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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree January 2018 > Miss Webb’s recipe collection

Miss Webb’s recipe collection

There’s something about the cold weather that increases the appetite and makes it even more enjoyable to pore over a recipe book – and when it’s a collection of culinary adventures from the Georgian and Victorian eras, with some family history mysteries and medical concoctions to boot, that’s the icing on the cake. Charlotte Soares gives a taste of an extraordinary record from kitchens past


August 27th 1792. Ann Perry. Savoy Precinct Strand.

This is a true copy of the Register of the burial of the above named

Ann Perry taken this 29th Day of November 1792.

W. Dome. Parish Clerk.

Witness Richd Jones Clk to Mr Mountfort Gough Sq, London.

This is a strange thing to find in a handwritten loose-leaf recipe collection. Why is a copy of a burial register in amongst recipes for game, rabbit, custard and porter?

The recipes would appear to be the collection of a Miss Webb, at least that is what is written on the spine of the folder. She would appear to have been in the household of the Mountfort family of Beamhurst Hall, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

The fascinating manuscript collection of recipes and more was bought by my late father in the 1980s in Kent and he hoped to publish them but this never materialised. He visited Beamhurst Hall and also met a Kent descendant of the Mountforts who had enjoyed childhood visits there. There was talk of a portrait of the housekeeper amongst the family archive but he never saw it.

The recipes, or receipts as they were called then, cover everything from sticking and dismembering a pig (which is stomach turning), to making a rich cream custard and a peas soup purposely composed for Henry Mountfort Esq, which sounds delicious, involving ham and roast beef bones and croutons – though she doesn’t call them that, merely fried and toasted bread, to preserves, baking, medical cures and more.

We have not tried the recipes, nor would recommend the medical recipes, but include them here purely for historical interest, transcribed from the original with only minimal tweaks to help with their readability.

Recipe: Tea cakes

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About Family Tree

Make the most of hibernation indoors this winter with our January 2018 issue. It’s full of family history tips and stories, plus a masterclass guide to essential church records. In addition, there are this issue’s Family Tree Academy challenges for our genealogy learn-along. If you have a new smart phone or device, you’ll love our new series with technology tips for family historians (don’t miss a trick that the web or your mobile can help you out with!). There is so much to enjoy, there’s no time to waste! Wishing you a very Happy New Year of family history to come.