Burradoo Journal

By Burradoo

Lambs' tail pie

This is the parish church in North Molton, the Devonshire village where my mother lived for forty years. I have just been reading a compilation of recollections of North Molton residents, published in 1992.
There's a sense of continuity in these recollections. Most of the contributors were of advanced years and had lived in North Molton for their whole lives, often in the house they were born in. The memories they recounted went back a hundred years and yet they were still part of the collective village memory.
It was such a small and self sufficient economy. As one contributor said ‘In those days money was looked on very differently. No one had any’. The waters of the River Mole powered the corn mill and the saw mill and generated the manorial electricity supply. The contributors describe food that cost nothing, like rook pie, and lambs' tail pie (when the lambs’ tails were docked). They also describe many creative ways of making a little money. The older boys had garden beds in which they grew vegetables to sell around the village. In the wortleberry season a school holiday was declared and everyone walked out to the common to pick ‘worts’ to sell and to make into jam. They caught rabbits to sell for meat and moles to sell for their skins. Foxglove leaves were gathered and dried to sell for making digitalis. And there was a bit of poaching of pheasants and trout from the manorial estate.
I’m so glad that these memories were preserved when they were. I grew up in North Molton, and reading them has reminded me of things I didn't know I remembered.

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