Monday, September 14, 2015

Larder, Gainsborough Old Hall

click photo to enlarge
The modern surname, Spencer, is thought to come from the old French Despencer, Despenser or Dispenser, the name of a knight who may have supported William 1 in his conquest of England. This name may derive from the act of dispensing after the manner of a steward, or refer to the larder itself. Within a couple of centuries "spence" or "spens" had come to mean a food store or the surname of one who had the responsibility for such a place, in Northern England and Scotland.

That word was largely replaced by larder and pantry, the food stores for meat and bread, in England. Today those words are, in turn, falling out of use, and the much more general "cupboard" or "food cupboard" (or perhaps freezer and refrigerator) have taken their place. However, in my travels this year, during my visits to several old country houses owned by the National Trust and English heritage, the older words that were commonly used in my childhood returned to my current vocabulary as I have come across several reconstructed larders. These old store rooms have been "provisioned" with representations of some of the foodstuffs they would originally have held. In July I posted a photograph of a larder at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire. Today I offer an example from Gainsborough Old Hall, Lincolnshire. This large, partly timber-framed town house has particularly large and fine kitchens and associated rooms dating from the 1400s. I particularly liked the evocative, dimly lit larder and the (stuffed) game and representations of prepared meat on the slab.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12mm (24mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.4
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On