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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1199: Special Lecture: While Shepherds Ate (Language: English)

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 13.00-14.00

Introduction:Rhiannon M. Lawrence-Francis, Special Collections, Leeds University Library
Speaker:Eileen White, Leeds Symposium on Food History & Traditions

The shepherds in the medieval biblical plays from Chester and Wakefield (Towneley) are depicted sharing a supper before being interrupted by an angel who tells them of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The two groups describe contrasting menus. Using the cookery book collection from the Leeds University Library’s Special Collections, this session will examine what the shepherds ate, and the menus to which they refer. Links will be made to traditional food of the north of England.

Eileen White is a food historian with a keen interest in how these books can be a source for historical research.

The session will take place in The Sheppard Room, accessed via the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, where some of these items will be on display. Special Collections houses over 200,000 rare books and seven kilometres (4.3 miles) of manuscripts and archives, including the celebrated Brotherton Collection, the Melsteth Icelandic Collection, the Archives of the Dean & Chapter of Ripon, the Roth Collection, and the Oriental Manuscript Collection.
The Reading Room of Special Collections is open from 09.00-18.00 during the Congress week, and IMC delegates are welcome to pursue their research and explore the collection. More details can be found at