
griddle with great dexterity, and as soon as it was baked it was added
to a great heap on the floor.

‘The woman said she should continue to bake bread for thirty days. She
had a large family of men who consumed a great deal, and they had to
bake very often in consequence. In many places they do not bake bread
oftener than twice a year, then it is a circumstance like haying or
harvesting. We heard an Englishman say of this bread of the country:
“One might eat an acre of it and then not be satisfied.”’

In Denmark, too, rye bread is the rule among the peasantry and small
farmers—wheaten bread being to them a luxury, and used as cake is
with us. In Russia, although its chief export is wheat from the Black
Sea, and oats and rye from the Baltic, the peasant eats but rye bread
dipped in hemp oil, and even then, as but a few years since, famine
visits this granary, and the hapless peasants being reduced to mix
orach and bark with their wretched bread, have at times been unable to
procure even this, and have died in thousands of starvation. Although
Austria-Hungary produces wheat which makes the finest bread-flour in
the world, yet throughout the Austrian Empire the peasantry eat rye
bread, whilst at Vienna the wheaten bread, especially the _Kaiser
semmel_, which is what we should term a dinner roll or manchet, is
simply perfection.

The excellence of the Viennese bread is said to be owing to the bakers,
the ovens, and the yeast. The men work according to the traditions of
the past, which have been handed down to them. The ovens are heated
by wood fires lit inside them during four hours; the ashes are then
raked out, and the oven is carefully wiped with wisps of damp straw.
On the vapour thus generated, as well as that produced by the baking
of the dough, lies the whole art of the browning and the success of
the _semmel_. An ounce of yeast (three decagrammes) and as much salt
is taken for every gallon of milk used for the dough. The yeast is
a Viennese speciality, known as _St. Marxner Pressheffe_, and its
composition is a secret. It keeps two days in summer and a little
longer in winter.

Viennese bread is noted for the fantastic shapes into which it is
made, but concerning the crescent shape the following legend is told:
‘Many years ago, when there was war between the Austrians and the
Turks, the city of Vienna was besieged, and so closely invested that
famine seemed inevitable unless the inhabitants yielded and surrendered
to the hated Turks. One day a baker in his cellar noticed a peculiar
noise, and, looking about, discovered that a boy’s drum on the ground
in a corner had some marbles on the parchment, which every little while
danced about and caused the odd sound. Surprised, he listened intently,
and found that the noise was repeated at regular intervals. He put
his ear to the ground and could distinguish a thumping sound, which,
on reflection, he concluded must be produced by the enemy undermining
the city. He went to the authorities with his story, but at first it
was discredited. At last the general in command made an investigation,
and found the baker’s suspicions correct. A counter-mine was made and
exploded, and the Turks repulsed.

On the restoration of peace, the Emperor of Austria sent for the baker,
and expressing his gratitude to him for having saved the city, asked
what reward he could claim. The modest baker refused riches or rank,
but only asked the privilege of making his bread hereafter in the form
of the crescent, which had so long been their terror, so that it might
be a reminder to those who ate it that the God of the Christian is
greater than the God of the Infidel. So the Imperial order was issued
granting the baker and his descendants the sole right to make their
bread in the shape of the Turkish crescent.’

As in Austria, so in Germany. Good wheaten bread can be got in towns
and cities, though not so fine as in Austria, by reason of the
flour, and the peasantry are content to have rye and barley bread.
_Pumpernickel_, to wit, is one of the oldest varieties of bread, and
the first to come into general use. It is made of barley, and must be
baked in an oven especially made for the purpose. This kind of bread
is considered very nutritious, and is of a sweet taste. In many parts
of Germany there are large bakeries where _pumpernickel_ is baked as a
speciality, whence it is sent into the smaller towns, and even exported
to other countries in loaves of 4 lbs., 8 lbs., and 12 lbs. weight. At
Soest, Unna, and Brostadt large quantities are made for exportation,
for the expatriated German carries his love of Fatherland with him, and
at Berlin there is also a bakery for making _pumpernickel_.

The Gauls reaped their wheat, and then threshed it out by means of oxen
and horses; but they also cut off the ears, and then reaped the straw.
To gather in the panic and millet, they held the stalks by means of a
kind of comb, and then cut off the heads with shears. To prevent its
being stolen, the corn was hidden in underground storehouses, and often
in natural caves, which were afterwards walled up. They used mealing
stones, as before described, in order to crush and roughly grind their
grain, which was made into an unleavened cake, dry and thin, which was
not cut, but was broken when served. They also had a kind of bread
called ‘plate bread,’ which they ate soaked with sauce or meat gravy.
The Gauls made beer from barley, and used it instead of water to mix
their dough with. Thus, unconsciously, they discovered the secret of
leavened bread; and, by-and-by, noticing that the beer if let alone
frothed, and that when used for bread-making in this state the bread
was lighter, they left off using the beer, and only employed the yeast.

Barley they called _gru_, which, in Latin, became _grudum_. _Gruellum_
was husked barley, which the Gauls ate in soup and with boiled meat.
This is the origin of the French word _gruau_ (groats), which is
equally applied to husked oats. Rye was used in the northern part of
Gaul; and, from the time of Strabo, millet was in use among the Gauls
as well as panic, but especially in Aquitaine. They also certainly
knew of buck-wheat, which had been cultivated from time immemorial in
Africa, for it has been found in several Celtic remains in the Camp de

The Romans brought millstones with them, and introduced the
water-wheel, which saved them the exertion of personally grinding their
corn, and with the arrival of the Franks came Christianity, and they
were taught the prayer, ‘Our Father, which art in Heaven ... give us
this day our daily bread.’

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in France, noblemen, the
middle-class, and shopkeepers did not eat much white bread, and their
best was equal to the ‘household bread’ of to-day, whilst whitey-brown,
brown, and bran breads were to be found on their tables. The common
folk fed on bread made of barley, rye, maslin, a mixture of wheat and
rye, brown bread, black bread, and enormous pasties, of which the thick
crust was composed of rye, bran, and flour mixed together.

Maize was introduced into France from America in 1560. Champier speaks
of it as a plant recently imported, and says: ‘Some poor people, in
default of corn, have made bread of it, especially in the Beaujolais,
but it is less fitted for men than for animals, which fatten quickly
upon it, and especially for pigeons who love it much.’

Vermicelli, macaroni, lazagnes (riband vermicelli) and other Italian
pastas were brought into France during the wars of Charles VIII., and
had no other rivals than rice.

At this time, in making bread, the yeast of beer was partially
abandoned, and other ferments were made use of. The Flemings boiled
wheat, and, after having skimmed off the froth, used it as a leaven,
which gave them a bread much lighter than hitherto, or, according to
Champier and Liébaut, who wrote in 1589, they employed vinegar, wine,
and rennet; and from their writings we find that the farmers were their
own millers and bakers.

‘It would be useless for the labourer to take so much pains with his
land, if he only derived a profit from a sale of the grain which he
has harvested, if he could not himself make cakes, flammèches (_flaky
pastry_), flans (_cakes made with flour, eggs, milk and butter_),
fritters, and a thousand other dainties, which he can make with a
flour from his own corn; and it would be very unbecoming in him were
he to borrow them from his neighbours, or buy them of the bakers or

[Illustration: A MEDIÆVAL BAKERY.

(_From an engraving by Jost Amman._)]

‘The farmer’s duty is to choose his corn, have it ground, and to keep
the flour in the granary, whence he will soon take it in order to make
bread. The handling of the flour and kneading the dough is entirely the
care of the wife, who ought to give all her best energies to it, for of
all food bread is the best; one gets tired of the most delicate meats,
but never of bread.’

From this time till the present there is no great story to tell of
bread in France. It has progressed in quality, as in every other
country, until French bread is famous throughout the civilised world.
But this is mainly in the towns; black bread is still in use in some of
the rural parts of France, and one can imagine the relish with which
the peasant tastes once more the bread of his youth after having been
deprived of it for some time.

In Paris, at one time, the monks controlled the bakery business; they
had the monopoly of the public ovens, where housewives brought the
dough to be baked, just as nowadays they take a shoulder of mutton
and potatoes. But no baking was allowed on Sundays and fête days.
France thus observed Sunday as a whole holiday, and the oven-tax went
towards the support and burial of the poor. Up to 1789 the bakers
were compelled to sell nearly all their bread at stalls in the public
markets, and 900 master bakers monopolised the privilege; for it
was only in 1863 that the trade became free and thrown open to all.
Previous to that, in order to qualify for a master baker, it was
necessary to graduate five years as an apprentice, and four more as a
journeyman; also the sale of fancy bread was obliged to be carried on
in an underhand way, and it was delivered in secret, being subject to a
tax, and the baker not being able to make it of exact weight, without
prejudice, on account of its great extent of crust.

American flour is celebrated all over the world, and is more
extensively used in England, especially the finest sorts for pastry;
but, of course, the demand for it in the immense continent itself
is something enormous. Take one instance, Philadelphia, which is
celebrated for its good bread. Over one million barrels are sold in
that city annually for home consumption, and two-thirds of this is
made into bread. The 1300 bakers in Philadelphia use 600,000 barrels,
a barrel of good flour making from 270 to 280 five cent. loaves, and
the best flour is the cheapest to use. As a rule, the bakers use choice
brands, and mix four grades to get the proper alloy, so to speak—two
‘Minnesota springs’ and two ‘Indiana winters.’ Some bakers, especially
those who make the best breads, use only one grade of spring wheat and
two of winter. In the olden time yeast was made of malt, potatoes, and
hops, and it is still largely used, but the bakers of fancy breads use
a patent yellow compressed yeast. There are seven large steam bread
bakeries in Philadelphia, giving employment to three or four hundred
hands. One large establishment manufactures the different varieties
of Vienna bread exclusively. It is made of the best flour, and milk
instead of water is used to mix the flour. The baking is done in
air-tight ovens, and the steam generated in baking settles back on the
bread instead of escaping. This makes the outer crust thin and tender,
and gives the bread a particularly rich taste and pleasant aroma.

With the addition of maize and buckwheat, the Americans use the same
cereals for making bread as we do; but, of course, as is the case with
every nation, there are specialities which do not travel abroad. Graham
bread is our wholemeal bread, and should be made with the unbolted
meal of wheat, and not only that, but the wheat of which it is made
should be good plump grain, otherwise there would be a disproportionate
quantity of bran.

Then there is Boston brown bread, for which the following is the
formula: One quart Indian corn meal, one quart Graham, one quart rye
flour, one quart white flour, one quart boiling water, one pint yeast,
one small cup of molasses, two teaspoonfuls of salt, half-cup of burnt
sugar colouring. For rye and Indian corn bread it is only necessary to
change the above recipe by leaving out the Graham and white flour and
doubling the proportions of Indian corn meal and rye in their place.

Of rolls there are very many varieties besides the ordinary French
rolls. Many hotels have their speciality in this class of bread, and,
consequently, we have Parker, Tremont, Revere, Brunswick, Clarendon,
St. James, Windsor, &c., rolls, besides which there are twist and
sandwich rolls.



When the culture of grain in Britain really commenced we cannot
possibly tell, but we know that the Phœnicians traded with this
island in very early times for tin. All that we really know is from
the fragments of writing left by Pytheas, who may, in one sense, be
said to have been the discoverer of Britain. About 340 B.C. the Greek
colony which the Greeks had planted at Massilia (Marseilles) wished to
extend their trade, and, whether at their expense or his own, Pytheas,
a learned man, a geographer and astronomer, set sail for parts unknown
in the Western Ocean.

Diodorus Siculus, who lived just before the Christian era, must have
taken his account of the Britons from Pytheas. In Book V., c. 2, he
says: ‘They dwell in mean cottages, covered for the most part with
reeds and sticks. In reaping their corn, they cut the ears from off the
stalk, and house them in repositories under ground; thence they take
and pluck out the grains of as many of the oldest of them as may serve
them for the day, and, after they have bruised the corn, make it into

It is said, also, that about this time the Britons exported corn
to Gaul and also up the Rhine. On Cæsar’s arrival he found them
an agricultural people, with abundance of wheat and barley; and
during the time of the Roman occupation they made great advances in
agriculture. After their departure a hide of land was 180 acres if
it was cultivated on the Roman three-field system, or 160 if on the
English plan of two-field course. In the former, one portion was sown
with winter wheat, a second with spring wheat, whilst the third lay
fallow. The English way was to divide the hide, and in each half to
sow alternately spring and winter wheat, and the chief crops raised
were rye, oats, barley, wheat, beans and peas. In social rank, the
yeoman, or geneat (tenant farmer), ranked next after the thegn and the
priest, whilst even the baker was an important member of a thegn’s
household—the bread being made in round flat cakes from wholemeal (for
there is no mention of bolting it), ground in a hand-mill or quern.
Such were doubtless the storied cakes which Alfred watched for the
neatherd’s wife.

The peasants’ bread was principally made of rye, oats, and beans, the
wheat being used by the ‘gentry’ only—ordinary bread being made of
barley; and, connected with the latter, are derived our names of Lord
and Lady, the first from _Llaford_, originator of bread, or bread-ward,
the latter from _Llæfdige_, bread-maid, or bread-maker. So, too, we
owe our wedding cake to the great loaf made by the bride to show her
inauguration into housewifery, which was partaken of by the wedding

The peasant baked his bread on iron plates or in rude ovens, and ground
his coarse meal in hand-mills; but in later times water was made the
principal motive power for grinding corn, and about 5000 mills are
mentioned in Domesday Book; but they are not particularised as to what
power they were worked by.

As a trade, the bakers of London rank from a very early date. They
formed a brotherhood, or guild, in the reign of Henry II., about 1155.
Stow says of them: ‘The Company of White Bakers are of great antiquity,
as appeareth by their Records, and divers other things of antiquity,
extant in their Common Hall. They were a Company of this City in the
first year of Edward II., and had a new Charter granted unto them in
the first year of Henry VII., the which Charter was confirmed unto
them by Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and King
James I. Their Arms were anciently borne; the crest and supporters
were granted to them by Robert Cook, _Clarencieux_, the Letters Patent
bearing date November 8 (32 Eliz.), 1590. The Cloud on the Chief thro’
which the Hand holding the Scales Cometh, hath a Glory, omitted in the
edition printed 1633; and on each side of the Hand are two Anchors,
here also omitted; as by the Visitation Book, _Anno_ 1634, appears.’

Stow describes the Company of the Brown Bakers as ‘A Society of long
standing and continuance, prevailed to have their Incorporating granted
the ninth day of June, in the 19th year of the Reign of our Sovereign
Lord King James I.’

The Arms of both White and Brown Bakers are copied from Harl. MSS.
1464, 57e. (73), A.D. 1634—the Arms of these and other Companies
being copied from the Herald’s Visitation of that year, by Rd. Price,


Heraldically described, the Arms of the White Bakers are—Gules, three
Garbs Or, a chief barry wavy of four, argent and azure, an arm issuing
from clouds radiated of the second, the hand holding a pair of scales
depending between the upper Garbs, also of the second. _Crest_: Two
Arms embowed issuing out of clouds, proper, holding in the hands a
chaplet of wheat, or. _Supporters_: Two Stags, proper, attired, or,
each gorged with a chaplet of wheat, of the last.


The Arms of the Brown Bakers closely resemble those of their white
brethren, but are not so dignified, as lacking supporters and motto:
Vert, a chevron quarterly, or and gules, charged with a pair of
balances, azure, holden by a hand out of a cloud, proper, between three
garbs of beans, rye and wheat, or. On a chief barry of five, wavy,
argent and azure, an Anchor couchant, or. _Crest_: An Arm quarterly of
the second, the hand holding a bean sheaf, proper.

W. Carew Hazlitt, in his _Livery Companies of the City of London_
(Lond. 1892) says: ‘In the Elizabeth, as in the Henry VIII. Charter,
the White Bakers had taken the initiative in drawing the makers of
brown bread, whose business was far more limited and unimportant, into
union with them on unequal terms, and the latter body dissented and
renounced; whereupon the Queen was advised by the Lords of the Council
to recall her patent. This proceeding seems, for a time, to have caused
the matter to drop; but in 19 James I., June 6, 1622, the Brown Bakers
succeeded in securing separate incorporation, with a common seal, a
Master, three Wardens, and sixteen Assistants, as well as all other
usual rights and powers. We hear nothing further of the matter till
1629, when the two bodies were still separate, the White Bakers being
assessed for a levy by the City in that year at £25 16_s._, the other
at £4. 6_s._, a proof of the relative weight and resources of the
disputants, which is confirmed by the proportions contributed by each
to the Ulster scheme a few years prior, namely, £480 and £90. In 1654
the Brown Bakers had apparently relinquished their independent quarters
at Founders’ Hall, Lothbury, as if an union had been arranged; and in
2 James II. the charter was received with the usual restrictions in
regard to the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and conformity to the
Church of England, but otherwise in such a form as to lead to the
belief that it comprehended both sections of the trade.’

The Bakers’ Company ranks very high after the twelve great City
Companies, on account of its great antiquity. Its Hall, in Stow’s time,
was in ‘Hart Lane, or Harp Lane, which likewise runneth (_from Tower
Street_) into Thames Street. In this Hart Lane is the Bakers’ Hall,
some time the dwelling-house of John Chichley, Chamberlain of London.’
And in Harp Lane it still is. According to Whitaker’s Almanack for 1904
its livery numbers 152 and its total income is only £1900.

Much early legislation was passed regarding bakers and their calling,
but, in spite of it all, some bakers did not amend their ways, and an
amusing grievance was made by Fabyan as to their punishment. In his
_Chronicles_, under date of 1268, and speaking of the harshness of Sir
Hugh Bigod, justice, he says: ‘In processe of tyme after, the sayde
syr Hughe, wt. other, came to Guylde hall, and kepte his courte and
plees there withoute all ordre of lawe, and contrarye to the lybertyes
of the cytie, and there punysshed the bakers for lacke of syze, by the
tumberell, where before tymes they were punysshed by the pyllery, and
orderynge many thynges at his wyll, more than by any good ordre of
lawe.’ And Holinshed repeats the story.

Nor were their misdeeds confined to their trade, as we may learn from
the Archives of the City of London. In fact, their evil deeds were so
notorious that the King himself had to take cognizance of them.

That the bakers wanted looking after is well evidenced by the following
extracts from the City archives:

26 Edward I., A.D. 1298. ‘Be it remembered that on Wednesday next
after the Feast of St. Lawrence (August 10), in the 26th year of the
reign of King Edward, Juliana, la Pestour of Neutone (_the baker of
Newington_), brought a cart laden with six shillings’ worth of bread
into West Chepe; of which bread, that which was light bread was wanting
in weight, according to the assise of the halfpenny loaf, to the amount
of 25 shillings in weight. [The shilling of silver being three-fifths
of an ounce in weight, this deficiency would be 15 ounces.] And of the
said six shillings’ worth, three shillings’ worth was brown bread;
which brown bread was of the right assise. It was, therefore, adjudged
that the same should be delivered to the aforesaid Juliana, by Henry
le Galeys, Mayor of London, Thomas Romeyn, and other Aldermen. And the
other three shillings’ worth, by award of the said Mayor and Aldermen,
was ordered to be given to the prisoners in Newgate.’

[Illustration: AN EARLY BAKERY.]

3. Edward II., A.D. 1310. ‘On the Monday next before the Feast of St
Hilary (13th January), in the third year of the reign of Edward, the
son of King Edward, the bread of Sarra Foting, Christina Terrice,
Godiyeva Foting, Matilda de Bolingtone, Christina Pricket, Isabella
Sperling, Alice Pegges, Joanna de Cauntebrigge, and Isabella Pouvestre,
bakeresses of Stratford [The bread of London, in these times, was
extensively made in the villages of Bromley (_Bremble_), Middlesex, and
Stratford-le-Bow.] Stow says, ‘And because I have here before spoken of
the bread carts coming from Stratford at the Bow, ye shall understand
that of old time the bakers of bread at Stratford were allowed to bring
daily (except the Sabbath and principal feasts) divers long carts laden
with bread, the same being two ounces in the penny wheat loaf heavier
than the penny wheat loaf baked in the City, the same to be sold in
Cheape, three or four carts standing there, between Gatheron’s Lane
and Fauster’s Lane end, one cart on Cornhill, by the Conduit, and
one other in Grasse Street. And I have read that in the fourth year
of Edward II., Richard Reffeham being Mayor, a baker named John, of
Stratforde, for making bread less than the assise, was, with a fool’s
hood on his head and loaves of bread about his neck, drawn on a hurdle
through the streets of the City. Moreover, in the 44th of Edward III.,
John Chichester being Mayor of London, I read in the _Visions of Piers
Plowman_, a book so called, as followeth:

  At Londone I leve,
  Liketh wel my waires;
  And louren whan thei lakken hem.
  It is noght long y passed,
  There was a careful commune,
  Whan no cart came to towne
  With breed fro Stratforde:
  Tho gennen beggaris wepe,
  And werkmen were agast a lite;
  This wole be thought longe.
  In the date of oure Drighte,
  In a drye Aprill.
  A thousand and thre hundred
  Twies twenty and ten,
  My waires were gesene
  Whan Chichestre was Maire.’]

was taken by Roger le Paumer, Sheriff of London, and weighed before the
Mayor and Aldermen; and it was found that the halfpenny loaf weighed
less than it ought by eight shillings. But, seeing that the bread was
cold, and ought not to have been weighed in such state, by the custom
of the City, it was agreed that it should not be forfeited this time.
But, in order that such an offence as this might not pass unpunished,
it was awarded as to bread so taken that three halfpenny loaves should
always be sold for a penny, but that the bakeresses aforesaid should
this time have such penny.’

5. Edward II., A.D. 1311. ‘The bread taken from William de Somersete,
baker, on the Thursday next before the Feast of St. Laurence (10th
August) in the fifth year of the reign of King Edward, was examined and
adjudged upon befor Richer de Refham, Mayor, Thomas Romayn, John de
Wengrave, and other Aldermen; and, because it was found that such bread
was putrid, and altogether rotten, and made of putrid wheat, so that
persons by eating that bread would be poisoned and choked, the Sheriff
was ordered to take him, and have him here on the Friday next after the
Feast of St. Laurence; then to receive judgment for the same.’

In the 1 Ed. III. (1327) a curious fraud was brought to light, and
John Brid and seven other bakers, and two bakeresses, were tried
before the Mayor and Aldermen, ‘for that the said John, for falsely
and maliciously obtaining his own private advantage, did skilfully and
artfully cause a certain hole to be made upon a table of his, called
a _molding borde_ pertaining to his bakehouse, after the manner of a
mouse-trap, in which mice are caught, there being a certain wicket
warily provided for closing and opening such hole.

‘And when his neighbours and others, who were wont to bake their bread
at his oven, came with their dough, or material for making bread, the
said John used to put the said dough or other material upon the said
table, called a _molding borde_, as aforesaid, and over the hole before
mentioned, for the purpose of making loaves therefrom for baking;
and such dough or material being so placed upon the table aforesaid,
the same John had one of his household, ready provided for the same,
sitting in secret beneath such table; which servant of his, so seated
beneath the hole, and carefully opening it, piecemeal, and bit by bit,
craftily withdrew some of the dough aforesaid, frequently collecting
great quantities of such dough, falsely, wickedly, and maliciously, to
the great loss of all his neighbours and persons living near, and of
others who had come to him with such dough to bake, and to the scandal
and disgrace of the whole City, and, in especial, of the Mayor and
Bailiffs for the safe keeping of the assizes of the City assigned.
Which hole, so found in his table, aforesaid, was made of aforethought;
and, in like manner, a great quantity of such dough that had been drawn
through the said hole was found beneath the hole, and was, by William
de Hertynge, serjeant-at-mace, and Thomas de Morle, clerk of Richard de
Rothynge, one of the Sheriffs of the City aforesaid, who had found such
material, or dough, in the suspected place before mentioned, upon oath
brought here into Court.’

All the prisoners pleaded _Not Guilty_; but the case was too clear
against them, and ‘It was agreed, and ordained, that all those of the
bakers aforesaid, beneath whose tables with holes dough had been found,
should be put upon the pillory, with a certain quantity of such dough
hung from their necks; and that those bakers in whose houses dough was
not found beneath the tables aforesaid, should be put upon the pillory,
but without dough hung from their necks; and that they should so remain
upon the pillory until Vespers at St. Paul’s in London should be
ended.’ The women were committed to Newgate.

There was another punishment by which bakers, in common with all who
told lies, or libelled, or scandalised their neighbour, had to stand in
the pillory with a whetstone hung round their neck.

England suffered much from dearth. Holinshed tells us how, in 1149,
‘The great raine that fell in the summer season did much hurt unto
corne standing on the ground, so that a great dearth followed.
1175.—The same yeare both England and the countries adjoining were sore
vexed with great mortalitie of people, and immediatlie after followed
a sore dearth and famine. 1196.—Here is also to be noted, that in this
seventh yeare of King Richard, chanced a dearth through this realme
of England, and in the coasts about the same. 1199.—Furthermore I
find that in the daies of this King Richard a great dearth reigned in
England, and also in France, for the space of three or foure yeares
during the wars betweene him and King Philip, so that, after his
returne out of Germaine, and from imprisonment, a quarter of wheat was
sold at eighteen shillings eight pence, no small price in those daies,
if you consider the alay of monie then currant.

‘1222.—Likewise on the day of the exaltation of the Crosse, a generall
thunder happened throughout the realme, and thereupon followed a
continuall season of foule weather and wet, till Candlemas next
after, which caused a dearth of corne, so as wheat was sold at twelve
shillings the quarter.

‘1245.—Again the King, of purpose, had consumed all the provision of
corne and vittels which remained in the marshes, so that in Cheshire,
and other parts adjoining, there was such dearth that the people scarse
could get sufficient vittels to susteine themselves withall.

‘1258.—In this yeare was an exceeding great dearth, insomuch that a
quarter of wheat was sold at London for foure and twentie shillings,
whereas within two or three yeares before, a quarter was sold at two
shillings. It had been more dearer, if great store had not come out
of Almaine; for in France and in Normandie it also failed. But there
came fiftie great ships fraught with wheat and barlie, with meale
and bread out of Dutch land, by the procurement of Richard, King of
Almaine, which greatlie releeved the poore; for proclamation was made,
and order taken by the King, that none of the citizens of London should
buy anie of that graine to laie it up in store, whereby it might be
sold at an higher price unto the needie. But, though this provision
did much ease, yet the want was great over all the realme. For it was
certainlie affirmed that in three shires within the realme there was
not found so much graine of that yeare’s growth as came over in those
fiftie ships. The proclamation was set forth to restrein the Londoners
from ingrossing up that graine, and not without cause; for the wealthie
citizens were evill spoken of in that season, bicause in time of
scarcitie they would either staie such ships as, fraught with vittels,
were comming towards the citie, and send them some other way forth,
or else buy the whole, that they might sell it by retaile, at their
pleasure, to the needie. By means of this great dearth and scarcitie,
the common people were constrained to live upon herbs and roots, and
a great number of the poore people died through famine. They died so
thicke that there were great pits made in churchyards to laie the dead
bodies in, one upon another.

‘1289.—There insued such continuall raine, so distempering the ground,
that corne waxed verie deare, so that whereas wheat was sold before at
three pence a bushell, the market so rose by little and little that it
was sold for two shillings a bushell, and so the dearth increased still
almost for the space of 40 yeares, till the death of Edward the Second,
in so much that sometimes a bushel of wheat, London measure, was sold
at ten shillings. 1294.—This yeare in England was a great dearth and
scarcity of corne, so that a quarter of wheat in manie places was sold
for thirtie shillings; by reason whereof poor people died in manie
places for lack of sustnance.

‘1316.—The dearth, by reason of the unseasonable weather in the summer
and harvest last past, still increased, for that which with much ado
was inned, after, when it came to the proofe, yeelded nothing to the
value of that which in sheafe it seemed to conteine, so that wheat and
other graine which was at a sore price before, now was inhanced to a
farre higher rate, the scarcitie thereof being so great that a quarter
of wheat was sold for fortie shillings, which was a great price, if we
shall consider the allaie of monie then currant. Also, by reason of the
murren that fell among cattell, beefes and muttons were unreasonablie
priced.... In this season vittles were so scant and deere, and wheat
and other graine brought to so high a price, that the poore people were
constreined through famine to eat the flesh of horses, dogs, and other
vile beasts, which is wonderfull to beleeve, and yet, for default,
there died a great multitude of people in divers places of the land.
Foure pence in bread of the coarser sort would not suffice one man a
daie. Wheat was sold at London for foure marks a quarter and above.
Then after this dearth and scarcitie of vittels issued a great death
and mortalitie of people; so that what by warres of the Scots, and what
by this mortalitie and death, the people of the land were wonderfullie
wasted and consumed. O pitifull depopulation!

‘1335.—This yeare there fell great abundance of raine, and thereupon
insued morren of beasts; also corne so failed this yeare that a quarter
of wheat was sold at fortie shillings. 1353.—In the summer of this
season and twentieth yeare, was so great a drought that from the latter
end of March fell little raine till the latter end of Julie, by reason
whereof manie inconveniences insued; and one thing is specially to be
noted, that corne the yeare following waxed scant, and the price began
this yeare to be greatlie inhanced. Also beeves and muttons waxed deare
for the want of grasse; and this chanced both in England and France,
so that this was called the deere summer. The Lord William, Duke of
Baviere or Bavaria, and Earl of Zelund brought manie ships in London
fraught with rie for the releefe of the people, who otherwise had,
through their present pinching penurie, if not utterlie perished yet
pittifullie pined.

‘1370.—By reason of the great wet and raine that fell this yeare in
more abundance than had been accustomed much corne was lost, so that
the price thereof was sore inhanced, in so much that wheat was sold at
three shillings four pence the bushell. 1389.—Herewith followed a great
dearth of corne, so that a bushell of wheat in some places was sold at
thirteen pence, which was thought to be a great price. 1394.—In this
yeare was a great dearth in all parts of England, and this dearth or
scarcitie of corne began under the sickle, and lasted till the feast
of Saint Peter _ad Vincula_—to wit, till the time of new corne. This
scarcitie did greatly oppresse the people, and chieflie the commoners
of the poorer sort. For a man might see infants and children in streets
and houses, through hunger, howling, crieing, and craving bread, whose
mothers had it not (God wot) to breake unto them. But yet there was
such plentie and abundance of manie years before, that it was thought
and spoken of manie housekeepers and husbandmen, that if the seed were
not sowen in the ground, which was hoorded up and stored in barnes,
lofts, and garners, there would be enough to find and susteine all
the people by the space of five years following.... The scarcity of
victuals was of greatest force in Leicestershire, and in the middle
parts of the realme. And although it was a great want, yet was not
the price of corne out of reason. For a quarter of wheat, when it was
at the highest, was sold at Leicester for 16 shillings 8 pence at one
time, and at other times for a market of 14 shillings; at London and
other places of the land a quarter of wheat was sold for 10 shillings,
or for little more or lesse. For there arrived eleven ships laden
with great plentie of victuals at diverse places of the land, for the
reliefe of the people. Besides this, the citizens of London laid out
two thousand marks to buy food out of the common chest of orphans,
and the foure and twentie aldermen, everie of them put in his twentie
pounds apeece for necessarie provision, for feare of famine likelie to
fall upon the cities. And they laid up their store in sundrie of the
fittest and most convenient places they could choose, that the needie
and such as were wrong with want might come and buy at a certaine
price so much as might suffice them and their families; and they which
had not readie monie to paie downe presentlie in hand, their word and
credit was taken for a yeare’s space next following, and their turn
served. Thus was provision made that people should be relieved, and
that none might perish for hunger.

‘1439.—This yeare (by reason of great tempests, raging winds, and
raine) there arose such scarsitie that wheat was sold at three
shillings foure pence the bushell.... Whereupon Steven Browne, at the
same season maior of London, tendering the state of the Citie in this
want of bread corne, sent into Pruse certeine ships, which returned
laden with plentie of rie; wherewith he did much good to the people
in that hard time, speciallie to them of the Citie, where the want of
corne was not so extreame as in some other places of the land, where
the poore distressed people that were hunger-bitten made them bred of
ferne roots, and used other hard shifts, till God provided remedie
for their penurie by good successe of husbandrie. 1527.—By reason of
the great wet that fell in the sowing time of the corne, and in the
beginning of the last yeare; now, in the beginning of this, corne so
failed, that in the Citie of London, for a while, bread was scant, by
reason that the commissioners appointed to see order taken in shires
about, ordeined that none should be conveied out of one shire into
another. Which order had like to have bred disorder, for that everie
countrie and place was not provided alike, and namelie London, that
maketh her provision out of other places, felt great inconvenience
thereby, till the merchants of the Stillard and others out of the Dutch
countries brought such plentie that it was better cheape in London than
in anie other part of England, for the King also releeved the citizens
in time of their need with a thousand quarters, by waie of lone, of his
owne provision.’

By the foregoing we see that the bad dearths came at longer intervals,
probably owing to better husbandry, and the regular importation of
foreign corn before a scarcity could arise. But, on the other side, I
have to chronicle a few (unfortunately only too few) years of exceeding
plenty. The first one recorded was in 1288, and is thus recorded by
Stow: ‘The summer was so exceeding hote this yeere that many men died
through heate, and yet wheate was solde at London for three shillings
foure pence the quarter when it was dearest, and in other partes abroad
the same was sold for twentie pence or sixteen pence the quarter; yea,
for twelve pence the quarter, and in the west and north parts for eight
pence the quarter; barley for six pence, and oats for foure pence the
quarter, and such cheapnesse of beanes and pease as the like had not
been heard. 1317.—This yeere was an early harvest, so that all the
corne was inned before St Giles day (Sep. 1). A bushel of wheat that
was before for X shillings was solde for ten pence; and a bushel of
otes that before was eyght shillings was solde for eyght pence.’

Holinshed tells us that in 1493 wheat was sold in London at 6d. the
bushel; and in 1557.—‘This yeare, before harvest wheat was sold for
foure marks the quarter, malt at foure and fortie shillings the
quarter, and pease at six and fortie shillings and eight pence; but,
after harvest, wheat was sold for five shillings the quarter, malt at
six shillings eight pence, rie at three shillings foure pence. So that
the penie wheat loafe that weied in London the last yeere but eleven
ounces Troie weied now six and fiftie ounces Troie. In the countrie
wheat was sold for foure shillings the quarter, malt at foure shillings
eight pence; and, in some places a bushell of rie for a pound of
candles, which were foure pence.’



In order to make bread, the first operation is to grind the corn, be
it wheat, rye, barley, or oats, and we have already seen the rough
methods used by primitive man and others to effect this; we have noted
the mealing stones, the pestle and mortar, the hand quern, and the
grinding of corn by the Greeks and Romans. They soon gave up man as a
motive power, and substituted mules or horses; these in their time gave
place to water, which is a cheap and, if there be anything like a fall,
a very powerful motor—hence the mills dotted all over the country, by
the side of brook or river, with their water-wheels either over or
undershot Very picturesque are they mostly, and the drowsy murmur of
the wheel and the gentle splashing of the water are very pleasant We
are seeing the last of them; they have done their work and must be
thrown aside, for no one in his senses, who had water-power, would now
erect water-wheels when he could get a turbine.

As with the water-wheel, so its congener, the windmill, beloved of
artists, is going. A motive power as cheap as water is the wind, but,
unfortunately, it is not so reliable. It is believed that the Chinese
were the first to use the wind as a motive power for mills, and we
have no record as to when they were introduced into Europe; we only
know they were in use in the twelfth century. As a rule, in England,
windmills have four arms, or ‘whips,’ but sometimes they have six.
These arms are generally covered with strong canvas, but occasionally
they are covered with thin boarding; they are set at an angle, which
varies according to the fancy of the miller, but the shaft to which
they are attached (called the ‘wind shaft’) is invariably placed at
an inclination of 10 or 15 degrees, in order that the revolving arms
should clear the bottom portion of the mill.

[Illustration: A POST MILL.]

[Illustration: A WATER-WHEEL MILL.]

The oldest kind of windmill is called a _post_ mill, because the
whole structure is centred on a post, or pivot, and, when the wind
shifts, the mill has to be turned bodily to meet it, by means of a long
lever. The _smock_, or _frock_, windmill is an improvement upon the
post mill; the building itself is stationary and permanent, but the
head or cap, where is the wind shaft, rotates, and this is more easily

For hundreds of years people were contented with the four and six arms
to their windmills, and it was only in modern times that Messrs. J.
Warner and Sons, of Cripplegate, London, patented their annular sails,
which, as is plain to the meanest capacity, are vastly superior. The
shutters, or ‘vanes,’ are connected with spiral springs, which keep
them up to the best angle of ‘weather, for light winds. If the strength
of the wind increases, the vanes give to the wind, forcing back the
springs, and thus the area on which the wind acts diminishes. In
addition, there are a striking lever and tackle for setting the vanes
edgeways to the wind, when the mill is stopped, or a storm expected.

We have seen how from the very first man used stones wherewith to
triturate his corn, and to this day stones are still used for grinding,
although their days are in all probability numbered, and in a very
little time they, with the windmill, will be relegated to limbo. The
_Encyclopædia Britannica_ gives such an excellent description of these
mill-stones, that I quote it in its entirety.


‘They consist of two flat cylindrical masses inclosed within a wooden
or sheet metal case, the lower, or _bed-stone_, being permanently
fixed, while the upper, or _runner_, is accurately pivoted and
balanced over it The average size of millstones is about four feet two
inches in diameter, by twelve inches in thickness, and they are made
of a hard but cellular siliceous stone, called buhr-stone, the best
qualities of which are obtained from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, department
of Seine et Marne, France. Millstones are generally built up of
segments, bound together round the circumference by an iron hoop, and
backed with plaster of Paris. The bed-stone is dressed to a perfectly
flat plane surface, and a series of grooves, or shallow depressions,
are cut in it, generally in the manner shown, which represents the
grinding surface of an upper or running stone. The grooves on both are
made to correspond exactly, so that when the one is rotated over the
other the sharp edges of the grooves, meeting each other, operate like
a rough pair of scissors, and thus the effect of the stones on grain
submitted to their action is at once that of cutting, squeezing, and
crushing. The dressing and grooving of millstones is generally done
by hand picking, but sometimes black amorphous diamonds (_carbonado_)
are used, and emery wheel dressers have likewise been suggested. The
upper stone, or runner, is set in motion by a spindle on which it is
mounted, which passes up through the centre of the bed-stone, and there
are screws and other appliances for adjusting and balancing the stone.
Further provision is made within the stone case for passing through air
to prevent too high a heat being developed in the grinding operation,
and sweepers for conveying the flour to the meal spout are also

‘The ground meal delivered by the spout is carried forward in a
conveyor, or creeper box, by means of an Archimedean screw, to the
elevators, by which it is lifted to an upper floor to the bolting or
flour-dressing machine. The form in which this apparatus was formerly
employed consisted of a cylinder mounted on an inclined plane, and
covered externally with wire cloth of different degrees of fineness,
the finest being at the upper part of the cylinder, where the meal
is admitted. Within the cylinder, which was stationary, a circular
brush revolved, by which the meal was pressed against the wire cloth,
and, at the same time, carried gradually towards the lower extremity,
sifting out, as it proceeded, the mill products into different grades
of fineness, and finally delivering the coarse bran at the extremity of
the cylinder. For the operation of bolting or dressing, hexagonal or
octagonal cylinders, about three feet in diameter, and from 20 to 25
feet long, are now commonly employed. These are mounted horizontally
on a spindle for revolving, and externally they are covered with silk
of different degrees of fineness, whence they are called “silks,” or
“silk dressers.” Radiating arms or other devices for carrying the
meal gradually forward as the apparatus revolved, are fixed within
the cylinders; and there is also an arrangement of beaters, which
gives the segments of cloth a sharp tap, and thereby facilitates the
sifting action of the apparatus. Like all other mill machines, the
modifications of the silk dresser are numerous,’

We have seen the ordinary operation of grinding flour in the
old-fashioned way; now let us notice the improvements in making wheat
into flour.

‘We will suppose that the wheat has arrived by lighter at one of the
large mills on the Thames, and that it has been shovelled into sacks
and hoisted into the warehouse. The process by which it is turned into
flour may be divided into three stages: (1) cleaning, (2) breaking, (3)
grinding; but the number and complexity of the operations included in
these stages are astounding. It must be understood that the following
description refers to a first-class London mill—that is, one which has,
certainly no superior, and, probably, no equal, in the world.

‘In the first stage the wheat is merely prepared for the mill,
and this is done in the cleaning department, which is separate
from the mill proper. From the warehouse the grain is passed to a
sifter or “separator,” which is a kind of sieve. Here the grosser
impurities—straw, sticks, stones, earth, seeds, and what not—are
removed. Thence to an “elevator,” precisely similar in principle to
that previously described, and by the elevator straight to the top of
the building. Here it enters a wire sieve in the form of a revolving
hexagonal “reel,” by which the smaller heavy impurities with which it
is still mixed are separated. Passing through this, it drops into the
next storey, to be subjected to the “aspirator,” an apparatus by means
of which currents of air are blown through the grain as it falls and
carry off the lighter and more volatile rubbish mixed with it. In the
next floor is an ingenious instrument with a special purpose. Among
the wheat is still a quantity of small black seeds, known as “cockle”
seeds, and to get rid of these the “cockle cylinder” is employed. It is
a revolving metal cylinder, the inner surface of which is fitted with
small holes; the grain passes into the interior of the cylinder, and
as the latter goes round and round the cockle seeds stick in the small
holes and are carried up to a certain height, when they fall out and
are caught by an “apron”; while the wheat, which is too large to stick
in the holes, continually falls back into the bottom of the cylinder.
Again our corn drops a storey, and encounters the “decorcitator.” The
object of this apparatus is to knock off the dust and dirt adhering
to the grains, and it is effected by agitating them between two metal
surfaces at a high rate of speed. The amount of dust removed by this
method from apparently clean grain is astonishing. In the next storey
is another decorcitator, and below that a second aspirator, which
brings us once more to the ground.

‘On reaching the ground floor again, our now clean wheat is first
passed through the “grading” or “sizing” reels, which separate it into
two sizes, and then it enters the mill proper. It should be said here
that the milling industry of the world has been revolutionised within
the past few years by the substitution of steel rollers for the old
millstones. The process of crushing or grinding, however, by steel
rollers is accomplished in a very gradual manner, as will be explained:
First come the “break rolls.” These are solid steel rollers set in
pairs, with corrugated surfaces; this gives them a cutting action.
Wheat is passed through five successive pairs of these rollers. The
first are about 1/16th inch apart, and only break or bruise the grain
slightly. Each successive pair is set closer, and carries the bruising
a step further. But this is only half the business. After each set of
rollers the grain goes through a “purifier,” which is either a sieve of
some kind or an aspirator, or both together, and the object is always
the same—namely, to separate the solid particles of the broken wheat
from the lighter ones. The former are, or rather will eventually be,
flour; the latter constitute “offal.” And the whole art of milling is
merely an extension of this process; first reduction, then separation,
repeated over and over again. As the grain passes through each
successive set of rollers it is broken up finer and ever finer, and the
separating action of the “purifier” accompanies it step by step. The
solid particles grow smaller and smaller, the “offal” correspondingly
finer and finer. This is the process in brief, but there are endless
complications and refinements on the way. For instance, the solid
particles are not only separated but are themselves divided into groups
according to size. Then the offal often undergoes a further purifying
process. Then the purifiers differ—some are complex, others simple;
some of wire, others of silk; some revolve, others oscillate; some are
“aspirated,” others not; and so forth. Meanwhile, at the end of the
five rolls and five purifiers, which make up our breaking department,
we have got three products: (_a_) semolina; (_b_) middlings; (_c_)
offal. The first two are practically varieties of the same—_i.e._,
both solid particles, which will afterwards be flour, but of different
sizes. They are half way between grain and flour—hence the term

‘Grinding is only a continuation of the above process, but the rollers
are different; their surfaces are smooth, and they are set closer
together. The purifiers, too, are, for the most part, more elaborate.
A look at one of them will show the extreme ingenuity expended on
these operations. It consists primarily of an oscillating sieve made
of silk, through the meshes of which the particles of flour fall into
a wooden bin. On the floor of the bin is a “worm” which continually
works the flour along to one end; on the under surface of the sieve is
a travelling brush which brushes off the adhering flour and prevents
the meshes from getting clogged. Above the sieve is an apparatus which,
with the aid of currents blown by an aspirator, catches the volatile
offal; and above that again a travelling blanket which arrests the
still more volatile particles. Finally, the blanket, as it reaches the
end, is tapped automatically to knock out what has stuck to it. By the
time a handful of grain has been converted into a handful of fine flour
it has gone through some 50 different machines, including 18 sets of
rollers and 18 purifiers.

‘The following points may be of interest: A first-class London mill
working 100 sets of rollers can turn out 45 sacks of flour per hour.
Offal, according to its fineness or coarseness, forms bran, pollard,
etc., and is worth from 5_l._ to 6_l._ a ton. The qualities of flour
are whiteness and strength. The former is tested by the eye, the
latter only really by baking capacity. There seems to be a general
consensus of opinion in favour of flour made from Hungarian wheat. The
best English is of sweeter flavour, but lacks “strength.” It has been
reckoned that 300 sacks are made per hour in London mills, all of which
is consumed in London. The flour mill industry owes nothing to American
inventive genius; on the contrary, that country is behind the times.
The steel rollers came originally from Hungary—always a great milling



In old times corn mills were always important factors in manors, and a
source of considerable profit to the lord of the same. All the tenants
of the manor were bound by custom to have their corn ground at the
manor mill, paying a toll to the lord, for the mill was part of his
demesne. The tenants owed suit to the mill in the same manner as they
owed suit and service at the Manor Court. This, however, did not apply
to the grinding or bruising of malt, and there were probably two good
reasons for it—one, that the tenants could perform the operation on
their own premises; and the second, that if it were done at the mill it
would be likely to spoil the flour next ground.

Very many instances of these mills may be given, but one will suffice,
more especially as in this case it was carried down to modern times.
There was at Wakefield, Yorkshire, a corn mill which was a franchise
of the Pilkington family, of Chevel Park, by charters from one of the
Edwards. The monopoly of grinding the corn at this mill was a great
sore to the inhabitants, and the cause of much litigation, but the
holders of the rights always came off the victors. They claimed the
right of grinding not only for the town of Wakefield, but for some
miles round, including the villages of Horbury, Ossett, Newmillardam,
and others; so that all the corn used in this district was obliged
to be ground at the ‘Soke Mill,’ or, as it was otherwise called, the
‘King’s Mill,’ and neither meal nor flour could be sold unless it
were ground there. The tenant of the mill demanded a ‘mulcture’ of
one-sixteenth—that is, out of 16 sacks of corn he kept one for himself
for grinding the other 15.

Some time about 1850 the inhabitants of Wakefield and the adjacent
villages determined to purchase the rights, and this was done by a rate
spread over a series of years, and called the ‘Soke Rate.’ The purchase
money amounted to about £20,000. The same kind of property existed at
Leeds and at Bradford; but from neglect on the part of the owners, and
lapse of time, the inhabitants turned restive and independent, and
‘broke the Soke,’ without compensating the Lords of the Manors. These
mills are still called the King’s Mills.

Nor was this custom confined to England. In Scotland, in feudal
times, it was common for the tenants of a barony to be bound to have
their corn ground at the barony mill. Centuries ago the erection of a
substantial building, with the millstones, driving machinery, and other
plant necessary for a mill, together with the drying-kilns, mill-dams,
lades, weirs, and watercourses requisite for a corn mill involved the
expenditure of a considerable sum of money, such as only the baron
could find. He, therefore, assured himself of a return for his capital
invested by binding his tenants to use his mill. Of course, he got
a good rent for his mill, which was the manner in which the benefit
arising from the bondage of his tenants found its way into his coffers.

Sir James A. Picton, in his _City of Liverpool_ selections from the
municipal archives and records, states that in 1558 the Corporation
of the Borough ordered that ‘every miller, on warning, shall bring
his toll-dish to Mr. Mayor, to a lawful size thereof sealed, under
a penalty of 6d.’ That this toll-taking on the part of millers was
occasionally perverted there can be but little doubt, and it was
sometimes very severely commented on, as we may see in this passage
from a tragedy by Wm. Sampson (1636), called _The Vow-Breaker; or, the
Fair Maid of Clifton_. ‘Fellow Bateman, farewell; commend me to my old
windmill at Rudington. Oh! the mooter dish—[Multure or Toll-dish]—the
miller’s thumbe, and the maide behind the hopper!’

In the Roxburghe ballads (vol. iii., 681) we have The Miller’s Advice
to his _Three Sons in Taking of Toll_:

 ‘There was a miller who had three sons,
  And knowing his life was almost run,
  He called them all, and asked their will,
  If that to them he left his mill.

  He called first for his eldest son,
  Saying, “My life is almost run,
  If I to you this mill do make,
  What toll do you intend to take?”

  “Father,” said he, “my name is Jack.
  Out of a bushel I’ll take a peck,
  From every bushel that I grind,
  That I may a good living find.”

  “Thou art a fool,” the old man said.
  “Thou hast not well learned thy trade.
  This mill to thee I ne’er will give,
  For by such toll no man can live.”

  He called for his middlemost son,
  Saying, “My life is almost run.
  If I to thee the mill do make,
  What toll do you intend to take?”

  “Father,” says he, “my name is Ralph.
  Out of a bushel I’ll take it half,
  From every bushel that I grind,
  So that I may a good living find.”

  “Thou art a fool,” the old man said;
  “Thou hast not learned well thy trade.
  This mill to you I ne’er can give,
  For by such toll no man can live.”

  He called for his youngest son,
  Saying, “My life is almost run.
  If I to you this mill do make,
  What toll do you intend to take?”

  “Father,” said he, “I am your only boy,
  For taking toll is all my joy.
  Before I will a good living lack,
  I’ll take it all, and forswear the sack.”

  “Thou art my boy,” the old man said,
  “For thou has well learned thy trade.
  This mill to thee I’ll give,” he cried,
  And then he clos’d his eyes, and died.’

To show the popular idea of a miller’s integrity, I may mention that
the children in Somersetshire, when they have caught a certain kind
of large white moth, which they call a _Miller_, chant over it this

 ‘Millery! millery! Dousty Poll!
  How many sacks of corn hast thou stole?’

and then they put the poor insect to death on account of its imaginary

Even Chaucer must have his gird at the miller:

 ‘The millere was a stout carl for the nones,
  Ful byg he was of brawn and eek of bones;
  That proved wel, for over al ther he cam
  At wrastlygne he wolde have alwey the ram[8].
  He was short sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre[9],
  There was no dore that he ne wolde heve of harre[10].
  Or breke it at a reunying with his head
  His berd, or any sowe or fox was reed,
  And ther to brood, as though it were a spade
  Upon the cope right of his nose he hade
  A werte, and ther on stood a toft of herys,
  Reed as the brustles of a sowes crys;
  His nose thirles[11] blake were and wyde;
  A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde;
  His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys,
  He was a janglere and a goliardeys[12],
  And that was moost of synne and harlotries,
  Wel konde he stelen corne and totten thries[13],
  And yet he hadde ‘a thombe of gold’ _pardee_
  A whit cote and a blew hood wered he,
  A bagge pipe wel konde he blowe and sowne,
  And ther with al he broghte us out of towne.’

The ‘thombe of gold’ has somewhat puzzled commentators on Chaucer. One
thing is certain: that a miller has been traditionally credited with a
broad thumb, and the little fish the _Bullhead_ is called _The Millers’
Thumb_, from a fancied resemblance. Every one connected with the navy
knows what the ‘purser’s thumb’ is, from the legend that, when serving
out their tots of rum to the men, his thumb was invariably inside the
measure (doubtless necessitated by the rolling of the old men-of-war),
which resulted in a large profit to himself during a long cruise, and
this seems to illustrate Chaucer’s meaning, especially as it occurs
immediately after the miller’s ill-gotten gains, that by putting his
broad thumb into every measure he made thereby gold during the year.

But there is another and a kindlier explanation of the term, which
rests on the authority of Constable, the painter, according to Yarrell,
in his _History of British Fishes_, when writing of the Bullhead. ‘The
head of the fish is smooth, broad, and rounded, and is said to resemble
exactly the form of a miller’s thumb, as produced by a peculiar and
constant action of the muscles in the exercise of a particular and
most important part of his occupation. It is well known that all the
science and tact of a miller are directed so to regulate the machinery
of his mill that the meal produced shall be of the most valuable
description that the operation of grinding will permit, when performed
under the most advantageous circumstances. His profit or his loss,
even his fortune or his ruin, depend upon the exact adjustment of all
the various parts of the machinery in operation. The miller’s ear
is constantly directed to the note made by the running-stone in its
circular course over the bed-stone, the exact parallelism of their two
surfaces, indicated by a particular sound, being a matter of the first
consequence; and his hand is as constantly placed under the meal spout
to ascertain, by actual contact, the character and qualities of the
meal produced. The thumb, by a particular movement, spreads the sample
over the fingers; the thumb is the gauge of the value of the produce,
and hence have arisen the saying of _worth a miller’s thumb_, and _an
honest miller hath a golden thumb_, in reference to the amount of
profit that is the reward of his skill.’

Any notice of flour would, of course, be valueless without an analysis
of its constituent parts, which, as anyone can understand, will vary in
different wheats; there can be no standard, because of the difference
of the soils on which it grows, a fact which is fully borne out by the
following tables by famous analysts. Jago (_The Chemistry of Wheat,
Flour, and Bread, &c._ Brighton, 1886), quoting Bell, says:—

                  │                 │        │        │        │        │Caroline
   Constituents.  │      Wheat      │  Long- │ English│ Maize. │  Rye.  │  rice
                  +—-——————+—-——————+  eared │  Oats. │        │        │ without
                  │Winter. │Spring. │ Barley.│        │        │        │  husk.
   Fat            │   1·48 │   1·56 │   1·03 │   5·14 │   3·58 │   1·43 │    0·19
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Starch         │  63·71 │  65·86 │  63·51 │  49·78 │  64·66 │  61·87 │   77·66
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Cellulose      │   3·03 │   2·93 │   7·28 │  13·53 │   1·86 │   3·23 │  Tr’ces
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Sugar          │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   (as Cane)      │   2·57 │   2·24 │   1·34 │   2·36 │   1·94 │   4·30 │    0·38
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Albumin, &c. ╮ │        │        │        │        │        │        │
     insoluble  │ │  10·70 │   7·19 │   8·18 │  10·62 │   9·67 │   9·78 │    7·94
     in Alcohol ╯ │        │        │        │        │        │        │
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Other         ╮│        │        │        │        │        │        │
     nitrogenous ││        │        │        │        │        │        │
     matter      ││   4·83 │   4·40 │   3·28 │   4·05 │   4·60 │   5·09 │    1·40
     soluble in  ││        │        │        │        │        │        │
     Alcohol     ╯│        │        │        │        │        │        │
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Mineral  ╮     │        │        │        │        │        │        │
     matter ╯     │   1·60 │   1·74 │   2·32 │   2·66 │   1·35 │   1·85 │    0·28
                  │        │        │        │        │        │        │
   Moisture       │  12·08 │  14·08 │  13·06 │  11·86 │  12·34 │  12·45 │   12·15
       Total      │ 100·00 │ 100·00 │ 100·00 │ 100·00 │ 100·00 │ 100·00 │  100·00

Professor Graham, in a lecture delivered at the International Health
Exhibition, London, July 3, 1884, quoting Lawes and Gilbert, says:—

   Constituents.  │  Old  │Barley.│ Oats. │  Rye. │ Maize.│ Rice.
                  │ Wheat.│       │       │       │       │
                  │       │       │       │       │       │
  Water           │  11·1 │  12·0 │  14·2 │  14·3 │  11·5 │  10·8
  Starch          │  62·3 │  52·7 │  66·1 │  54·9 │  54·8 │  78·8
  Fat             │   1·2 │   2·6 │   4·6 │   2·0 │   4·7 │   0·1
  Cellulose       │   8·3 │  11·5 │   1·0 │   6·4 │  14·9 │   0·2
  Gum and Sugar   │   3·8 │   4·2 │   5·7 │  11·3 │   2·9 │   1·6
  Albuminoids     │  10·9 │  13·2 │  16·0 │   8·8 │   8·9 │   7·2
  Ash             │   1·6 │   2·8 │   2·2 │   1·8 │   1·6 │   0·9
  Loss, &c.       │   0·8 │   1·0 │   0·2 │   0·5 │   7·0 │   0·4
      Total       │ 100·0 │ 100·0 │ 100·0 │ 100·0 │ 100·0 │ 100·0

Messrs. Wanklyn and Cooper (_Bread Analysis, &c._, London, 1881)
say that, according to their analysis, this wheaten flour, which is
the flour commonly to be bought in this country, has the following

  Water                    16·5
  Ash                       0·7
  Fat                       1·5
  Gluten                   12·0
  Vegetable Albumen         1·0
  Modified Starch           3·5
  Starch Granules          64·8

A comparison of these tables by well-known analysts shows us, if we
only take the single article of wheat, how the grain varies. Let me now
say something about the constituents of wheat in as simple a form as

The fat is of a yellow colour, and, as far as is known, is not a
particularly valuable component part; but as all fats are foods, of
course, it is of service.

The starch in wheat is the ordinary starch (of the best kind)
of commerce; and, seeing that it forms the greater part of all
breadstuffs, it naturally is an important element in them. In good,
sound wheat the starch granules are whole; in sprouted wheat, or
that heated by damp, they are rotted, and, consequently, the starch
they contain is changed, more or less, into dextrin and sugar, and,
consequently, a difference is made in the food value of the wheat.

Dextrin and sugar are small components of good wheat. The dextrin, no
doubt, has a beneficial effect in small quantities, but not in large.
Sugar, such as is found in wheat, affords the necessary amount of
saccharine matter for fermentation.

Cellulose is more useful to the plant than to the miller, to whom it is
as so much bran.

There are two kinds of albuminoids, or gluten, present in wheat—one
insoluble, the other soluble in alcohol. The former makes what is
called a ‘strong bread,’ and the latter acts, in bread-making, on the
former, and, under the influence of yeast, it attacks the starch,
converting it into dextrin and maltose.

The ash of wheat contains principally phosphoric acid and potassium;
magnesium ranks next; then lime, silica, phosphate of iron, soda,
chlorine, and sulphuric and carbonic acids.



The ordinary method of bread-making in London is as follows: The first
process, when the bread is made with thick yeast, being to prepare
a mixture of potatoes, yeast, and flour, by which the process of
fermentation is to be produced in the dough.

Mr. George W. Austin, in his pamphlet on _Bread, Baking, and Bakers_,’
says about the ferment: ‘For each sack of flour (280 lbs.) about 8
lbs. or 10 lbs. of dry, mealy potatoes are taken, well boiled and
mashed and washed through a strainer to take away the skin; to this
is added 12 or 14 quarts of water, at a temperature varying from 80
deg. to 90 deg., and a quart of thick brewers’ yeast, or 1 lb. of
compressed yeast—which is equal. Having well dissolved the yeast, and
added 2 lbs. of flour, the mass is allowed to stand some three or four
hours, until the head falls in through the escape of gas.’ The next
process is the preparation of the sponge. The trough and flour being
ready, the ferment is taken, and, with the addition of 28 quarts of
clear water, at a temperature of 80 deg. to 90 deg., is passed into
the trough through a sieve or strainer, and the mass, being kept well
together, is made up into a nice dry sponge. It is allowed to remain
thus and ferment for another five or six hours, when it will have risen
and formed a head, which is allowed to break. As soon as this head is
broken it commences to rise again, and as soon as it has broken the
second time the remainder of the flour is added, and the dough made as

Two and a half pounds of salt dissolved in 28 quarts of clear water,
at a temperature of 80 deg., and mixed well into what is termed ‘the
sponge,’ with the remainder of the flour, the whole being broken up and
well and thoroughly mixed and kneaded until the dough is uniform in
material and consistency. It is then left to rise for another hour or
more, when the dough is weighed out in pieces of the requisite size and
speedily manipulated into the required shape. As the loaves are moulded
they are placed on trays, covered with a light cloth (to prevent the
dry and colder air forming a dry crust on the surface), and left to
dry sufficiently before being placed in the oven. Before this is done
the loaves are slightly brushed over with a small quantity of milk and
water to improve the appearance of the outside of the loaf when it
comes from the oven.

The oven is, for the purpose of baking bread, brought up to a heat
of 400 deg. Fahr., and the bread, although seemingly baked by dry
heat, is in reality boiled in the steam of the water which the bread

Salt is added to make the bread more palatable; but it has also another
effect. With inferior flour dextrin is formed inside the loaf to some
extent as well as on the outside, consequently bread made from inferior
flour rises badly and is darker in colour. This inferior flour is made
sometimes from wheat that has been damp, the dampness causing the
soluble albumenoids which the grain contains to act on the insoluble
gluten, decomposing it into soluble bodies, and producing dextrin by
their action on the starch in the grain. The further decomposition
of these albumenoids is checked by the action of the salt during the
fermentation of the bread.

And now it will be well to say something about the leaven of bread. We
have already seen the modern method of making a ferment with flour,
potatoes, and brewer’s yeast; but there are other substances which
do not cause fermentation, and yet lighten the bread, such as the
different baking powders, and the American _sal eratus_, a mixture of
bi-carbonate of soda and salt. Carbonate of ammonia, which entirely
evaporates in baking, is used in confectionery to raise the paste by
the bubbles it forms in its volatilisation. The unfermented breads,
such as those made by the late Dr. Dauglish’s patent (of which more
anon), are rendered light upon the same principle, the usual method
being to mix soda with the flour, and hydrochloric acid with the water,
in the proportions in which they unite to form chloride of sodium, or
common salt. The effervescence, like that produced in mixing seidlitz
powders, converts the paste into a porous sponge, which, however,
requires to be very quickly placed in the oven. The salt formed by
the mixture replaces that ordinarily added to the dough in making
bread; but this method is seldom used by practical bakers. Whatever,
therefore, be the method by which bread is made light, the object to be
attained is to pervade the dough with numerous cavities, which keep the
particles of flour asunder, instead of forming a compact and unyielding

The science which gave an insight into the cause of the ‘rising’ of
bread, and suggested substitutes for the ordinary fermenting materials,
is but of recent date. These ferments operate by generating an infinity
of gas bubbles, which honeycomb the dough. The earliest process was
to employ leaven, which is still largely used in the manufacture of
the black rye bread of the Continent, and consists of dough which
has become more or less sour by over-fermentation. This is kept from
one baking to another, to inoculate a fresh bulk of paste with its
fermenting influence. No sooner does it come into contact with the
fresh dough than it communicates its own properties, as by contagion.
Probably the discovery of leavening has, in many countries, been owing
to accident, through neglected paste having been attacked by the fungus
which is the cause of fermentation.

Many of my readers probably do not know that yeast is a plant. It
belongs to the class of _fungi_, and, in accordance with the general
habit of its kind, it differs from the green forms of vegetable life
by feeding upon organic substances. The yeast plant represents one
condition of a species of fungus remarkable for the diversity of
forms it exhibits, its wide, nay, universal distribution, and the
magnitude of the effects, sometimes beneficial, sometimes mischievous,
which it is capable of producing. The forms in which it is familiar to
most persons, although its nature may be unsuspected, are yeast, the
gelatinous vinegar plant, the ‘mother’ of vinegar, and many decomposing
vegetable infusions, and the common blue or green mould (_penicillium
glaucum_) which occurs everywhere on sour paste, decaying fruits, and,
in general, on all dead organic matters exposed to combined moisture
and moderate heat.

Yeast and the vinegar plant are the forms in which it vegetates under
various circumstances when well supplied with food. Mildew is its
fruit, formed on the surfaces exposed to air at certain epochs, like
the flowers and seeds of the higher plants, to enable it to diffuse
itself, which it does most effectually, for the microscopic germs,
invisible singly to the naked eye, are produced in myriads, and are so
diminutive that ordinary motes floating in the atmosphere are large in

Yeast, when examined under the microscope, is found to consist of
globular vesicles about 1/2300th part of an inch in diameter when fully
grown. They are multiplied by little vesicles budding out from the
sides of the parent. These soon acquire an equal size, and repeat the
reproduction, either while attracted to the parent globule or after
separating from it. The multiplication goes on to an indefinite extent
with a fitting supply of food and at a moderately warm temperature
(70 deg.-90 deg. Fahr.). The vesicles are nourished by sucking in a
portion of the organic liquid in which they exist, decomposing this
chemically, and either actually giving off, or causing the separation
of their outer surface, of carbonic acid in the form of gas. To give
a familiar illustration of the action of the carbonic acid which is
evolved from yeast on the dough, I may say that it is analogous to the
froth formed on a tumbler of bottled ale or ginger-beer. The cavities
or bubbles in the dough are produced in an exactly similar manner; but
two circumstances occur in bread to render them permanent—first, the
fact that they are slowly formed; secondly, that they are generated
in a substance which, while it is soft enough to allow the bubbles to
expand, is tough enough to retain them.

There are several kinds of yeast besides barm, or brewer’s yeast,
which, in spite of its bitter taste, is generally used by bakers
because it is the least expensive. Next in consumption is what is
termed press yeast, in German _press hefe_ or _pfund hefe_, commonly
known in commerce as German yeast, so called because it originally
was a monopoly of that country, but it is now largely manufactured in
Scotland. Of these yeasts Mr. Austin says:

‘Press yeast is obtained partly by the brewing of beer or distillation
of spirits as a by-product, partly it is made artificially. In the
former case, the beer upper yeast is mixed with ten times its quantity
of water, to which one per cent. of carbonate of ammonia is added,
macerated and well washed for an hour, and then mixed with a compound
of two parts of finely-powdered malt and ten parts starch, so that
we have a firm mass, which is made into cakes half-an-inch thick.
This yeast must be made fresh every two or three days, and must be
kept in a cool place. A better press yeast is made from the yeast of
the distilleries. The pasty residue of the mash tub is passed through
a hair sieve to get rid of the grain husks. The filtrate is allowed
to settle, and the sediment is put into linen cloths and washed with
water, and the water squeezed out again under gentle pressure. The
yeast is thus obtained in the form of cakes.’

Very many people prefer to make their own bread instead of buying
it from the baker; not that there is a great saving, but there is a
certain satisfaction in knowing by whom it is made, and as, doubtless,
many of my readers have never attempted to make and bake their own
bread, I venture to give Miss Acton’s ‘very plain directions to a quite
inexperienced learner for making bread.’[15]

‘If you have never yet attempted to make bread, and wish to try to do
it well, and have nobody to show you the proper manner of setting about
it, you may yet succeed perfectly by attending with great exactness to
the directions which are given here; but, as a large baking is less
easily managed than a small one quite at first, and as the loss would
be greater if the bread were spoiled, I would advise you to begin with
merely a loaf or two.

‘Take, then, let us say, half a gallon of flour, or a quartern, as it
is called in some places. This will weigh three pounds and a half, and
will make two loaves of nearly two pounds and a quarter each. There
are two ways of making the dough, either of which, in experienced
hands, will generally be attended with success. The most common mode
of proceeding is to mix the yeast carefully with part of the liquid
required for the whole of the bread, and to stir it into the centre
of the flour; then to add by degrees what more of the liquid may be
necessary, and to convert the whole with thorough, steady kneading
into a firm but flexible paste, which, after standing in a suitable
place until it has swollen to nearly double its original size, is again
thoroughly kneaded, and once more left to “rise” or become porous
before it is moulded into loaves and despatched to the oven.

‘_To Make Dough by Setting a Sponge._—This method of making dough is
usually followed when there is any doubt either of the goodness or of
the sufficient quantity of the yeast which is used for it, because if
it should not become light after standing a certain time, more yeast,
mixed with a little warm liquid, can easily be added to it, and the
chance of having heavy bread be thus avoided.

‘If you are sure of the goodness of the yeast you use it will not much
matter which of them you follow. The quickest and easiest mode is to
wet it up at once; the safest to guard against failure is to set a
sponge thus: Put the flour into a large earthenware bowl or deep pan,
then with a strong metal or wooden spoon hollow out the middle, but
do not clear it entirely away from the bottom of the pan, as in that
case the sponge (or leaven as it was formerly termed) would stick to
it, which it ought not to do. Next take either a large tablespoonful
of brewer’s yeast, which has been rendered solid by mixing it with
cold water and letting it afterwards stand to settle for a day and a
night, or nearly an ounce of fresh German yeast. Put it into a large
basin and then proceed to mix it, so that it shall be as smooth as
cream, with three-quarters of a pint or even a whole pint of just warm
milk and water or water only, though even a very little milk will much
improve the bread. To have it quite free from lumps you must pour
in the liquid by spoonfuls just at the beginning, and stir and work
it round well to mix it perfectly with the yeast before you add the
remainder, otherwise it would probably cause the bread to be full of
large holes, which ought never to be seen in it. Pour the yeast into
the hole in the middle of the flour, and stir into it as much of that
which lies around it as will make a thick batter, in which, remember,
there must be no lumps. If there should seem to be any you must beat
them out with the spoon. Strew plenty of flour on the top, throw a
thick clean cloth over, and set it where the air is warm; but if there
is a large fire do not place it upon the kitchen fender in front of it,
as servants often do, for it will become too much heated there; but
let it always be raised from the floor, and protected from constant
draughts of air passing over it. Look at it from time to time when it
has been laid for nearly an hour, and when you perceive that the yeast
has risen and broken through the flour, and that bubbles appear in it,
you will know that it is ready to be made up into dough. Then place
the pan on a strong chair or dresser, or table of convenient height;
pour into the sponge a little warm milk and water (about a pint and a
quarter will be required altogether for the quartern of bread), so that
if three-quarters of a pint was mixed with the yeast at first there
will be half a pint to add. Sometimes a little more will be needed;
but be always careful not to make the dough too moist; stir into it as
much flour as you can with the spoon, then wipe it out clean with your
fingers and lay it aside.

‘Next take plenty of the remaining flour, throw it on the top of the
leaven, and begin with the knuckles of both hands to knead it well.
Quick movement in this will do no good. It is strong, steady kneading
which is required. Keep throwing up the flour which lies under and
round the dough on to the top of it, that it may not stick to your
fingers. You should always try to prevent its doing this, for you will
soon discover that attention to these small particulars will make a
great difference in the quality of your bread and in the time required
to make it. When the flour is nearly all kneaded in begin to draw
the edges of the dough towards the middle, in order to mix the whole
thoroughly, and continue to knead it in every part spreading it out,
and then turning it constantly from the side of the pan to the middle,
and pressing the knuckles of your closed hands well into and over it.
When the whole of the flour is worked in, and the outside of the dough
is free from it and from all lumps and crumbs, and does not stick to
the hands when touched, it will be done, and may be again covered with
the cloth and left to rise a second time.

‘In three-quarters of an hour look at it, and should it have swollen
very much, and begin to crack, it will be light enough to bake. Turn
it then on to a paste-board, or very clean dresser, and, with a large
sharp knife, divide it into two, when, if it has been carefully and
properly made, you will find it full throughout of small holes like a
fine sponge. When it is thus far ready make it up quickly into loaves,
and despatch it to the oven. If it is to be baked in a flat tin or on
the oven floor, dust a little flour on the board, and make them up
lightly in the form of dumplings, drawing together the parts which are
cut, and turning them downwards. Give them a good shape by working them
round quickly between your hands without raising them from the board,
and pressing them slightly as you do so; then take a knife in the right
hand, and, turning each loaf quickly with the left, just draw the edge
of it round the middle of the dough, but do not cut deeply into it;
make also two or three slight incisions across the tops of the loaves,
as they will rise more easily when this is done.

‘Should it be put into earthen pans, the dough must be cut with the
_point_ of the knife just below the edge of the dishes after it is
laid into them. To prevent it sticking to them, and being turned out
with difficulty after it is baked, the pans should be rubbed in every
part with a morsel of butter laid on a bit of clean paper. When they
are only floured, the loaves cannot sometimes be loosened from these
without being broken. All bread should be turned upside down or on its
side as soon as it is drawn from the oven; if this be neglected, the
under part of the loaves will become wet and blistered from the steam,
which cannot then escape from them. They should remain until they are
perfectly cold before they are put away and covered down.

‘The only difference between this and the other way of making dough,
mentioned at the beginning of these directions, is the mixing all the
flour at first with the yeast and liquid into a firm smooth paste,
which must be thoroughly kneaded down when it has become quite light,
and then left to rise a second time before it is prepared for baking. A
pint of warm milk and water, or of water only, may be stirred gradually
to the yeast, which should then be poured into the middle of the flour,
and worked with it into a stiff batter with a spoon, which should then
be withdrawn, and the kneading with the hands commenced. Until a little
experience has been gained, the mass of dough which will be formed
with the pint of liquid, may be lifted from the pan into a dish, while
sufficient warm water is added to wet up the remainder of the flour.
This should afterwards be perfectly mingled with that which contains
the yeast. A better plan is to use at once from a pint and a quarter
to a pint and a half of liquid; but learners are very apt to pour in
heedlessly more than is required, or to be inexact in the measure,
and then more flour has to be used to make the bread of a proper
consistence than is allowed for by the proportion of yeast named in the
receipt. It is a great fault in bread-making to have the dough so moist
that it sticks to the fingers when touched, and cannot be formed into
loaves which will retain their shape without much flour being kneaded
into them when they are made up for the oven.

‘When it is to be _home baked_ as well as home made, you must endeavour
to calculate correctly the time at which it will be ready, and have the
oven in a fit state for it when it is so. Should it have to be carried
to the baker’s, let a thick cloth or two be thrown over it before it is

In these very plain directions I do not find that Miss Acton specifies
the quantity of salt to be used. Some, however, is absolutely
necessary, to make good bread—say half an ounce to a quartern of flour.



We have now got the loaf made, and the next thing is to bake it; for
the home-baked loaf, the oven of a kitchener or gas stove will do very
well, and the heat should be about 400 deg. Fahr. A baker’s oven is a
thing _per se_. For hundreds of years they were made on the same old
pattern, but now, except in many of the small underground bakeries,
they are scientifically built, fitted with pyrometers, and with
internal lamps. Mr. Austin writes thus of the oven:

‘The baker’s oven is generally a brick oven, heated thoroughly with
coal or wood according to construction; if made for coal, the damper
will be on the one side and the furnace on the other, so that the
flames play all round the oven; if constructed for wood, it must be
heated with a good solid heat, with wood burnt in the interior of the
oven, and then well cleaned out with a scuffle. As to the degrees
of heat of the oven the laborious explanations and number of them
may be reduced to three—viz., sharp or “flash,” as named in recipes;
the second degree, moderate or “solid,” as used for large or solid
articles, as wedding cakes, &c.; then slack or cool.

‘The baker’s old-fashioned method of testing the temperature of his
oven is instructive. He throws flour on the floor. If it blackens
without taking fire the heat is sufficient. It might be supposed that
this is too high a temperature, as the object is to cook the bread, not
to burn it; but we must remember that the flour which has been prepared
for baking is mixed with water, and the evaporation of this water will
materially lower the temperature of the dough itself. Besides this, we
must bear in mind that another object is to be attained. A hard shell
or crust has been formed, which will so encase and support the lump
of dough as to prevent it from subsiding when the further evolution,
carbonic gas, shall cease, which will be the case some time before the
cooking of the mass is completed. It will happen when the temperature
reaches the point at which the yeast cells can no longer germinate,
when the temperature is below the boiling point of water.

‘In spite of all this outside temperature, that of the inner part of
the loaf is kept down to a little above 212 degrees by the evaporation
of the water contained in the bread; the escape of this vapour and the
expansion of carbonic acid bubbles by heat increasing the porosity of
the loaf. The outside being heated considerably above the temperature
of the inner part, this variation produces the difference between the
crust and the crumb. The action of the high temperature indirectly
converting some of the starch into dextrin will be understood from what
is already stated, and also the partial conversion of this dextrin into
caramel. Thus we have in the crust an excess of dextrin as compared
with the crumb, and the addition of a variable quantity of caramel. In
lightly baked bread, with the crust of uniform pale yellowish colour,
the conversion of the dextrin into caramel has barely commenced, and
the gummy character of the dextrin coating is well displayed. So much
bread, especially the long staves of life common in France, appears as
though they had been varnished, and their crust is partially soluble
in water. This explains the apparent paradox that hard crust or dry
toast is more easily digested than the soft crumb of bread, the cookery
of the crumb not having been carried beyond the mere hydration of the
gluten and the starch and such degree of dextrin formation as was due
to the action of the diastaste of grain during the preliminary period
of “rising.”’

A form of oven now much in vogue is borrowed from Vienna. It is built
of stone or brick; the roof is very low, and the floor slopes upwards
towards the far end. The effect of this form of construction is to
drive the steam rising from the loaves down on to the top of them
again, thereby giving them the glazed surface so much admired in
foreign bread. Steam is sometimes driven in with the same object; being
lighter than that rising from the bread, it drives the latter down. The
ovens are heated from below. Loaves remain in for one and a half or two

As in everything connected with baking, during the past few years great
improvements have been made in bakers’ ovens. Science has been brought
to bear upon them, and we now have them heated by gas or steam in
addition to coal and coke, besides improved alterations in many ways.

Nor do modern improvements in baking appliances stop short at ovens.
Most bakers doing a good business use kneading machines, of which
there are many in the market. With one exception—that of the Adair
mixer, which has no arms nor beaters, but simply rotates, and by
this action the flour and water pass through the rods of iron,
which are placed crosswise in the machine, and become perfectly
and proportionately mixed—they are all, more or less, on the same
principle, of revolving arms, blades, or knives by which the
flour and water are properly mixed, and the position of the dough
being perpetually changed, it is effectually kneaded without the
objectionable intervention of manual labour.

The earliest kneading machine that I can find mentioned is in 1850,
when the illustrious philosopher, Arago, presented and recommended
to the Institute of France the kneading and baking apparatus of M.
Rolland, then a humble baker of the Twelfth Arrondissement. The
kneading machine was described as exceedingly simple, and capable of
being worked, when under a full charge, by a young man from 15 to 20
years old, the necessity for horse labour or steam power being thus
obviated; and it was claimed that in less than twenty minutes a sack
of flour could be converted into a perfect homogeneous and aërated
dough altogether superior to any dough that could be obtained by manual

Another attempted improvement in the manufacture of bread was aërating
the dough without using any ferment, such as yeast, etc., and this has
been accomplished by means of mixing hydrochloric acid and carbonate
of soda with the dough, or using bicarbonate of ammonia, or forcing
carbonic acid into the water with which the flour is mixed. The
latter is called the Dauglish system, from its inventor, the late John
Dauglish, M.D. (born 1824, died January 14, 1866), and it is now in
full working operation.

By this system carbonic acid gas is generated as if for making soda
water, and, supposing a sack of flour was to be converted into dough,
the following would be the treatment: A lid at the top of the mixer
is opened, and the flour passed down into it through a spout from the
floor above. The lid of the mixer is then fitted tightly on, and the
air within it exhausted by the pump. The requisite quantity of water,
about 17 gallons, is drawn into the water vessel, and carbonic acid is
forced into it till the pressure amounts to from 15lb. to 25lb. per
square inch. The aërated water is then passed into the mixer, and the
mixing arms are set in motion, by which, in about seven minutes, the
flour and water are incorporated into a perfectly uniform paste. At the
lower end of the mixer a cavity is arranged, gauged to hold sufficient
dough for a 2lb. loaf, and by a turn of a lever that quantity is
dropped into a pan ready for at once depositing in the oven. The whole
of the operations can be performed in less than half an hour.

The advantages of this system are absolute purity and cleanliness, but
it is simply porous dough, and has not got the flavour of fermented
bread. The plant, too, is very expensive, which renders it impossible
for the ordinary baker to adopt it.

Certainly, machinery has been applied with very great advantage to the
manufacture of another kind of bread, on which they that go down upon
the sea in ships were wont to depend—namely, ship’s biscuits. Badly
made of bad materials, and ofttimes full of weevils were they, so hard
that they had to be soaked in some liquid before they could be eaten,
or else broken up and boiled with the pea soup.

Up to the year 1833 the ships of the Royal Navy were supplied with
biscuits made at Gosport by gangs of five men, severally named the
_furner_, the _mate_, the _driver_, the _brakeman_, and the _idleman_.
The _driver_ made the dough in a trough with his naked arms. The
rough dough was then placed on a wooden platform, to be worked by the
_brakeman_, who kneaded it by riding and jumping on it. Then it was
taken to a moulding board, cut into slips, moulded by hand, docked, or
pierced full of holes, and pitched into the oven by the joint action
of the gang. The nine ovens in the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard
required the labour of 45 men to keep them in full operation, and the
product was about 14cwt. of biscuit per hour, at a cost for labour
and utensils of 1_s._ 7_d._ per cwt. This system was superseded by
machinery, and biscuits have been for many years past produced with
almost incredible rapidity, perfect in kneading, moulding, and baking,
and at a cost for labour and utensils of less than a third of the old



Of the many breads that are not in common use, that used in the
celebration of the Communion should be placed first. There seems no
room for doubt that, at the Last Supper, our Lord broke unleavened
bread—St Luke xxii. is, apparently, conclusive on this point; and,
to this day, the whole Latin, Armenian, and Maronite Churches use
unleavened bread, and it is also used in many churches of the Anglican
communion. Dr. Lee[16] says: ‘The Ethiopic Christians also use
unleavened bread at their Mass on Maundy Thursday, but leavened bread
on other occasions. The Greek and other Oriental Churches use leavened
bread, which is especially made for the purpose, with scrupulous care
and attention. The Christians of St. Thomas likewise make use of
leavened bread, composed of fine flour, which, by an ancient rule of
theirs, ought to be prepared on the same day upon which it is to be
consecrated. It is circular in shape, stamped with a large cross, the
border being edged with smaller crosses, so that, when it is broken
up, each fragment may contain the holy symbol. In the Roman Catholic
Church the bread is made thin and circular, and bears upon it either
the impressed figure

of the crucifix, or the letters I.H.S. Pope St. Zephyrinus, who lived
in the third century, terms the Sacramental bread, _Corona sive oblata,
sphericæ, figuræ_, “a crown, or oblation, of a spherical figure,” the
circle being indicative of the Divine presence after consecration. The
Orientals, occasionally, make their altar breads square, on which is
stamped a cross, with an inscription. The square form of the bread is
a mystical indication that, by the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross,
salvation is purchased for the four comers of the earth.’ And Dr. Lee
gives illustrations of the altar bread, or wafers, in use in the Latin,
Armenian, Coptic, and Greek Churches.

It seems certain that, in the Primitive Church, neither unleavened
bread nor wafers were used. Ancient writers say that the bread used
was common bread, such as was made for their own use. It was also a
charge against the Ebionites that they celebrated in unleavened bread
and water only. The bread generally used was called _fermentum_, and
though this is explained by the schoolmen, who claimed primitive custom
for unleavened bread, as the _eulogia_, or _panis benedictus_, which
was blessed for such as did not communicate, Pope Innocent I. plainly
says that it refers to the Sacrament itself. Moreover, no Greek writer
before Michael Cerularius, who lived A.D. 1051, objected to the use of
unleavened bread in the Roman Church, which would seem to show that
it was not extensively used before that time. Even some Roman writers
speak of the custom as erroneous.

How the change in this matter was made, and the exact time when,
is not easily determined. Cardinal Bona’s conjecture seems probable
enough: that it crept in when the people began to leave off making
their oblations in common bread. This occasioned the clergy to provide
it themselves, and they, under pretence of decency and respect, brought
it from leaven to unleaven, and from a loaf of common bread, that might
be broken, to a nice and delicate wafer, formed in the figure of a
_denarius_, or penny, to represent the pence for which our Saviour was
betrayed; and then, also, the people, instead of offering a loaf of
bread, as formerly, were ordered to offer a penny, which was either to
be given to the poor, or to be expended upon something pertaining to
the sacrifice of the altar.

The alteration in the Communion bread occasioned great disputes between
the Eastern and Western Churches.

The first Common Prayer Book of Edward VI. enjoins unleavened bread
to be used throughout the whole kingdom for the celebration of the
Eucharist. It was ordered to be _round_, in imitation of the wafers
used in the Greek and Roman Churches; but it was to be _without all
manner of print_, the wafers usually having the impression either of
a crucifix or the Holy Lamb; and _something more large and thicker_
than the wafers, which were the size of a penny. This rubric, affording
matter for scruple, was set aside at the review of the Liturgy, in the
fifth year of King Edward; and another inserted in its room, which
still exists, by which it is declared sufficient that _the bread be
such as is usually eaten_.

It was the custom in Westminster Abbey, and in the Royal chapels,
and the practice of such men as Bishop Andrewes, to use wafers, but
‘for peace sake,’ where wafers were objected to, plain and pure
wheaten bread was allowed. It has been decided by the Privy Council
that it not only may, but must, be common bread; the Injunctions,
according to them, being of no validity against the rubric; while the
Advertisements, having been made under Act of Parliament, and not
contrary to the rubric, are an indication of its meaning—_i.e._, of the
word ‘retained in the Ornaments rubric.’

The bread now used is common wheaten bread in most Protestant Churches.
In some Presbyterian Churches a special kind of wafer is prepared for
the purpose. In the Roman Church thin wafers are used. In the Eastern
Churches they are of different sizes and thicknesses.

They are thus classified by the Rev. F. E. Brightman in _Liturgies

1. Byzantine; a round leavened cake 5 × 2 in., stamped with a square
(2 in.); itself divided by a cross into four squares in which are
severally inscribed IC, XC, NI, KA.

2. The Syrian Jacobite and Syrian Uniat; a round cake, leavened with
the holy leaven, 3 × 3/4, stamped like a wheel with four diameters (the
alternate radii being cut off half way from the circumference by a
concentric circle).

3. The Marionite; the Latin unleavened wafer.

4. The Coptic; a round leavened cake, 3-1/2 × 3/4, stamped round the
edge with the legend, Αγιος ο θεος, αγιος ισχυρος, αγιος αθανατος,
and within with a cross consisting of twelve little squares, each of
which and the remaining spandrels are marked with a little cross placed

5. The Abyssinian; a flat round leavened cake, 4 × 3/4, stamped with
a cross of nine squares with four squares added in the angles of the

6. The Nestorian; a round leavened cake, 2 × 1/2, stamped with a
cross-crosslet and four small crosses.

7. The Armenian; a round unleavened wafer, 3 × 1/8, stamped with an
ornamental border, the crucifix and the sacred name and sometimes with
two diameters at right angles to the back.

In regard to the Protestant Non-Episcopal Churches, it is stated in
Herzog’s _Religious Encyclopædia_ that the administration follows
one of two types. These are the Lutheran and the Calvinistic. In the
Lutheran, the elements are consecrated with the sign of the cross, a
wafer of unleavened bread is given whole to the communicant, and white
wine, instead of red, is used. The communicants kneel and receive the
elements into their mouths instead of their hands. The Calvinistic
type simplifies the service as much as possible, and assimilates it
to a common meal. ‘In the French Reformed Church the elements are
placed—the bread in two silver dishes, and the wine in two silver
cups—on a table spread with a white linen cloth. From twenty-five to
thirty communicants approach the table at a time. The officiating
minister makes a free prayer, and then, while repeating the words of
institution, presents the elements to his neighbours on the left and
on the right, after which the dish and the cup pass from hand to
hand. With various modifications this type has been adopted by all the
Reformed (Non-Episcopal) Churches.’

This is practically the method adopted in most of the British
Non-Episcopal Churches; instead, however, of the communicants coming
forward to the table, they remain in their pews, the bread and wine
being handed round by elders or deacons. In the American Non-Episcopal
Churches the same plan is usually adopted.

These divergencies of method illustrate the strange fact in the
Christian life, that around the simple and beautiful institution of
the Lord’s Supper there have raged the fiercest controversies in
religious history. So divergent are the views held about it, that the
Roman Catholic Church asserts that in every celebration of the Mass
our Saviour is again actually offered as a sacrifice, and the bread
and wine become the actual body and blood of the Lord, this miracle of
transformation being wrought through the consecrating prayer of the
priest. The Quakers, at the other extreme, do not observe the service
at all, and do not consider it to be a binding ordinance. Here, as so
often in life, the truth lies between the extremes. The bread and the
wine are the symbols of our Lord’s body and blood. We do not feed on
Him by the mere physical eating of the consecrated elements, but we
partake of Him through faith as we remember that His body was broken
for us, and His blood shed for the remission of our sins. His own
loving command as He sat at the table with His disciples was, ‘This
do in remembrance of Me,’ and it is through fellowship with Him in
spirit—in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary—that ‘we
feed on Him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.’

There is a semi-sacred bread eaten by the English race, and by no one
else—the hot-cross bun—millions of which are devoured in England on
Good Friday. Its origin is obscure, as is also that of the word ‘bun.’
Most dictionaries derive it from the old French _bigne_, or _bugne_—a
swelling; but it certainly occurs in an early _Promptorium Parvulorum_,
as ‘bunne-brede.’ Anent ‘Eating Buns on Good Friday,’ a correspondent
in the _Athenæum_ of April 4, 1857, p. 144, wrote:

‘In the _Museo Lapidario_ of the Vatican, on the Christian side of
it, and not far off from the door leading into the library, there
is a tablet representing in a rude manner the miracle of the five
barley loaves. Every visitor must have seen it, for it has been there
for years. The loaves are round, like cakes, and have a cross upon
them, such as our cakes bear, which are broken and eaten on Good
Friday morning, symbolical of the sacrifice of the body of our Lord.
Five of these cakes, explanatory of the scene, are ranged beneath
an arch-shaped table, at which recline five people, while another,
with a basket full, is occupied in serving them. The cakes are so
significant of the Bread of Life that one might almost regard the
repast as intended to prefigure the sacrifice that was to follow, and
the institution connected with it. Having, from the earliest period of
memory, cherished a particular regard for hot-cross buns and all their
pleasing associations, it was a source of gratifying reflection to
see my old favourites thus brought into intimate association with the
pious thoughts of the primitive Christians, and to know that at home
we cherished an ancient usage on Good Friday which the more Catholic
nations of Europe no longer observed. But, alas! there is always some
drawback to our full satisfaction in this world, and knowledge is often
a cruel dissipation of favourite convictions; my faith in the Christian
biography of these buns has recently received a very rude shock.

‘It would appear that they have descended to us, not from any Popish
practice, as some _pious_ souls affirm, but from one which was
actually, and, like the word which we use to signify the great festival
of the Church, _Easter_, to a paganism as ancient as the worship of
_Astarte_, in honour of whom, about the time of the Passover, our pagan
ancestors, the Saxons, baked and offered up a particular kind of cake.
We read in Jeremiah (vii. 17, 18): “Seest thou not what they do in the
cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather
wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough,
to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.” [See also Jeremiah xliv. 18,
19.] Dr. Stukeley, in his _Medallic History of Valerius Carausius_,
remarks that they were “assiduous to knead the Easter cakes for her
service.” The worship of a Queen of Heaven, under some significant name
or other, was an almost universal practice, and exists still in various
parts of the globe. She is usually represented, like the Madonna,
bearing her son in her lap, or like Isis, with the infant Horus. We
may see such images in the Louvre, and in the great Ethnographical
Museum at Copenhagen, where the Queen of Heaven of the Chinese,
_Tien-how_, figures in white porcelain, side by side with _Schling-mu_,
the Holy Mother. Certain metaphysical ideas are apt to flow in a common
channel, and get clothed in the same symbolical dress. Hence we find
a Queen of Heaven, no less in Mexico than in China, in Egypt, Greece,
Italy, and England; and, under the pagan title of a Christian festival,
preserve, along with our buns, the memorial of her ancient reign.’



But there is a bread which must not escape notice—a true bread—although
somewhat sweet and spiced. When it was first introduced into England no
one can tell, but it was well known in the reign of Queen Elizabeth,
for Shakespeare, in _Love’s Labour Lost_ (Act V., S. 1), makes Costard
say: ‘An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy
gingerbread.’ And we find it used in a similar way to the educational
biscuits of the present day; for Matthew Prior, in his _Alma_ says:

 ‘To Master John, the English maid
  A horn-book gives, of gingerbread;
  And, that the child may learn the better,
  As he can name, he eats the letter.’

It was made with honey, before the introduction of sugar, and must be
of remote antiquity and intimately allied to our friend the _Bous_.
The Rhodians made bread with honey which was so pleasant that it was
eaten as cake after dinner. The German gingerbread and the French _pain
d’épice_ used both to be made with honey. The use of gingerbread is
widely spread, and wherever it is eaten it is popular, even in the
far East Indies, where both natives and Anglo-Indians rejoice in it.
In Holland it is in more request than in any other country in Europe,
and the recipe for its manufacture is guarded as a jealous secret and
descends as an heirloom from father to son.

[Illustration: Hot Gingerbread, Smoking Hot.]

In its early days gingerbread was an unleavened cake, and the first
attempt to make it light was to introduce pearl-ash or potash;
afterwards alum was introduced, now it is made of ordinary fermented
dough, or with carbonate of ammonia. When well made, gingerbread will
last good for years; but if not well made, and of good materials, it
will last no time, but will get soft with the first damp weather. Such
was the stuff sold at fairs—both thick gingerbread and nuts—booths
being erected for the sale of nothing else. The background of these
booths was ornamented by gingerbread crowns, kings and queens, cocks,
etc., dazzlingly resplendent with _pseudo_ gold leaf, or, as it was
then called, ‘Dutch metal.’ I do not think that anybody ever ate any of
these works of art, I think they were solely for ornament; and, when
combined with bows and streamers of bright-coloured ribbons, they made
the gingerbread booths the most attractive in the fair.

In the last century it was a great institution, and Swift, writing to
Stella, says: ‘’Tis a loss you are not here, to partake of three weeks’
frost, and eat gingerbread in a booth by a fire on the Thames.’ There
was a famous itinerant vendor of this article named Ford, but who was
more generally known as ‘Tiddy Diddy Doll,’ from a song he used to
sing whose words were but those. He flourished in the middle of last
century, and Hogarth painted him in one of the scenes of ‘Industry and
Idleness,’ where the idle apprentice is going to his doom.


Hone, in his _Every Day Book_, vol. i., p. 375, etc., gives a very
good account of Ford. He says: ‘This celebrated vendor of gingerbread,
from his eccentricity of character, and extensive dealings in his
way, was always hailed as the king of itinerant tradesmen.[17] In his
person he was tall, well made, and his features handsome. He affected
to dress like a person of rank—white and gold suit of clothes, laced
ruffled shirt, laced hat and feathers, white silk stockings, with the
addition of a fine white apron. Among his harangues to gain customers,
take this as a specimen: ‘Mary, Mary, where are you now, Mary? I
live, when I am at home, at the second house in Little Ball Street,
two steps underground, with a wiscum, riscum, and a why-not. Walk in,
ladies and gentlemen, my shop is on the second floor backwards, with
a brass knocker at the door. Here’s your nice gingerbread, your spice
gingerbread; it will melt in your mouth like a red-hot brick-bat, and
rumble in your inside like Punch and his wheel-barrow.’... For many
years (and perhaps at present) allusion was made to his name, as thus:
‘You are so fine, you look like Tiddy Doll. You are as tawdry as Tiddy
Doll. You are quite Tiddy Doll,’ etc.

But there is a use for badly-made gingerbread which perhaps some of us
do not know—a gingerbread barometer. It is nothing more than the figure
of a General made of gingerbread, which Clavette buys every year at the
_Place du Trone_. When he gets home he hangs his purchase on a nail.
You know the effect of the atmosphere on gingerbread; the slightest
moisture renders it soft; in dry weather, on the contrary, it grows
hard and tough. Every morning, on going out, Clavette asks his servant,
‘What does the General say?’ The man forthwith applies his thumb to the
figure, and replies, ‘The General feels flabby about the chest; you’d
better take your umbrella!’ On the other hand, when the symptoms are
hard and unyielding, our worthy colleague sallies forth in his new hat.

A curious use of dough, somewhat sweetened, was made at Christmas, when
it was manufactured into _Yule doughs_, or dows, or _Yule babies_,
small images like dolls with currants for eyes, intended probably to
represent the infant Jesus, which were presented by bakers to the
children of their customers. Another Christmas custom connected with
dough used to obtain in Wiltshire, where a hollow loaf, containing an
apple, and ornamented on the top with the head of a cock or a dragon,
with currant eyes, and made of paste, was baked, and put by a child’s
bedside on Christmas morning to be eaten before breakfast. This was
called a _Cop-a-loaf_, or _Cop-loaf_.

Much land in England was held by tenure, in which bread plays a part,
as the following instances out of many will show.[18]

Apelderham, Sussex.—John Aylemer holds by court roll one messuage and
one yard [thirty acres] land.... And he ought to find at three reap
days, in autumn, every day, two men, and was to have for each of the
said men, on every of such reap days, viz., on each of the two first
days, one loaf of wheat and barley mixed, weighing eighteen pounds of
wax, every loaf to be of the price of a penny farthing; and at the
third reap day each man was to have a loaf of the same weight, all of
wheat, of the price of a penny halfpenny.

Chakedon, Oxon.—Every mower on this manor was to have a loaf of the
price of a halfpenny, besides other things.

Glastonbury, Somerset.—In the thirty-third year of Edward I., William
Pasturell held twelve ox-gangs of land there from the abbot, by service
of finding a cook in the kitchen of the said abbot and a baker for the

Hallaton, Leicester.—A piece of land was bequeathed to the use and
advantage of the rector, who was there to provide ‘two hare pies, a
quantity of ale, and two dozen of penny loaves, to be scrambled for on
Easter Monday annually.’

Lenneston or Loston, Devon.—Geoffrey de Alba-Marlia held this hamlet of
the King, rendering therefore to the King, as often as he should hunt
in the Forest of Dartmoor, one loaf of oat bread of the value of half a
farthing, and three barbed arrows, feathered with peacock’s feathers,
and fixed in the aforesaid loaf.

Liston, Essex.—In the forty-first year of Edward III., Nan, the wife
of William Leston, held the manor of Overhall, in this parish, by the
service of paying for, bringing in, and placing of five wafers before
the King, as he sits at dinner, upon the day of his coronation.

Twickenham, Middlesex.—There was an ancient custom here of dividing
two great cakes in the church among the young people on Easter Day;
but, it being looked upon as a superstitious relic, it was ordered by
Parliament, in 1645, that the parishioners should forbear that custom,
and instead thereof buy loaves of bread for the poor of the parish
with the money that should have bought the cakes. It is probable that
the cakes were bought at the vicar’s expense; for it appears that the
sum of one pound per annum is still charged upon the vicarage for the
purpose of buying penny loaves for poor children on the Thursday before
Easter. Within the memory of man they were thrown from the church
steeple to be scrambled for.

Wells, Dorset.—Richard de Wells held this manor ever since the Conquest
by the service of being baker to our Lord the King.

Witham, Essex.—By an inquisition made in the reign of Henry III., it
appears that one Geoffrey de Lyston held land at Witham by the service
of carrying flour to make wafers on the King’s birthday, whenever his
Majesty was in the Kingdom.

Of bread, as given away in charity or by dole, the examples in England
are almost numberless; still a few somewhat redeemed from common place,
and extracted from the Report on Charities, may interest the reader.[19]

Assington, Suffolk.—John Winterflood, by will dated April 2, 1593,
gave to the poor of Assington four bushels of meslin (wheat and rye)
payable out of the manor of Aveley Hall, to be distributed in bread at
Christmas; and four bushels of meslin, out of the rectory or priory
of Assington, to be distributed in bread at Easter; and under this
donation four bushels of wheat are brought to Assington Church and
distributed among the poor at Christmas, and the like quantity of wheat
at Easter.

St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, London.—Several benefactors have given
bread to the poor of this parish. Richard Crowshaw, goldsmith, by will,
April 26, 1531, directed that 100_l._ should be paid to provide 2_s._
weekly for ever, to be laid out in good cheese, to be delivered to the
poor parishioners of this parish, according as they received the bread,
which then was and had been long given them.

[Illustration: THE BIDDENDEN MAIDS.]

Another bread and cheese charity still obtains in the village of
Biddenden, Kent, about four miles from Tenterden; and it is noticeable
on account of the tradition which assigns its foundation to a _lusus
naturæ_ similar to the Siamese twins of our day. The founders of the
charity, according to tradition, were Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst, who
were born in 1100, and lived together, joined at hips and shoulders,
for 34 years. To perpetuate their memory, biscuits, measuring 3-1/2 in.
by 2 in. and about 1/4 in. thick, are made and distributed with the
dole of bread on Easter Sunday. On these biscuits is stamped a rude
representation of the ‘Biddenden Maids.’ There are two moulds, one made
of beech-wood, judging from the twins’ costume of _commode_, or cap,
and laced bodice, dates from the time of William and Mary or Anne; the
other, which is of boxwood, although an attempted copy, is undoubtedly
more modern. The writer has the biscuits, and with them came the
following paper, headed by a rough woodcut:

‘A short and concise history of Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst, who were
both joined together by the hips and shoulders, in the year of our
Lord 1100, at Biddenden, in the County of Kent, commonly called “The
Biddenden Maids.”’

The reader will observe by the plate that they lived together in the
above state 34 years, at the expiration of which time one of them was
taken ill, and in a short time died; the surviving one was advised to
be separated from the body of her deceased sister by dissection, but
she absolutely refused the separation by saying these words, ‘As we
came together we will also go together’; and in the space of about six
hours after her sister’s decease she was taken ill and died also.

By their will they bequeathed to the churchwardens of the parish of
Biddenden and their successor churchwardens, for ever, certain pieces
or parcels of land in the parish of Biddenden, containing 20 acres,
more or less, which are now let at 40 guineas per annum. There are
usually made, in commemoration of these wonderful phenomena of Nature,
about 1000 rolls (_sic_) with their impressions printed on them, and
given away to all strangers on Easter Sunday, after Divine Service
in the afternoon; also about 500 quartern loaves, and cheese in
proportion, to all the poor inhabitants of the said parish.

Hasted, in his _History of the County of Kent_ (edit. 1790, Vol. III.,
p. 66), says, with regard to this benefaction: ‘There is a vulgar
tradition in these parts that the figures on the cakes represent the
donors of this gift, being two women—twins—who were joined together in
their bodies, and lived together so till they were between 20 and 30
years of age. But this seems without foundation. The truth seems to be
that it was the gift of two maidens of the name of _Preston_, and that
the print of the women on the cakes has only taken place within these
50 years, and was made to represent two poor widows, as the general
objects of a charitable benefaction. _William Horner_, rector of this
parish, in 1656, brought a suit in the Exchequer for the recovery of
these lands, as having been given for an augmentation of his glebe
land; but he was nonsuited.’



Bread riots are of comparatively modern date. In the olden days people
suffered from scarcity, but they suffered without making senseless
riots. There was no Free Trade in corn, and the people had to depend
upon home-grown cereals; so that in times of drought or failure of
crops they felt the pinch terribly. True, they had a certain amount of
protection against overcharge and combination in the form of the Assize
of Bread, which, while it gave the baker a working profit, gave the
consumer the benefit of a sliding-scale according to the market value
of wheat.

It is not worth while going very far back to write the history of hard
times and how they were met; a hundred years is quite long enough for
retrospect. Suffice it, then, that the years 1795-96 were years of
great scarcity, and all classes, from the peasant to the King, felt it,
and met it like men. To cope with this dearth, the best way seemed to
them to diminish, as far as possible, the use of wheaten flour, and to
provide substitutes therefor. The King set his subjects a good example.

‘His Majesty has given orders for the bread used in his household to
be made of meal and rye mixed. No other sort is permitted to be baked,
and the royal family eat bread of the same quality as their servants
do. It is extremely sweet and palatable.

‘One half flour, and half potatoes, also make a very excellent bread.’
(_Times_, July 22, 1795.)

‘The writer of this paragraph has seen the bread that is eaten at
his Majesty’s table. It consists of two sorts only, the one composed
of wheaten flour and rye mixed; the other is half wheaten flour,
half potato flour. If ever example deserved imitation, it is this.’
(_Times_, July 30, 1795.)

People were requested to discontinue the use of hair powder, which was
made of starch obtained from wheat, and very many did so; in fact, this
movement extended to the Army, for we read in the _Times_, Feb. 10,
1795: ‘In consequence of the scarcity of wheat, arising partly from
such quantities of it being used for hair powder, several regiments
have, very patriotically, discontinued the use of hair powder, which,
in these instances, was generally nothing but flour.’

Potatoes came very much to the fore as a substitute for wheat, and the
Parliamentary Board of Agriculture proposed a premium of one thousand
pounds to the person who would grow the largest breadth of potatoes on
lands never before applied to the culture of that plant.

The City authorities watched the bakers narrowly as to short weight
and amerced them 5_s._ per ounce short, one man having to pay, with
costs, £106 5_s._ on 420 ounces deficient in weight. Wheat in August,
1795, was 13_s._ 6_d._ per bushel, and the price of the quartern loaf
should then have been 1_s._ 6_d._, as it was 1_s._ 3_d._ in January,
1796, when wheat was 11_s._ 6_d._ per bushel. It fell rapidly after
harvest and in December, 1796, was 7_s._ 4_d._ per bushel. It must be
remembered that money then had twice its present value.

In 1800 there was another scarcity, and in February of that year a
Bill passed into law which enacted ‘That it shall not be lawful for
any baker, or other person, or persons, residing within the cities of
London and Westminster, and the Bills of Mortality, and within ten
miles of the Royal Exchange, after the 26th day of February, 1800, or
residing in any part of Great Britain after the 4th day of March, 1800,
to sell, or offer to expose for sale, any bread, until the same shall
have been baked 24 hours at the least.’

The average price of wheat this year was 14_s._ 1_d._ per bushel, and
in July, just before harvest, it rose to 16_s._ 10_d._ or 134_s._ 8_d._
per quarter, and other provisions were very dear. The people were less
patient than in 1795-6, and in August and September several riots took
place at Birmingham, Oxford, Nottingham, Coventry, Norwich, Stamford,
Portsmouth, Sheffield, Worcester, and many other places. The markets
were interrupted, and the populace compelled the farmers, etc., to sell
their provisions at a low price.

At last these riots extended to London, beginning in a very small way.
Late at night on Saturday, September 13, or early on Sunday, the 14th,
two large, written placards were pasted on the Monument, the text of
which was—

 ‘Bread will be sixpence the quartern, if the people will
   assemble at the Corn Market on Monday.


‘How long will ye quietly and cowardly suffer yourselves to be imposed
upon and half-starved by a set of mercenary slaves and Government
hirelings? Can you still suffer them to proceed in their extensive
monopolies while your children are crying for bread? No! let them
not exist a day longer. We are the sovereignty; rise then from your
lethargy. Be at the Corn Market on Monday.’

By means of these placards, and handbills to the same effect, a mob
of over a thousand was collected in Mark Lane by nine a.m., and their
number was doubled in another hour. They hissed and pelted the corn
factors; but, about eleven a.m., when they began to break windows, the
Lord Mayor appeared upon the spot. In vain he assured them that their
behaviour could in no way affect the market. They only yelled at him,
‘Cheap bread!’ ‘Birmingham and Nottingham for ever!’ ‘Three loaves for
eighteen-pence,’ etc. They even hissed the Lord Mayor and smashed the
windows close by him. This was more than he could bear, and he ordered
the Riot Act to be read. The constables charged the mob, who, of
course, fled, and the Lord Mayor returned to the Mansion House.

They only went to other parts of the City, and, when night fell, they
began smashing windows, etc. At last, fear of their firing the City
induced the authorities to invoke the assistance of some Volunteers and
Militia, and by their efforts the mob was driven over London Bridge
into Southwark, where they rendered the night lively by breaking
windows, etc.

For a day or two there was peace; but on the morning and during the
day and night of the 18th of September the mob had it all their own
way, breaking windows and pillaging. A royal proclamation was issued,
calling on the civil authorities to suppress these riots, which was
done at last by means of cavalry and Volunteers, but only after the mob
having two more days’ uncontrolled possession of London. But the people
in the country were not so quickly satisfied; their wages were smaller
than those of their London brethren, and they proportionately felt the
pinch more acutely. In some instances they were put down by force, in
others the price of bread was lowered; but it is impossible at this
time to take up a newspaper and not find some notice of or allusion to
a food riot.

The importation of foreign corn supplied the deficiency of the English
crops, and bread was moderately cheap; but in 1815, probably with a
view to assuage the agricultural distress then prevalent, a measure was
proposed and passed by which foreign corn was to be prohibited, except
when wheat had reached 80_s._ a quarter—a price considered by the great
body of consumers as exorbitant. A resolution was passed ‘That it is
the opinion of the Committee that any sort of foreign corn, meal, or
flour, which may by law be imported into the United Kingdom shall at
all times be allowed to be brought into the United Kingdom, and to be
warehoused there, without payment of any duty whatever.’

The popular feeling was well worked on; and on March 6 groups of people
assembled near the Houses of Parliament, about the usual time of
meeting, hooting or cheering the members, and occasionally stopping a
carriage and making its occupant walk through the crowd, which at last
got so unruly that it was obliged to be dispersed by the military. Yet
the whole night they were parading the streets, breaking windows, and
yelling: ‘No Corn Bill!’ This conduct continued for two nights longer,
until the rioters had almost worn themselves out, when an increase of
military force finally extinguished the rising. But there were riots
all over the country.

In 1828 an Act of Parliament was passed which fixed the duty on foreign
wheat according to a ‘sliding scale,’ whereby it was diminished from
1_l._ 5_s._ 8_d._ per quarter whenever the average price of all England
was under 62_s._, and was gradually reduced, as wheat rose in price,
until the duty stood at 1_s._ when wheat was 73_s._ and upwards.

Great agitation prevailed as to free corn; and on September 18, 1838,
the Anti-Corn Law League, for procuring the repeal of the laws charging
duty upon the importation of corn, was founded at Manchester. This
organisation lectured, harangued, distributed pamphlets, and was
perpetually in evidence—and at last succeeded in its object.

The 5 Vict., c. 14 (April 29, 1842), was a revised sliding scale. When
wheat was under 51_s._ the duty to be 1_l_.; when 73_s._ and over,
1_s._; and this lasted until the Corn Importation Bill (9, 10, Vic.,
c. 22) was passed on June 26, 1846, which reduced the duty on wheat to
4_s._ when imported at or above 53_s._, until Feb. 1, 1849, when 1_s._
duty per quarter only was to be levied on all kinds of imported grain.
This shilling was taken off on June 24, 1869, and there is now no
hindrance of any sort to the importation of foreign corn.

Although there was fierce political contention over the Anti-Corn Law
agitation physical force was not resorted to, and the next bread riots
we hear of were in 1855. They seem to have begun at Liverpool, where,
on Feb. 19, an unruly mob took possession of the city, clamouring for
bread and looting the bakers’ shops. The police were unable to cope
with the riot; therefore, special constables were sworn in and peace
was restored towards evening. Next day about 60 prisoners were brought
before the magistrates; some were committed for trial, others sentenced
to one, two, or three months’ imprisonment.

The riot spread to London, and during the night of Feb. 21 and the
whole day of Feb. 22 the East End and South of London were terrorised
by bands of men perambulating the streets and demanding bread and money
from the inhabitants; some shops were looted, but, thanks to the police
and the distribution of a large quantity of bread, serious consequences
were averted. Several arrests were made and punishment duly meted out.

On September 14, 1855, there were bread riots in Nottingham, where the
mob broke the bakers’ windows and proceeded to such extremities that
special constables were sworn in and peace was restored.

On three successive Sundays, October 14, 21, and 28, 1855, there were
disorderly meetings on account of the dearness of bread held in Hyde
Park; the windows of many houses were smashed, but the disturbances
hardly amounted to riot; and the same occurred on November 4, 11, and
18, but the police prevented the mob from doing much mischief. Since
then we have never known a _bread riot_, although the unemployed,
Anarchists, etc., have at times been troublesome.



As might be expected in an article of such worldwide consumption
as bread, there is a considerable amount of folk-lore and sayings
attendant on it. We can even find it in Shakespeare, for, in _Hamlet_
(Act iv. s. 5), Ophelia says: ‘They say the owl was a baker’s
daughter.’ This, unless one knew the Gloucestershire legend, would be
unintelligible, but the bit of folk-lore makes it all clear. The story
goes that our Saviour went into a baker’s shop, where they were baking,
and asked for some bread to eat. The mistress of the shop immediately
put a piece of dough into the oven to bake for Him, but was reprimanded
by her daughter, who, insisting that the piece of dough was too large,
reduced it to a very small size. The dough, however, immediately
afterwards began to swell, and presently became a most enormous loaf;
whereupon the baker’s daughter cried out: ‘Heugh! heugh! heugh!’ which
owl-like noise probably induced our Saviour to transform her into that
bird. This tradition is also current in Wales; but, there, the baker’s
daughter altogether refuses to give Jesus a bit of dough, for which
He changed her into the _Cassek gwenwyn, lilith, lamia, strix_, the
night-spectre, _mara_, the screech-owl.

In the catalogue of the pictures at Kenilworth, belonging to Queen
Elizabeth’s Earl of Leicester at the time of his death (September 4,
1588), are ‘The Picture of King Philip, with a Curtaine,’ and ‘The
Picture of the Baker’s Daughter, with a Curtaine.’ And he had a copy of
the same, or another picture of ‘The Baker’s Daughter,’ at his house at
Wanstead. Whether this was a picture of the foregoing legend or not, no
one can tell; but it has been suggested, from the fact of King Philip
and the baker’s daughter coming in sequence in the catalogue, that it
was the portrait of a female respecting whom there was some scandal
current during Mary’s lifetime; it being said in an old ballad that
Philip loved

 ‘The baker’s daughter, in her russet gown,
  Better than Queen Mary, with her crown.’

Here is another story of miraculous bread. The _Mirakel Steeg_ (Miracle
Street), at Leyden, derives its name from a miracle which happened
there in 1315, and which is thus related in the _Kronyk van Holland van
den Klerk_: ‘In the aforesaid year of famine, in the town of Leyden,
there occurred a signal miracle to two women who lived next door to
each other; for one having bought a barley loaf she cut it into two
pieces and laid one half by, for that was all her living, because of
the great dearness and famine that prevailed. And as she stood, and was
cutting off the one half for her children, her neighbour, who was in
great want and need through hunger, saw her, and begged her, for God’s
sake, to give her the other half, and she would pay her well. But she
denied again and again, and affirmed mightily and by oath that she had
no other bread, and as her neighbour would not believe her, she said in
an angry mood: “If I have any bread in my house more than this, I pray
God that it may turn to stone.” Then her neighbour left her and went
away. But when the first half of the loaf was eaten up, and she went
for the other half which she had laid by, that bread was become stone,
which stone, just as the bread was, is now at Leyden, at St. Peter’s
Church, and as a sign they are wont, on all high feast days, to lay it
before the Holy Ghost.’

A stone loaf, supposed to be this one, is now shown at the hospital in
Middelburg, where, in the vestibule, hangs an old picture representing
the miracle at Leyden. The original stone loaf, it is believed,
disappeared from Leyden about the time of the Reformation.

Of all extraordinary uses to which a loaf of bread could be put is that
of ‘sin eating,’ by which, at a funeral, a man was found who would for
a small fee eat a loaf of bread, in the eating of which he was supposed
to take the dead man’s sins upon himself. In a letter from John
Bagford, a famous bookseller, dated February 1, 1714-15, relating to
the antiquities of London, which is printed in Leland’s _Collectanea_,
he says: ‘Within the memory of our fathers in Shropshire, in those
villages adjoyning to Wales, when a person dyed there was notice given
to an old sire (for so they called him), who presently repaired to the
place where the deceased lay, and stood before the door of the house,
when some of the family came out and furnished him with a cricket, on
which he sat down, facing the door. Then they gave him a groat, which
he put in his pocket; a crust of bread, which he eat; and a full bowle
of ale, which he drank off at a draught. After this he got up from the
cricket and pronounced, with a composed gesture, _the ease and rest of
the soul departed, for which he would pawn his own soul_. This I had
from the ingenious John Aubrey, Esq., who made a collection of curious
observations, which I have seen, and is now remaining in the hands of
Mr. Churchill, the bookseller. How can a man think otherwise of this
than it proceeded from the ancient heathens?’

This MS. of Aubrey’s, of which Bagford speaks, is, most probably, that
now preserved in the British Museum (Lansdowne MSS. 231) entitled
‘Romains of Gentilisme and Judaisme,’ and dated February, 1686-7. In it
he thus writes:

‘SINNE-EATERS.—In the County of Hereford was an old custom at funeralls
to have poor people, who were to take upon them all the sinnes of the
party deceased. One of them, I remember, lived in a cottage on Rosse
Highway. (He was a long, lean, ugly, lamentable poor raskal.) The
manner was, that when the Corps was brought out of the house, and layd
on the Biere, a Loafe of bread was brought out, and delivered to the
Sinne-eater over the corps, as also a Mazar-bowle of Maple (Gossips’
bowle) full of beer, which he was to drinke up, and sixpence in money,
in consideration whereof he tooke upon him (_ipso facto_) all the
Sinnes of the Defunct, and freed him (or her) from walking after they
were dead. This custome alludes (methinkes) something to the Scapegoate
in ye old Lawe. Leviticus, cap. xvi. verse 21-22: “And Aaron shall lay
both his hands on the head of the live goate, and confesse over him all
ye iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions
in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall
send him away, by the hand of a fitt man, into the wildernesse.” This
custome (though rarely used in our dayes) yet by some people was
continued even in the strictest time of ye Presbyterian government; as
at Dynder, _nolens volens_ the Parson of ye Parish, the relations of a
woman deceased there had the ceremonie punctually performed according
to her Will; also the like was done at ye City of Hereford, in these
times, when a woman kept, manie yeares before her death, a Mazard bowle
for the sinne-eater; and the like as in other places in this Countie,
as also in Brecon, _e.g._, at Llangors, where Mr. Givin, the minister,
about 1640, could no hinder ye performing of this ancient custome. I
believe this custome was, heretofore, used all over Wales’.

‘See _Juvenal_, Satyr vi. (519-521) where he speaks of throwing purple
thread into the river to carry away one’s sinnes.

‘In North Wales the Sinne-eaters are frequently made use of; but there,
instead of a Bowle of Beere, they have a bowle of Milke.

‘Methinkes, Doles to Poore people with money at Funeralls have some
resemblance to that of ye Sinne-eater. Doles at Funeralls were
continued at gentlemen’s funerals in the West of England till the
Civil-warre. And so in Germany at rich men’s funerals Doles are in use,
and to everyone a quart of strong and good beer.’

Anent these doles, Pennant says it was customary, when the corpse was
brought out of the house and laid upon the bier, for the next-of-kin,
be it widow, mother, sister, or daughter (for it must be a female), to
give over the coffin a quantity of white loaves in a great dish, and
sometimes a cheese, with a piece of money stuck in it, to certain poor
persons. After that they presented in the same manner a cup of drink,
and required the person to drink a little of it immediately.

Sin-eating survived the times of Aubrey and Bagford, for in a book,
_Christmas Evans, the Preacher of Wild Wales_, by the Rev. Paxton Hood,
Lond., 1881, he says: ‘The superstition of the Sin-eater is said to
linger, even now, in the secluded vale of Cwm-Aman, in Carmarthenshire.
The meaning of this most singular institution of superstition was,
that when a person died, the friends sent for the Sin-Eater of the
district, who, on his arrival, placed a plate of salt and bread on the
breast of the deceased person; he then uttered an incantation over the
bread, after which he proceeded to eat it, thereby eating the sins of
the dead person; this done, he received a fee of two and sixpence,
which, we suppose, was much more than many a preacher received for a
long and painful service. Having received this, he vanished as quickly
as possible, all the friends and relatives of the departed aiding his
exit with blows and kicks, and other indications of their faith in the
service he had rendered. A hundred years since, and through the ages
before that time, we suppose this curious superstition was everywhere

Bread and salt are used in several ways. In Russia, Servia, and
wherever the Greek Church holds sway, they are presented to
honoured guests as a welcome. The custom even obtains in England. A
correspondent of _Notes and Queries_ (5 Series ix. 48), says: ‘Some
years since I called for the first time on Canon Percy, of Carlisle, at
his residence there. When refreshments had been offered and declined,
he said: “You must have some bread and salt,” with some remarks to
imply that it was the way to establish a friendship. These were then
brought in and eaten, without anything to lead one to suppose that this
was an unusual custom in the house.’

There was another curious custom in the North of England, as another
correspondent shows in the same volume (p. 138): ‘In the North Riding,
20 or 30 years ago, a roll of new bread, a pinch of table salt, and a
new silver groat, or fourpenny-piece, were offered to every babe on
its first visit to a friend’s house. The gift was certainly made, more
than once, to me, and I recollect seeing it made to other babies. The
groat was reserved for its proper owner, but the nurse, who carried
that owner, appropriated the bread and salt, and was gratified with
a half-crown or so.’ Several other correspondents confirm this, and
somewhat enlarge upon it, including in the gift an egg and a match. One
(5 Ser. x. 216) thus explains the custom: ‘The custom of presenting an
egg, etc., is widely distributed. I can answer for it in Lincolnshire,
Yorkshire, and Durham. In Lincolnshire, at the first visit of a new
baby at a friendly house, it is presented with “an egg, both meat and
drink; salt, which savours everything; bread, the staff of life; a
match, to light it through the world; and a coin, that it may never
want money.” This is the case at Winterton, where it is still done. In
Durham, a piece of christening-cake is hidden under the child’s robe,
and given to the first person of the opposite sex met on coming out
of church. This is wholly distinct from the egg presentation.’ It is
common at Edinburgh, and in other parts of Scotland, to give bread and
cheese, on the Sabbath, to the first person of the opposite sex met
with when the baby is taken to church to be baptised.

One of the most peculiar uses to which a loaf of bread could be put is
the discovery of the bodies of drowned persons. The earliest instance I
can find is in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1767, p. 189. (It is also
in the _Annual Register_ for the same year.) ‘Wednesday, April 8.—An
inquisition was taken, at Newbery, Berks, on the body of a child, near
two years old, who fell into the river Kennet and was drowned. The jury
brought in their verdict, Accidental death. The body was discovered by
a very singular experiment, which was as follows: After diligent search
had been made in the river for the child, to no purpose, a twopenny
leaf, with a quantity of quicksilver put into it, was set floating
from the place where the child, it was supposed, had fallen in, which
steered its course down the river, upwards of half a mile, before a
great number of spectators, when the body, happening to lay on the
contrary side of the river, the loaf suddenly tacked about, and swam
across the river, and gradually sunk near the child, when both the
child and loaf were immediately brought up with grubbers ready for that

This superstition has survived till modern times, as the following
three or four instances will show. On January 24, 1872, a boy named
Harris fell into the stream at Sherborne, Dorsetshire, near Dark Hole
Mill, and was drowned. The body not having been found for some days,
the following expedient was adopted to discover its whereabouts: On
January 30, a four-pound loaf, of the best flour, was procured, and a
small piece cut out of its side, forming a cavity, into which a little
quicksilver was poured. The piece was then replaced and tied firmly in
its original position. The loaf, thus prepared, was then thrown into
the river at the spot where the boy fell in, and was expected to float
down the stream until it came to the place where the body was supposed
to have lodged, when it began to eddy round and round, thus indicating
the sought-for spot; but on this occasion there was no result.

A writer in _Notes and Queries_, January 3, 1878, p. 8, says: ‘A young
woman has singularly disappeared at Swinton, near Sheffield. The canal
has been unsuccessfully dragged, and the Swinton folk are now going
to test the merits of a local superstition which afirms that a loaf
of bread containing quicksilver, if cast upon the water, will drift
to, keep afloat, and remain stationary over any dead body which may be
lying immersed out of sight.’

The _Leeds Mercury_, October 26, 1883, has the following: ‘A Press
Association despatch says: Adelaide Amy Terry, servant to Dr. Williams,
of Brentford, was sent to a neighbour with a message on Sunday
evening, and as she did not return, and was known to be short-sighted,
it was feared she had fallen into the canal, which was dragged, but
without success. On Tuesday an old bargewoman suggested that a loaf of
bread, in which some quicksilver had been placed, should be floated in
the water. This was done, and the loaf became stationary at a certain
spot The dragging was resumed there, and the body was discovered.’

The following is from the _Stamford Mercury_, December 18, 1885:
‘At Ketton, on Tuesday, an inquest was held by Mr. Shield, coroner,
touching the death of Harry Baker, aged twenty-three, who was missed
on the night of November 27, after the termination of the polling for
the county election, and was believed to have walked into the ford,
near the stone bridge, during the darkness. The river at that time
was running strongly, and deceased had no companions with him. The
dragging-irons from Stamford were obtained, and a protracted search
was made in the river, but without result. However, in obedience to
the wish of Baker’s mother, a loaf charged with quicksilver (said to
have been scraped from an old looking-glass) was cast upon the waters,
and it came to a standstill in the river at the bottom of Mr. Lewin’s
field. Here the grappling-hooks were put in, and at four o’clock on
Monday afternoon last the corpse was brought to the surface, having
been in the water seventeen days. The river had been dragged several
times before at this spot.’

Nor is this superstition confined to England, for in Brittany, when
the body of a drowned man cannot be found, a lighted taper is fixed
in a loaf consecrated to St. Nicholas, which is then abandoned to the
retreating current, and where the loaf stops there they expect to find
the body. In Germany the name of the drowned person is inscribed on the
bread. And a somewhat similar idea seems to obtain among the Canadian
Indians, for Sir Jas. E. Alexander, in his _L’Acadie_ (p. 26), says:
‘The Indians imagine that in the case of a drowned body its place may
be discovered by floating a chip of cedar-wood, which will stop and
turn round over the exact spot. An instance occurred within my own
knowledge in the case of Mr. Lavery, of Kingston Mill, whose boat
overset, and the person was drowned near Cedar Island; nor could the
body be discovered until the experiment was resorted to.’

Aubrey (_Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme_) says he had the following
from old Mr. Frederick Vaughan: ‘The Friar’s Mendicant heretofore would
take their opportunity to come to the houses when the good woemen did
bake, and would _read a Ghospel over the batch_, and the good woman
would give them a cake, etc. It should seem by Chaucer’s tale that they
had a fashion to beg in rhyme—

 “Of your white bread I would desire a shiver,
  And of your hen, the liver.”’

And Aubrey’s friend, Dr. White Kennet, says in the same book: ‘In Kent
and many other parts the women when they have kneaded their dough into
a loaf cut ye form of a cross on the top of it.’

I have been favoured by the Rev. T. F. Thiselton-Dyer, whose works on
folk-lore are so deservedly well known, with the following notes on
superstitions about bread:

‘Throughout the world a special respect has always been paid to
bread as the “staff of life.” Hence, according to a trite and common
saying: “The man who wastes bread will live to want.” It is not
surprising, indeed, that this food of man, which in some form or other
is indispensable, should have from time immemorial been invested with
an almost sacred character, anyone who is recklessly careless of the
household loaf incurring risk of poverty one day himself.

‘At the outset, it may be noticed that, as a precautionary measure
against mishaps of any kind, many housewives were formerly in the habit
of making the sign of the cross on their loaves of bread before placing
them in the ovens, a practice which is still kept up in some parts of
the country. Various explanations have been assigned for this custom,
the common one being “that it prevents the bread turning out heavy.” In
Shropshire one day remarked an elderly maidservant: “We always make a
cross on the flour before baking, and on the malt before mashing up for
brewing. It’s to keep it from being bewitched.” Some, again, maintain
that the sign of the cross “keeps the bread from getting mouldy,” but
whatever the true reason, it is persistently adhered to in the West of
England. As, however, evil spirits and malicious fairies were generally
supposed to be powerless when confronted with the sign of the cross,
there is every reason to suppose that this is the origin of this

‘In days gone by, too, bread was used as a charm against witches, no
doubt from its being stamped with the sign of the holy cross. Herrick,
for instance, in his _Hesperides_, alludes to this usage in the
following rhyme:

 “Bring the holy crust of bread,
  Lay it underneath the head;
  ’Tis a certain charm to keep
  Hags away while children sleep.”

‘Bread, too, has long been employed as a physical charm for the
cure of various complaints. Thus, an old book, entitled _A Work for
Householders_, written in the early part of the 16th century, gives
this charm as in use for the toothache. “The Charmer taketh a piece of
white bread, and saith over that bread the Pater Noster, and maketh a
cross upon the bread; then doth he lay that piece of bread upon the
tooth that acheth or unto any sore, turning the cross unto the sore or
disease, and so is the person healed.” Then there was the famous Good
Friday bread, which was in request for its medicinal virtues, being
considered a sovereign remedy for diarrhœa when grated in a small
quantity of water. An anecdote is told of a cottager who lamented that
her poor neighbour must certainly die, because she had already given
her two doses of this bread, but, unfortunately, without any success.
Indeed, in days gone by, so much importance was attached to bread thus
baked, that there were in most parts few country houses in which it was
not to be found. At the present day also one may occasionally find the
custom kept up, especially in the Northern counties, where so many of
the old beliefs survive.

‘But these are not the only ways in which bread has been the source
of superstition, it having held a prominent place in numerous curious
ceremonies. Thus sailors used it as offerings to propitiate the
elements; and we are told how the seafaring community of Greece, in
the 17th century, were accustomed to take to sea 30 loaves of bread,
consecrated and named St. Nicholas’ loaves. In case of a storm these
were thrown into the sea one by one, until they had succeeded in
calming the waves.

‘Oblations of this kind were of frequent occurrence in past years. The
Russian sailor, in order to appease the angry spirit that troubled the
waters of the White Sea, would cast into the water a small cake or loaf
made of flour and butter. Again, a Norwegian story states that a sailor
wished, according to custom, to give on Christmas Day a cake to the
spirit that presided over the waters; but, when he came to the shore,
lo! the waters were frozen over. Unwilling to leave his little offering
on the ice, the sailor tried to make a hole; but in spite of all his
efforts it was not large enough for him to put his cake through.
Suddenly, to his surprise, a tiny hand, as white as snow, was stretched
through the hole, and seizing the offering withdrew with it.

‘To give a further illustration, we are told by a correspondent of
_Mélusine_ (Jan., 1885) that in the Isle de Sein “a little ship made
of bread crusts is suspended over the table, and on Holy Thursday it
is lowered down and burnt, while all uncover and the _Veni Creator_
is sung. Another bread ship is then suspended over the table. This
ceremony is known as the Ship Feast, and is designed to insure the
safety of the family fishing boat.” Among further beliefs current among
sailors in our own country is the notion that it is unlucky to turn a
loaf upside down after helping oneself from it, the idea being that for
every loaf so turned a ship will be wrecked. It is also said that if
a loaf parts in the hand while being cut it bodes dissensions in the
family—the separation of husband and wife.

‘Once more, bread is not without its many traditions and legendary
lore. According to a popular tale told of the City of Stavoreen,
Holland, there resided in it a certain rich virgin, who owned many
ships. One day she entertained a wizard, but gave him no bread. In
consequence of this serious omission he predicted her downfall,
remarking that bread was the most useful and necessary thing. Soon
after a shipmaster was bidden to procure the most valuable cargo in the
world. He chose a load of wheat; but on arriving with his cargo, he
was ordered to throw it overboard. It was in vain that he begged to be
allowed to give it to the poor. Accordingly it was thrown into the sea;
but the wheat sprouted, and a bank grew up, the harbour being ruined
for ever. A Welsh legend tells how, many years ago, a man who dwelt
in the parish of Myddvai saw three beautiful nymphs in the water, and
courted them. They, however, called him “Eater of Hard-baked Bread,”
and refused to have anything to do with him. One day, however, he
saw floating on the lake a substance resembling unbaked bread, which
he fished up and ate, and was thereby possessed of one of the lovely

‘Thus, in one form or another, bread can boast of an extensive and
widespread folk-lore, besides having in our own and other countries
been made the subject of numerous proverbs, many of which are
well-known from daily use as incorporating familiar truths. The common
saying, for instance, which says:

‘Never turn a loaf in the presence of a Menteith,’ originated with Sir
Walter Scott, in his _Tales by a Grandfather_, thus: Sir John Stewart
de Menteith was the person who betrayed Sir William Wallace to King
Edward. His signal was, when he turned a loaf set upon the table, the
guests were to rush on the patriot and seize him. Then there is the
phrase, “to cut large slices out of another man’s loaf,” referring to
those who look after themselves at their neighbour’s expense. A popular
Scotch proverb tells us that ‘Bread’s house skailed never”; in other
words, a full or hospitable house never wants visitors; and, according
to another old proverb, “Bread and milk is bairns’ meat, I wish them
sorry that lo’e it.”’


[1] _Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries_, by
David Livingstone. Lond. 1865, p. 543.

[2] Mulcture—fine.

[3] Lose.

[4] A measure containing 10 homers, or about 60 pints.

[5] Vol. II., 89.

[6] Vol. IV., 167, 168.

[7] _Ilios._ By Dr. H. Schliemann. London, 1880, pp. 32, 33.

[8] Prize.

[9] Knot.

[10] Hinges.

[11] Nostrils.

[12] Jongleur and joker.

[13] Took toll thrice.

[14] Some careful investigations have been made by M. Balland on the
temperature which is reached in the interior of a loaf of bread during
baking, and the results are published in the _Comptes Rendus_, Paris.
Delicate thermometers were inserted in the dough before placing it in
the oven, and on the removal of the loaf the temperature recorded was
carefully noted. It seems that, contrary to the opinions expressed
by some investigators—that the heat generated in the crumb of the
bread never exceeds 212° Fahr.—that is to say, the temperature of
boiling water—M. Balland finds that it invariably attains from 212° to
216° Fahr., while that of the outer crust, which cannot form at this
temperature, is very much higher.

[15] _The English Bread Book for Domestic Use, &c._, by Eliza Acton,
London, 1857. 8vo.

[16] _A Glossary of Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Terms._ By the Rev.
F. G. Lee. London: 1877; p. 17.

[17] He was a constant attendant in the crowds at Lord Mayor’s Day.

[18] _Tenures of Land and Customs of Manors_, originally collected by
Thomas Blount. London, 1874, 8vo.

[19] _A Collection of Old English Customs, etc._ By H. Edwards. London,





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  approve itself to all lovers of botany.’—_The Times._

=The Animals of the Bible.=


Naturalist to Sir G. Nares’ Arctic Expedition and Professor Hull’s
Palestine Expedition.

Illustrated. Cloth. 2s.

  ‘One feels in reading the book that much of the
  information has been obtained at first hand.’—_The

  ‘A capital handbook for teachers.’—_The Saturday Review._

=Plants of the Bible.=

By Rev. GEORGE HENSLOW, M.A., F.L.S., etc.

Illustrated from Photographs of the Plants themselves.

Foolscap 8vo. Cloth, 1s.

  ‘A brief but reasonable introduction to Scriptural
  botany.’—_The Manchester Guardian._



=The Bible Handbook.=

=An Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture.=

By the late JOSEPH ANGUS, D.D.

New Edition thoroughly Revised, and in part Re-written by SAMUEL G.

Author of ‘A Handbook of Church History,’ etc.

Large crown 8vo. Cloth gilt. 6s. net.

=The Tabernacle.=

=Its History and Structure.=


With a preface by Professor SAYCE, LL.D.

With a Map and Eighteen Illustrations and Diagrams.

Large crown 8vo. Cloth gilt. 5s.

  In regard to the precise form of the Tabernacle, so
  much necessarily depended upon a true understanding of
  the various linear measures of the Old Testament, that
  reconstruction was always attended with some doubt. Mr.
  Caldecott believes, however, that he has solved the last
  difficulty. =The Bible reader will find the volume of
  absorbing interest. Its text is finely illustrated by
  maps and plans specially prepared for the work. Professor
  Sayce contributes a commendatory Preface.=

=A Handbook of Church History.=

=From the Apostolic Era to the Dawn of the Reformation.=


Author of ‘A Handbook of Old Testament Hebrew,’ etc.

With Full Dates, Chronological Tables, and Index.

640 pages. 6s. net.

  For the purposes of the student it will be found simple
  in arrangement, lucid in style, and entirely without
  bias; while careful chronological and other tables will
  facilitate its use as a text-book. At the same time the
  history is eminently adapted for the general reader, who
  will find a subject, which is often rendered for him
  unapproachable by the dry and technical method of its
  treatment, dealt with in a style at once popular and

  ‘It is a capable and lucid narrative, which seems to
  succeed in treating a history which covers 14-1/2
  centuries in not too sketchy a manner, and which is not
  intent in establishing any partizan doctrine.’—_The

  ‘It is an interesting synoptic view of the history of the
  Western Church.’—_The Daily News._

  ‘It gives an able and interesting presentation of a
  subject which has often been made repellant by the manner
  in which it was treated.’—_The Scotsman._

  ‘It is a marvel of cheapness.’—_The Glasgow Herald._


=The Slave In History.=

=His Sorrows and his Emancipation.=


Some time Editor of _The Leisure Hour_.

With Portraits and with Six Illustrations by J. FINNEMORE, R.A.

Large Crown 8vo. Cloth gilt. 6s.

  _In this work Mr. Stevens presents a vivid picture of
  the life and circumstances of the slave in all ages and
  lands._ The influence of Christianity on the slave life,
  and the steps by which Christian nations successfully
  shook themselves free from complicity in slave-holding
  are carefully detailed; whilst the chief workers in
  the great emancipation movements of modern times are
  in turn brought before the reader’s attention. _The
  volume furnishes at once the most comprehensive and the
  most up-to-date survey of the slavery question._ The
  illustrations include some vivid pictures of slave-life,
  and incidents in the emancipation movement.

=The China Martyrs of 1900.=

=A Complete Roll of the Christian Heroes Martyred in China in 1900,
with Narratives of Survivors.=

Compiled and Edited by ROBERT COVENTRY FORSYTH, For 18 years a
Missionary in China of the Baptist Missionary Society.

With 144 Portraits and other Illustrations.

Demy 8vo. Cloth gilt 7s. 6d.

  This volume seeks to place on record in a permanent
  form a complete account of the terrible convulsion in
  China in the year 1900, known as the Boxer Movement. It
  contains the thrilling story of how death, for Christ’s
  sake, was bravely met in many of its most hideous forms
  by missionaries and native Christians alike. _It also
  describes some of the most miraculous escapes from death
  on the part of missionaries and native Christians._
  The story of the siege of Peking is described from a
  Christian point of view, and the author sums up his study
  of the great episode in the conviction that in China of
  to-day, as in other parts of the world in all ages, the
  blood of the martyrs will prove to be the seed of the

=Thirty Years In Madagascar.=

By the Rev. T. T. MATTHEWS, Of the London Missionary Society.

With Sixty-Two Portraits and other Illustrations from Photographs and
Sketches. Demy 8vo. Cloth gilt. 6s.

  ‘Mr. Matthews’ story forms a splendid record of good
  work accomplished, and the volume is by far the most
  interesting and entertaining of all the books which have
  been published lately concerning missionary life in the
  great African island.’ _The Athenæum._

  ‘It is a remarkable record of Christian activity.’—_The
  Pall Mall Gazette._

  ‘The intrinsic worth of the book ought to ensure its
  success, for it takes a place of its own among Missionary
  volumes.’—_The Examiner._


=Champions of the Truth.=

=Short Lives of Christian Leaders in Thought and Action. By various

Edited by A. R. BUCKLAND, M.A.

With Portraits. Crown 8vo. Cloth gilt. 3s. 6d.

  ‘Here are pen portraits of eighteen Evangelical teachers,
  beginning with Wyclif and ending with Spurgeon. It need
  hardly be said, perhaps, that their eighteen biographers
  treat them from about the same point of view. The
  admirable thing is that, though that point of view is
  one with which a given reader may not be so fortunate
  as to find himself in sympathy, it is one which has the
  advantage of showing the subject of the biography at his
  best. A very pleasant volume, and the more to be valued
  for the sake of its fifteen portraits.’—_The Academy._

=Hugh Latimer.=


Author of ‘William Tindale,’ etc.

New Edition, Revised. With a Portrait. Large crown 8vo.

Cloth gilt. 3s. 6d.

  The First Edition of this work was published by the
  Society in 1869, but so careful was the Author in his
  method and research that it still ranks as the STANDARD

=The Homes and Haunts of Luther.=


Third Edition. Thoroughly Revised by C. H. IRWIN, M.A.

With Eleven Illustrations. Crown 8vo. Cloth gilt. 2s. 6d.

  Several new Illustrations appear in this Third Edition,
  including a fine reproduction of a very rare portrait
  of Luther by Cranach. The reviser’s notes contain a
  considerable amount of new material, especially in regard
  to Wittenberg and the restoration of its historic Castle

  ‘The teaching of this sturdy Protestant Reformer
  re-shaped the Religious history of the world; and the
  story of his life as told in these fascinating pages
  cannot be too often enforced.’—_The Record._



=An Artist’s Walks in Bible Lands.=

By HENRY A. HARPER, Author of “Walks in Palestine,” etc.

With a Photogravure Frontispiece, and 55 other fine Illustrations from
Drawings by the Author. Super royal 8vo. Cloth gilt, 6s. net.

  “Mr. Harper could give a capital pen-picture of what
  he saw, and by the aid of his pencil was enabled to
  represent still more vividly the aspects of Eastern
  travel which most strikingly impressed him.”—_The

  “Mr. Harper had a ready and powerful pen, and to this
  gift he added that of artistic drawing. We are in the
  hands of a guide who knows his way, and tells what to see
  and how best to see it.”—_The Spectator._

=In Scripture Lands.=

=New Views of Sacred Places.=


With 150 Original Illustrations engraved from Photographs taken by the
Author. Crown 4to. Cloth elegant, gilt top, 15s.

  Mr. Wilson’s journey in Scripture Lands was the first
  instance in which a fully equipped artist photographer
  has visited the scenes made memorable by the Bible
  narratives, and has reproduced both by camera and by
  word-painting the people, the ruins, and the famous spots
  which have become household words throughout Christendom.

=A Visit to Bashan and Argob.=


  With an Introduction by the Rev. Canon TRISTRAM. With
  many Illustrations from hitherto unpublished Photographs,
  taken by the Author. Small 4to. Cloth, 6s. Cloth, extra
  gilt, gilt edges, 7s. 6d.

  “It furnishes in a pleasing style many very interesting
  particulars of the people, their habits, customs,
  laws, and religious faith, with many photographs of
  architecture and other relics of the past grandeur of the
  land of King Og and the ‘Cities of the Giants.’”—_Daily

=Ten Years’ Digging In Egypt, 1881-1891.=


Author of “Pyramids of Gizeh,” “Hawara,” “Medum,” etc.

Illustrated. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 6s.

  “A popular summary of the results attained by one of the
  most capable and successful explorers of Egypt. He tells
  his story so well and so instructively, and it is so
  well worth telling, that his little book will doubtless
  command the wide popularity it certainly deserves.”—_The


=Rambles In Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun.=

By the Rev. Canon TRISTRAM, D.D., LL.D., Author of “The Land of Moab,”
“The Natural History of the Bible,” etc. With many Illustrations by
EDWARD WHYMPER, from Photographs and Sketches. Demy 8vo. Cloth, gilt
top, 10s. 6d.

  “Dr. Tristram is an experienced traveller, keen in
  observation and kindly in appreciation, an accomplished
  field-naturalist, and an enthusiastic collector of
  things rare or beautiful both in nature and art. These
  qualities have stood him in good stead during his visit
  to Japan.”—_The Times._

=Thirty Years in Madagascar.=

By the Rev. T. T. MATTHEWS, of the London Missionary Society.

With 60 portraits and other Illustrations. Demy 8vo, 6s.

  “The great merit of the work lies in the many pleasing
  descriptions of the country and of the people—their
  customs, religion, language, and social life. The
  illustrations are in all respects admirable.”—_The

=The Chronicles of the Sid; Or, The Life and Travels of Adelia Gates.=

By ADELA E. ORPEN, Author of “Stories of Precious Stones,” “Margareta
Colberg,” etc.

With many Illustrations. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards, 7s. 6d.

  This book is a record of a very remarkable series of
  travels undertaken by a lady named Adelia Gates. Alone
  and unaided she has trodden, not only the beaten tracks,
  but has also traversed the Desert of Sahara, the Nile
  as far as Wady Halfa, Palestine, and all parts of
  Iceland—these later trips beginning at an age when most
  ladies consider their life-work done.

=Our Journey to Sinai.=

=A Visit to the Convent of St. Catarina.=

By Mrs. R. L. BENSLY.

With a Chapter on some Readings of the Sinai Palimpsest, by F. C.
BURKITT, M.A. Illustrated from Photographs taken by the Author. Crown
8vo. Cloth, 3s. 6d.

  “The scholarly enthusiasm which attracted Professor
  Bensly to Mount Sinai, and the perennial fascinations
  of oriental travel are well reflected in Mrs. Bensly’s
  pages, and a concluding chapter by Mr. Burkitt,
  containing a part of the account of the Sinai Palimpsest
  which he gave at the Church Congress, adds not a little
  to the value and interest of the volume.”—_The Times._

=Among the Tibetans.=


With Illustrations by EDWARD WHYMPER. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 1_s._ 6_d._;
paper cover, 1_s._

  With her power of vivid description Mrs. Bishop enables
  the reader to realise much of the daily life and many of
  the strange scenes to be witnessed in that far-off land.


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