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Hot baked Wardens

This week we cross the Scottish Border in the footsteps of the Jacobite army in 1745 – by the bridge at Longtown in Cumbria rather than the ford over the Esk used by Prince Charles Edward Stewart’s followers. En route to lay siege to Carlisle, they would pass the Arthuret Church (founded according to tradition by monks from Jedburgh in 1150) and, perhaps, stopped for a drink at the nearby St Michael’s Well. During the siege Prince Charles resided in a house in the market town of Brampton, which is this week’s place to visit. A plaque adorns the house where the Prince resided (now occupied by a shoe shop) and across the road you can enjoy a fly-cup in the Jacobite Café. It was in Brampton that Prince Charles received the keys of the City of Carlisle from the mayor and aldermen as a token of surrender. The Jacobite army took Carlisle on 17 November 1745.

For maps and information about the area a visit to the Moot Hall in Market Place is a must. The present building dates from 1817, replacing an earlier structure from the 17th century, and houses the Brampton Tourist Information centre. Thanks to the helpful lady manning the centre details of how to reach the Capon Tree Memorial were obtained. About one mile from the town centre, this marks the spot where six Jacobites were hanged on 21 October 1746 – three Scots and three English. A plaque bears their names and regiments –

Lieutenant-Colonel John Innes, Forfarshire (Ogilvy's) Regiment; Captain Patrick Lindsay, Kilmarnock’s Horse; Rananld MacDonald, Clanranald Regiment, and from the Manchester Regiment (the only one raised in England) Sergeant Thomas Park, Peter Taylor and Michael Dellard.

The Capon Tree Memorial is well worth a visit but is not very well sign-posted. It is said that the site got the name from the habit of Judges of Assize taking refreshments under the tree on their journeys from Newcastle, probably eating capons and other delicacies.

Back in Brampton further refreshments can be obtained at the Capon Tree Café and that is handily placed to visit St Martin’s Church which boasts some magnificent stained glass windows designed by one of the founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – Edward Burne-Jones. The windows were made in the studios of William Morris and are a must-see on any visit to Brampton. Round the corner stands a statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian which acts as reminder of just how close the town stands to the wall bearing his name. Hadrian’s Wall was designed to keep out the Barbarians (from that part of the world now known as Scotland!) but today all are made very welcome when visiting this pleasant, historic market town which lies in the Irthing Valley.

Brampton lies within the area known as ‘The Debatable Lands’ which lay on both sides of the Scottish-English border. The Wardens, on both sides of the border, had a hard job keeping the peace as raids by Scots and English were commonplace, until James VI, King of Scots, also took on the better paid job of King of England in 1603. So this week’s recipe – Hot Baked Wardens – seems very appropriate, especially as I obtained it in a booklet at the Moot Hall centre in Brampton. In England they were sold from large earthenware dishes at fairs with the following cry –

‘Smoking hot, piping hot
Who knows what I’ve got
In my pot? Hot Baked wardens
All hot! All hot! All hot!’

Hot Baked Wardens

Ingredients: 6 large firm pears; ½ - ¾ pint red wine; 1 oz brown sugar; pinch of ground cinnamon, ginger and saffron

Method: Peel the pears and place in an ovenproof dish. Mix wine, sugar and spices, and pour over the pears. Bake in the oven, 180 deg C/350 deg F/Gas Mark 4, for 20-30 minutes until tender.

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