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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 January, 2004, 11:58 GMT
Ancient roots of cream tea discovered
Cream tea
Monks fed workers bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves
Historians in Devon have unearthed evidence which they claim proves the traditional cream tea originated in the county some 1,000 years ago.

Local historians have been studying ancient manuscripts as part of research leading up to next year's 900th anniversary of the granting of Tavistock's Royal Charter by King Henry I in 1105.

After piecing together fragments of manuscripts, they have discovered that the monks of Tavistock's Benedictine Abbey could have created the famous dish to reward workers who helped to restore the building.

The Abbey was established in the 10th Century, but was plundered and badly damaged by Vikings in 997 AD.

Passing travellers

The task of restoring the Abbey was undertaken by Ordulf, Earl of Devon whose father had been responsible for establishing the Abbey.

Ordulf was helped by local workers who the monks fed with bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves.

The cream teas were so popular that the monks continued to serve them to passing travellers.

The cream tea will be taking pride of place at this year's Tavistock Food and Drink Festival on 31 July and 1 August.

Festival president, Mike Hooper, is delighted at the discovery: "How extraordinary that, after so many years, Tavistock can perhaps claim to be the birthplace of the original cream tea.

"We can only wonder who it was who carried news of this Abbey dish into Cornwall."

A flap in the cream tea county
09 Jul 03  |  Magazine
Tall order for Devon dairy
29 May 03  |  Devon

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