Tag Archives: Flanders

Bread and Cheese – get it wrong and you’re dead!

A Proper Ploughmans Lunch
Image via Wikipedia

An interesting bit of medieval trivia for a Friday.

During the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 Flemings in the City of London were particularly targeted by Londoners involved in the revolt – they weren’t too keen on foreign merchants from Flanders coming over and disrupting their livelihood – some things in Britain never change unfortunately! And they used the excuse of the general uprising to settle some old scores.

To identify who was a Fleming the rebels asked people to pronounce the words “bread and cheese”, if there pronunciation was anything like “brote und kase” that was it, the poor unfortunate was for the chop. A number of Flemings were murdered during the general anarchy that persisted in London during the rising. Others to be targeted were lawyers and anyone associated with John of Gaunt – his palace of Savoy was famously sacked.

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