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Denby Dale

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57851.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:02 pm Reply with quote

Today, Denby Dale pies are world famous - at least in Yorkshire - but the first ever such pie, baked in Denby, which lies between Huddersfield and Barnsley, was made in 1788 for a special occasion: to celebrate George III’s recovery from mental illness. Whoopee! Street party!

In 1815, Denby baked a Victory Pie to celebrate the Battle of Waterloo: it contained two sheep and twenty fowl.

In 1846, they began to think big: to celebrate the repeal of the Corn Laws (any excuse to have a good time, that’s Yorkshire folk for you), a pie was baked in a dish 7 foot in diameter. It contained seven hares, fourteen rabbits, four pheasants, four partridges, four grouse, two ducks, two geese, two turkeys, two guinea fowl, four hens, six pigeon, sixty-three “small birds,” five sheep, a calf and 100 lbs of cow. [I’d have added a little celeriac, and possibly some mango jus, but each to his own.]. Unfortunately the platform supporting it collapsed and the pie broke into pieces - which the 15,000-strong crowd fell upon and devoured.

In 1887, for the Golden Jubilee, they got in professional bakers from Halifax - and soon wished they hadn't. The 8’ 3” diameter pie turned out to have gone off “during cooking,” and had to be buried in some nearby woods. To mark this sad event, Denby Dale villagers produced black-bordered funeral cards, and within a week had come up with a new pie, named the Resurrection Pie.

Source: ‘How it all began in the pantry’ by Maurice Baren (Michael O’Mara, 2000).

57863.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:18 pm Reply with quote

In the absence of a question we need to bookmark that somehow. I'll put a link to this thread in the dieticians' thread, in case that's the only way to use it.

57972.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:55 am Reply with quote

A simple enough question might be:

Q: What goes into a Denby Dale pie? And I’ll give you ten points for every ingredient you get right, and a hundred point bonus if you get them all.

And if by any chance a pie-eating panellist did correctly list the ingredients of a modern Denby pie, Stephen would simply apologise for the misunderstanding: “Alas, no - I said “a” Denby Dale pie, and the particular Denby Dale pie which I had in mind was the one baked in 1846 to celebrate the repeal of the Corn Laws, which contained ... ”

57980.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:19 am Reply with quote

True. Maybe we ought to include mention of the Corn Laws in the question.

Is there anything else to be said about Denby Dale?

57985.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:25 am Reply with quote

They have a viaduct there.

There have been 10 Denby Dale pies since 1788, each bigger than its predecessors. The Millennium pie weighed 12 tons and was 40 ft long.

57989.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:34 am Reply with quote

Was it baked in the shape of an enormous pie?

57992.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:39 am Reply with quote

The viaduct started life in 1846 as a wooden construction, ... It was an obvious fire hazard, 400 yards long and 112ft high and wobbling as every train travelled over it. Each day, local railway workers had to refill fire buckets with water along its whole length - although by the end of the day, most of the water had slopped out of the buckets due to the vibrations of the trains.

Er .... lids, anyone?

Conspiracy theorists at the time of the Corn Laws pie debacle apparently thought that the Denby Dale pie had been sabotaged by the nearby village of Clayton West as a spoiler campaign designed to protect their own Monster Plum Pie project.

The pie dish for the Millennium pie itself weighed 12 tonnes; it was built by the School of Engineering at the University of Huddersfield. The pie was blessed by the Bishop of Wakefield and cut by cricket umpire Dickie Bird.

All from

57993.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:45 am Reply with quote

In 1898 a byelaw forbade residents of Denby Dale from shaking their rugs or mats and emptying the contents of their chamber pots on the highway.

57994.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:47 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Was it baked in the shape of an enormous pie?

More a sort of pasty, I'd call it:

57995.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:54 am Reply with quote

There's a nice arbitrariness about the range of things they've chosen to commemorate with a pie - ranging from the Battle of Waterloo to the anniversary of one of the other pies, via the birth of Prince Edward.

57997.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:58 am Reply with quote

Who ate all the Denby Dale pies?

57999.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:01 am Reply with quote

Denby Dale Pies (a modern pie-making company) won “Best Meat and Potato Pie” in the Paul O’Grady Show Awards. I imagine that’s quite an accolade in the pie industry.

From the company’s history page - - some additional/varying details of the giant pies:

There have been ten pies altogether.

The 1815 pie used “half a peck of flour for the crust.”

The failed pie of 1887, weighed nearly one and a half tons, but “poor hygiene controls, reports of a brace of gamey grouse and what looked like a skinned fox all amounted to a pie that was unfit for human consumption. In fact, the remains of the pie were paraded through the streets in funeral style and buried in quick lime.”

No game has ever been used in Denby Dale pies since that day.

In 1928, the biggest pie yet was baked to raise funds for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. A new tin was built measuring 16ft. long, 5ft. wide and 15 inches deep.

“After a 36-year gap the decision was again taken to bake the biggest ever Denby Dale Pie with a view to raising funds to build a new community hall in the village. So it was on September 5th 1964 that pie number eight, The Village Hall Pie, was baked in yet another new tin, measuring 18ft. long, 6ft. wide and 18 inches deep.
Many people thought that the baking of the pie should also commemorate a national event and after much thought, arrived at the perfect answer. Four Royal babies were expected in the same year for the first time in 200 years. The babies were, Prince Edward, Lady Helen Windsor, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and James Ogilvy.
1988 saw the baking of the ninth pie, The Denby Dale Bicentenary Pie, 200 years after the first recorded pie. It was baked in a tin measuring 20ft. long, 7ft. wide and 18 inches deep, so again it was just a little bit bigger than the last one.
The year 2000 saw the making of the tenth record breaking Denby Dale Pie, weighing 12 tonnes and measuring 40ft. long. As well as obviously celebrating the New Millennium, The Millennium Pie coincided with The Queen Mothers 100th birthday and the 150th. Anniversary of the Penistone Railway Line, which gave Denby Dale its most famous landmark to date, the viaduct.
It would seem that as well as something to celebrate, the inspiration to bake a Denby Dale Pie, arises from the interest of each successive older generation of Denby Dalers wanting to provide the “pie experience” and all that it entails, to the younger generation. Maybe in the hope that they too will be inspired in years to come, to pass that experience on to the next generation, who knows?”

58024.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:03 am Reply with quote


Q: Who cooked all the pies?

with notes on Denby Dale, other mammoth pies, Simple Simon met a pieman, Four and twenty blackbirds, etc. Wasn't there also an occasion when a dwarf (Tom Thumb, maybe) jumped out of a pie to amuse Queen Esmerelda the Easily-Amused or somebody?

58025.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:08 am Reply with quote

Turns out it was Jeffrey Hudson and Queen Henrietta Maria the Easily-Amused:

Jeffrey Hudson (1619-1682), famous 17th century dwarf, was served up in a cold pie as a child. England's King Charles I (1600-1649) and 15-year old Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669) passed through Rutland and were being entertained at a banquet being given in their honor by the Duke and Duckess of Buckingham. At the dinner, an enormous crust-covered pie was brought before the royal couple. Before the Queen could cut into the pie, the crust began to rise and from the pie emerged a tiny man, perfectly proportioned boy, but only 18 inches tall named Jeffrey Hudson. Hudson, seven years old the smallest human being that anyone had ever seen, was dressed in a suit of miniature armor climbed out of a gilded pastry pie stood shyly on the table in front of the Queen and bowed low. Hudson was later dubbed Lord Minimus.

Hudson would remain with the queen for the next 18 years, serving as the Queen's Dwarf, where he became a trusted companion and court favorite. His life after being a court favorite were just as interesting. He was kidnapped by pirates twice, in 1633, his portrait, along with Queen Henrietta Maria, was painted by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), the famous 17th century painter, and then he spent the next quarter-century as a slave in North Africa.


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