What's for dinner at Newark Park?
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From grand Tudor hunting feasts to Georgian fancy and 1980s charity events, here's 450 years of dining at Newark Park. The three menus below suggest the food likely to be eaten at the three significant periods in Newark’s history, and by associated figures: Tudor, Sir Nicholas Poyntz; Georgian, Rev Lewis Clutterbuck and Modern (1970/80s), Bob Parsons.
The diet would be meat heavy, with few vegetables. Food would be embellished with sugar and spices – these were expensive imports and demonstrated status.
In addition to meat-based courses, we could expect Poyntz to provide expensive and elaborate confectionery in the form of ‘subtleties’ – also known as marchpane (marzipan), which were sugar-based sweets and table sculptures.
Fresh fruit was a luxury product, especially popular was to serve interesting varieties of apple. Banquets often made use of the following ingredients in dishes, as they were known to have an aphrodisiac quality: aniseed, pine kernels, candied eringo root (sea holly) and marmalade.
Menu (with old spellings):
- Brawne and mustard
- Capons stewed in white broth
- A chine of beef and a breast of mutton boild
- Three green geese in a dish, sorrell sauce
- After alhalowen Daye a swan, sauce chaudron
- A pigge
- Two capons roasted, sauce wine and salt
- A custard
- Pecock, sauce wine and salt
- Two cunnies or half a dozen rabbets, sauce mustard and sugar
- Half a dozen of pigions
- Mallard, sauce mustard and uergious
- Gulles, storke, heronshew, crab, sauce galantine
- Feasant, sauce water and salt, onions sliced
- A dozen of quailes
- A dish of larkes
- Tarte, gingerbread, fritters, marchpane
Rev Lewis Clutterbuck lived through a time of transition in eating, with a change from ‘service a la Francaise’ to ‘service a la Russe’ (French to Russian). This meant a fundamental change in how food was presented and consumed.
With the former ‘Francaise’, food was on large serving platters and waiting on the table. People helped themselves but it was rude to ask for dishes to be passed, so it was pot luck regarding what was near.
With ‘Russe’, individual plates of food were served from the sideboard in a sequence of courses such as soups, fish and meat. It was a gradual transition and traditional ways continued well into the 19th century.
As such, we can expect Clutterbuck to have continued the traditional form while experimenting with elements of a Russian service.
- Ox tail soup
- Curried chickens
- Haunch of mutton roasted
- Ham glazed
- Boiled turkey
- Mashed potatoes
- Boiled rice
- Black cock
- Hashed hare
- Lobster salad in white sauce
- Calf's feet jelly
- French beans
- Coffee cream
- Lemon cream
We asked Michael Claydon (Newark's final tenant) what sort of food was cooked by Bob Parsons at Newark when entertaining. Unsurprisingly, the typical menu described has some of Bob’s American heritage, as well as his other interests.
Michael on Bob’s typical menu:
'A home baked large ham was a favourite, chicken, celery and rice as a hot pot, home made hamburgers, Boston baked beans and soups. Bob’s love of Italy influenced his food; Lasagne, pasta and great salads.
'When Bob had National Trust Acorn camps in the early days he always insisted on feeding them, so was happy to cater for large numbers.'
Michael Claydon on Bob's tastes:
'Once I was at Newark I took the burden of cooking from Bob; fish pie, beef Wellington, roasts of all kinds, summer parties were always a selection of salads and wonderful dessert.'
- Beef Wellington
- Roast potatoes
- Boiled potatoes
- Seasonal vegetables
- French beans and courgettes
- Selection of desserts