Banbury is, as you may know, forever entwined with Banbury cakes, flat-ish oval pastry filled with spiced currants. They’re not unlike Eccles cakes. They’re still widely available thought not in the two shops most associated with them in days or yore. I present to you – the days of yore.
E. W. Brown’s Original Cake Shop, 12 Parsons street.
Betts’s Cake Shop on Banbury High Street in 1878
There’s some dreadful idea being tossed around about turning that High Street space (it is very much present and in use to this day) into an arcade. Yes, a gaming arcade. I am very much hoping the request for the change of use required will be denied. But never mind that now. I will complain about that elsewhere.
Banbury has another eponymous foodstuff lurking in its past and today seems a good time to mention it. Why today? Because today is April 23rd — anniversary of both Shakespeare’s birth and his death.
“Banbury cheeses, for which the town was noted until the 18th century, were first mentioned in 1430” (Cal. Close, 1429–36, 74). It was a cow’s milk cheese, yellow in colour and quite strongly flavoured, made in thin (about 1 inch) rounds.
“But wait!” I hear you cry. “What does this have to do with Shakespeare?” Continue reading “Banbury and the Bard”