Lady Scudamore's Pax Cakes, HerefordshireIn Herefordshire a rather quaint custom is still observed - at least in part - in the churches of Hentland, King's Caple, and Sellack, and the chapel of Hoarwithy, every Palm Sunday.
This tradition is generally said to have originated with the 1570 bequest of local landowner Lady Scudamore, though some attribute it to Thomas More almost a century earlier. The custom is the distribution of Pax cakes, round shortbread biscuits, after the Palm Sunday church service.
At certain times the custom fell into disuse in some of the churches, but it has been revived, though sadly another aspect of the bequest (said to have allowed for the princely sum of five shillings of cakes, and nine pennies of ale), namely the provision of beer, has not been kept up (though cider has sometimes been substituted, given by local farmers).
The little cakes are stamped with an image of the Easter lamb, and the words Peace and Good Neighbourhood, the sentiments Lady Scudamore is supposed to have wished encouraged by her legacy.
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