How to Make 24 Herring Pies for the King of England

Herring Pie - photo by Stijn Nieuwendijk / Flickr

Among the medieval records of the city of Norwich, which usually deal with property issues, accounts and regulatory matters, is this interesting entry:

Concerning the delivery of 24 Herring Pies parcel of the fee farm of the City of Norwich

Powder for the lord King’s pies – Half a pound of ginger, half a pound of pepper, a quarter of cinnamon, one ounce of cloves, one ounce of long pepper, half an ounce of grains of Paradise, half an ounce of galingale (a kind of ginger). 


And be it known that the Lord King shall receive of the citizens of Norwich six score herrings in 24 pies, that is to say 5 herrings in each pie. And Hugh Curson of Carleton shall carry the said pies to the Lord King. And he shal have 4d. from the said citizens for the carriage of the said pies, and one pie.

Be it remembered the Lord King shall receive annually of the Bailiffs of the City of Norwich one hundred of the first fresh herrings coming to the city in 24 pies. Powder for the pies as above. And the said Bailiffs shall give to the carrier of the Lord King a certain 4d and 1 pie. And be it known that Hugh de Curson is bound for his lands and tenements to carry the said pies to the Lord King. And the said Hugh, or the carrier in his name, shall receive at the court of the Lord King as below written, that is to say 6 loaves, 6 dishes from the kitchen, 1 gallon of wine, 1 gallon of beer, 2 trusses of hay, 1 bushel of oats, 1 pricket of wax and 6 tallow candles.


Although the entry is undated, other records indicate that Hugh de Curson lived in Norwich during the reign of Edward III.

You can find this entry in The Records of the City of Norwich, edited by William Hudson and John Cottingham Tingey, which was published in Norwich in 1906.