Leigh Hatts  

Good Friday

Poster for restored Good Friday custom at Bow

“Well I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is what Brother Thomas Rocliffe envisaged in St Albans in 1361 when he came up with the idea of distributing a bun to the local poor as a Good Friday treat,”  wrote Sophia Money-Coutts in The Sunday Telegraph.

The monk was absolutely not thinking of sticky toffee hot cross buns at the time.”

Brother Thomas’s St Alban’s Abbey buns were much plainer than today’s which  owe much to the improvements, more fruit and firmer cross, devised by the Victorians.

They taste best eaten today and not all year round.

Claire Ptak, who is making Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake, only sells hot cross buns in season at her Violet shop.

This is the policy followed by Bread Ahead who today will be selling hot cross buns outside their Borough Market bakery opposite Southwark Cathedral.

On Oliver’s Bakery stall there are spelt flour hot cross buns.

One of the oldest Good Friday customs involving hot cross buns takes place at The Widow’s Son in Devons Rd E3 3PJ on the edge of Bromley-by-Bow in London .

The pub opened 170 years ago, in 1845, on the site of a cottage where a widow had put aside a hot cross bun every year hoping that her sailor son would return to enjoy it.

The inn continued to add a bun annually to the string bag of buns hanging above the bar. Old buns were believed to have medicinal properties.

In time the much loved annual ceremony of placing a new bun in the bag was carried out by a guest sailor.

With threatened redevelopment and closure the custom nearly died in 2016. However, the new owners of the pub turned bar have responded to the need to retain the tradition which they now do with devotion.

The ceremony is always at 3pm,

This is the hour that Christ died on the Cross. It when Good Friday church services either end or begin.

Bread Ahead hot cross buns in Borough Market

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