Tuppenny Starvers, BristolThis custom dates it seems from at least the mid-18th century, when children - probably cheeky and peckish choristers - attending a church service on Easter Tuesday at the church of St Michael on the Mount Without on the outskirts of Bristol asked for sustenance of a more immediate kind than the moral version provided by the clergy. Unlike poor Oliver Twist and the Beadle a century later, their request did not meet with anger. They were given tuppenny starvers, large spiced buns, flat and round and sufficient to fill an infant stomach with ease, and one takes it induce the reluctant young to attend another Easter church event.
Tuppenny starvers are big enough to require both of the eater's hands to be used in holding them while munching, their aspect more like a very thick pancake than a bun, the heft of the things surely doubling the satisfaction they offer.
In 1748 parishioners Mary and Peter Davis left a bequest to support the tradition's continuance. It is not just the children attending who receive the bounty now, but the adults too, reflecting either growing egalitarianism, or the need of the church to attract as many bodies as it can these days.
More British Folk Customs?
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