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Seblet Cakes

Cakes
Northamptonshire

A seblet is a basket in which seed is carried when sowing broadcast, and the seblet-cake was a seed-cake traditionally made as a reward for the hard work of the sower.

Anne Elizabeth Baker's 'Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases' (v2, p211) of 1854 has;

SEBLET CAKE. A seed cake with which ploughmen were feasted at the conclusion of the wheat-sowing. This custom was in some places observed till within these few years; but I believe it has now fallen into desuetude. I have been told that, some fifty years ago, it was customary on All Souls' Day, for people to send seed cake to their various friends, which were called soul-cakes; and, as this was the period when wheatsowing usually ended, it is probable both these observances have the self-same origin. The Lansdowne MS. 1039, No. 8, has the following notice of this practice, "It was an old English custom to provide seed cakes to entertain the ploughmen after the season of sowing wheat, which was commonly on All Saints' Night." (All Souls' is the following night.) And Tusser in allusion to it says:-

Wife, som'time this week, if ye weather hold cleare,
An ende of whoate soweing we make for the yeare;
Remember you therefore, though I do it not,
The seed cake, the pasties, and furmenty pot.


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