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Simon Le Pafteymaker, 1296 AD
The oldest known mention of "Paftey"


The Cornish Pasty is particularly proud to present the oldest known reference to "pasty" in the English language. It occurs as "pafteymaker", a compound noun in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) under the entry for "pasty". "Pastez" in recorded in an earlier mention in Chretien de Troyes but this reference was written in Old French, although it was set in Arthurian England in the land believed to be Cornwall.

As explained elsewhere on this web site, in connection with other old references, the "f" in "pafty/paftey" is the long "s" of Middle English hand-writing and continued into early printing, as with the Caxton editions of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

The complete OED entry is reproduced here (with their permission) and was the start of a long quest for the original source.

The document, written in 1296 AD, is in The National Archives at Kew, London


Document CP25/1/245 (35) (20), reproduced by permission of The National Archives, Kew, London (dated 17 Feb 2010).
Mention of "Simon Le Pasteymaker" is seen in the 3rd line, towards the right, and is shown in more detail below.
The image is watermarked as a condition of the copyright permission.


"Simon Le Pasteymaker" - detail, written in 1296.
The image is watermarked as a condition of the copyright permission.


The document is written in Latin, the official legal language of the day, although Anglo-Norman was usually spoken by the upper classes, the time being not so long after the conquest of England by the Normans in 1066. The conquest was led by William the Conqueror who became William I of England after he defeated King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. The lower classes spoke Middle English while the Celtic fringes spoke Cornish, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic.

A notable feature is that the document has a wavy edge at the top. This is because it is a genuine fine (= final concord). This was a 12th Century procedure for settling legal agreements, where three copies were made on the same parchment which was then cut with wavy lines as a precaution against forgeries. The two parties to the agreement each retained a copy and the third copy was retained by the court where the agreement was made. A foot of fine, or feet of fines, were archival copies of land agreements, as described in Wikipedia - Foot of fine. More details can be found here.

It is a legal record of a land transaction in Coventry, Warwickshire, A record of this is held by the Warwickshire County Record Office, Reference 210110/ALW/T. It is in the Feet of Fines for Warwickshire Volume II, pages 30-31 (1284-1345, Edward I - Edward III), published by the Dugdale Society in 1939 - the volume dealing with the period of Edward I 1295-1296. It states:


Entry 1123 in the Warwickshire Feet of Fines, Vol. II, mentioning Simon Le Pasteymaker

"No. 1123 Coventry.  (Oct[ave] of Martinmas) Roger de Styuechale and Felicia his wife, pl[aintiff].  Simon le Pasteymaker of Couentre [Coventry] and Olive his wife, imped[iments].  A messuage in Couentre.  Plea of warranty charter.  Imped[iments] recog[nises] right of Roger as of their gift to pl[aintiffs] to hold to pl[aintiffs] and heirs of Roger of chief lords. Warranty for imped[iments] and heirs of Olive.  Cons[ideration] 7 marks of silver".

Reproduced by permission of the Dugdale Society. This is not a translation of the original document, it is only a modern record of it.

NB - messuage: Property law - a dwelling house together with its outbuildings, curtilage, and the adjacent land appropriated to its use

Simon Le Pasteymaker was also a witness to a land transaction in 1311 AD, here and here. He was also mentioned as being a previous owner of a property here (under record no. 65) and here.

From these official records, we might assume that Simon was a successful pastey-maker!

My learnÚd friend, Mr. Henry "Oggy" Trelissick, a fellow pasty scholar and Member of the Ancient Order of Pasty Antiquarians is studying the original document with a view to preparing a full transcription at a later date.


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