6 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

Lamprey and Lamprey pie...

'Lampreys were the favourite dish of the mediaeval epicures: they were always considered a great delicacy. So great was the demand for this fish in the reign of King John, as to have induced that monarch to issue a royal licence to one Sampson, to go to Nantes to purchase lampreys for the use of the Countess of Blois. The same king issued a mandate to the sheriffs of Gloucester (that city being famous for producing lampreys), forbidding them, on their first coming in, to be sold for more than two shillings a piece. In the reign of Edward III., they were some-times sold for eightpence or tenpence a piece, and they often produced a much higher price. In 1341, Walter Dastyn, sheriff of Gloucester, received the sum of £12, 5s. 3d. for forty-four lampreys supplied for the king's use

The corporation of Gloucester presented to the sovereign every Christmas, as a token of their loyalty, a lamprey-pie, which was sometimes a costly gift, as lampreys at that season could scarcely be pro-cured at a guinea a piece. The Severn is noted from its lampreys, and Gloucester noted for its peculiar mode of stewing them; indeed, a Gloucester lamprey will almost excuse the royal excess of Henry I, who died at Rouen, of an illness brought on by eating too freely of this choice fish, after a day spent in hunting.
(Book of Days)

George lee  •  Link

Unlike eels which they resemble, Lampreys are primitive jawless fish found in the Nth Atlantic. Instead of a mouth there is a sucker with rasp like teeth with which they attach themselves to other fish and feast on their body fluids. They grow to about a metre.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

A Lamprey Pie.
Wash them clean, and cut them, and season it with Mace, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Sugar, and Salt; lay them in the Pie, with dic'd Lemon, Citron, and Butter; and close it.
---Court Cookery. R. Smith, 1725.

A Lamprey pie, after the English manner.
Let your Lampreys be well cleans'd from their Slime, reserving their Blood, and afterwards put into a Pie of fine Paste, season'd with Pepper, Salt, beaten Cinnamon, Sugar candy'd Lemmon-peel, Dates, and Currans: When it is half bak'd in an Oven moderately heated, pour in the Blood and half a Glass of white Wine; adding also some Lemmon-juice before you serve it up to Table.
---The Court and Country Cook. F. Massialot, 1702.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

So they're a lot like overgrown leeches. Parasites. Yummy!

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The sea lamprey, or Petromyzon marinus, looks like something from the depths of hell. Unchanged over the last 360,000,000 years, these 3 ft-long “living fossils” resemble eels or fish, but is neither. These parasites have a gaping suction cup ringed with rows of teeth for a maw. They attach to the sides of cold-blooded swimmers, then use their serrated tongue to rasp away scales and leech away blood, slowly killing their prey

Despite their uncanny resemblance to the Sarlacc from Star Wars, lampreys were a delicacy in England:
In the 12th century, Henry I was so fond of them that, according to chronicler Henry of Huntingdon, he died in 1135 in Normandy of a “surfeit of lampreys.”
This incident may have been why the citizens of Gloucester opted not to send King John a lamprey pie in 1200. The monarch was so angered that Gloucester “did not pay him sufficient respect in lampreys” that he fined them in revenge

From then on, Gloucester supplied lamprey pies to the royal court for special occasions. By 1229, Henry III was so insistent on getting his cut that he declared, “none shall buy or sell lampreys until John [the King’s cook] shall have taken as much as needed for the King’s use”

In 1917 the monarchy stopped the tradition, only to revive it for Elizabeth II’s coronation

As dams and industrial pollution had destroyed the lamprey’s spawning grounds in the UK, the vampires made their way from the Atlantic into the lakes and rivers of North America via man-made waterways. In Britain, they are protected, but in America they’re an invasive species

Sea lampreys are native to the northern Atlantic, but until humans transplanted them, they had no place in the interior of North America. Starting in the late 1800s, lampreys wormed through the Erie Canal into the Finger Lakes. By 1835, they were in Lake Ontario, where they stayed thanks to Niagara Falls. In 1938, they showed up in Lake Superior and around the Great Lakes

Gaden says. “They’re not picky eaters. There are a lot of fish that they like — trout, walleyes, sturgeon. It’s an open buffet with nothing to keep them in check”

A single female lamprey lays between 30,000 and 100,000 eggs at a time.

By the 1960s, sea lampreys were killing 100,000,000 lbs. of fish in the Great Lakes each year. 85% of the remaining catch bore gashes and circular teeth marks. They started an aggressive culling program, when they got a call from Gloucestrer

Marc Gaden’s lamprey wound up in a masterpiece of architectural pastry shaped like Gloucester Cathedral

Since then, Gaden has visited Gloucester and befriended Kirby. “I am the purveyor of the lamprey to the Court Leet of the City of Gloucester and I have a certificate to prove it,” he says with a laugh

For a picture of the lamprey pie that looks like Gloucester Cathedral: https://www.atlasobscura.com/arti…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Apr