Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day

Pancake racing in Alcester, c.1971.
Photograph copyright the Evesham Journal, and reproduced with their permission. Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH 1/119

Shrove Tuesday sees many traditions, the Atherstone Ball Game being one that is key to Warwickshire, but pancake racing is also a spectacle that has seen countless people cheer from the sidelines, competitors stumble, desperately preserving their tasty meal… and victors raise their hands in triumph. The picture from Alcester is a relatively modern race, and it’s Buckinghamshire that lays claim to the first race back in 1445. We have, according to received wisdom, a woman who was late to church to thank for this, who had to race to be shriven (where a person confesses their sins and gets absolution for them), pancake still in hand.

Your memories?

It’s a staple part of traditions in many a town or village of this county. Do you have any particular memories you’d like to share? Do please tell us by leaving a comment.

30,000 years in 40 words

You might also have caught the Romans eating pancakes, maybe even prehistoric man. It’s the 16th century when the stirrings of pancake populism begin in the UK, and by the 18th century milk (rather than brandy or wine) is used.

Tempted to make a brandy and wine pancake with no milk? If I’m brave, I’ll let you know how it goes!

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