Sunday, April 5, 2015

Subtleties&Stuffe Anne Boleyn's Subtleties

Anne Boleyn's Subtleties

Peter Brears in Chapter 5 of All the King’s Cooks. The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace mentions "Anne Boleyn's coronation feast" included subtleties made of "waxe." Ships of wax in fact!
It took a bit of doing but I finally located this mention’s source. Brears cites The Antiquarian Repertory (1775). With that starting place I turned to ECCO and came up with  The Antiquarian repertory: A miscellany, intended to preserve and illustrate several valuable remains of old times. Adorned with elegant sculptures. London, 1775. 335 pp. vol. Volume 3 of 4 (4 vols. available)   Page 202 Image 232. 

The account reads:

"For the Antiquarian Repertory

The following particular Description of the Coronation of Queen Ann, Wife to Henry VIII. Was written by a Person who lived at that Time, and was present there at."
 This is a full account listing dozens and dozens of people performing ceremonial functions. Looking for mentions of what was served in terms of food, we find
following the Coronation, there is this account of which mentions subtleties:

"Till she came to Westminster-hall, whiche was richly hanged with cloth of arras, and newly glazed; and in the middest of the hall shee was taken out of her litter, and so led up to the high deske under the cloth of estate, on whole left hand was a cupboard of ten stages high, marveilous rich and beautiful to behold, and within a little season, was brought to the Queene with a solemne service in great standing spice-plates, a voide of spice, and subtleties [fubtleties], with ipocrasse, and other wines, which she sent downe to her ladies, and when her ladies had drunke, shee gave hearty thanks to the lords and ladies, and to the maior, and other that had given attendance on her, and so withdrew herself with a few ladies to Whitehall, and so to her chamber and there shifted her and after went in her barge secretly to the King to his manner of Westminster where she rested that night.” Vol. III, No. IX   3 H"

But where are those ships of Waxe?

So then I turned to Google Books where searching under key phrases, I came up with The Antiquarian Repertory. A New Edition. Compiled by Francis Grose and Thomas Astle. London: Edward Jeffery, 1808. This new edition includes material not in the ECCO version online. The account we want is in Volume II, page 239

In this volume if one continues, one comes on page 242,  where there is a description of the banquet served on Whitsonday, the 1st of June, 1533.

The first course was “eight-and-twenty dishes, besides subtilities, and shippes made of waxe, marveylous gorgeous to beholde, all which timeof service the trumpets standing in the window at neather end of the ball played.” [p 242]

"…that it was so marvelous, for the servitors gave so good attendaunce, that meat, nor drink, nor any thing else needed to be called for, which in so great a multitude was marvell. As touching the fare, there could be devised no more costly dishes nor subtilities. The Maior of London was served with four-and-twenty dishes, at two courses, and so were his bretheren, and such as sate at his table.” [p242-243]
“The Queene had at her second course four-and-twenty dishes, and thirtie at the third course…” Wafers and ipocrase followed.
There was “in a goodly spice plate, brought a void of spices and confections.” [p 243]
So there we have our ships made of wax!

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