A taste of Townend

A woman cooking in the kitchen at Townend

The year is 1699. A smoky rush light gives a dim glow at the parlour table where Elizabeth Birkett sits holding a pen as she has each night for the past month.

Elizabeth works diligently filling each page in her commonplace book with recipes in a small but distinctive hand.

She went on to marry Ben Browne of Townend in 1702, and came to live at the house. By the time it was complete, her commonplace book contained 57 numbered pages with over 80 cookery and medicinal recipes and 25 household ones.

The story it tells us about life at the time is one of sophisticated tastes against a backdrop of rural tradition and superstition.

Cooking up a storm

Elizabeth’s book is on display, we are creating many of her dishes and remedies for display and every Thursday, 12-3pm, our Living History team will be delighted to tell you more.
You can read a transcript of Elizabeth's book here: Elizabeth Birkett's Common Place Book (PDF / 0.1MB) download

Or recreate one of her delicious confectionary recipes at home by following the links below.

Please note that althought the food isn't to be eaten, we do have real food on display containing nuts and flour.