1351: A chicken pasty – an “abomination to all mankind”

In 1351, a London cook named Henry de Passelewe was called before the mayor and city aldermen, accused of selling another Londoner, Henry Pecche, a dodgy chicken pasty. Henry told the court that on January 13th:

“..he bought of the aforesaid Henry de Passelewe… two capons baked in a pasty; and that he and his companions, being hungry, did not perceive that one of the said two capons was putrid and stinking, until they had eaten almost the whole thereof, whereupon they opened the second capon, which he produced here in court.”

The court members examined the capon and:

“..found it to be foul and stinking and an abomination to all mankind; to the scandal, contempt and disgrace of all the city; and the manifest peril of the life of the same Henry and his companions…”

Henry de Passelewe was ordered to spend a day in the pillory, with the “putrid and stinking capon” held in front of him.

Source: Letterbook of Edward III, f.194, cited in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, 1868. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.