Easter treat as century old article on Sidmouth hot cross buns is discovered

A more recent scene from Sidmouth's hot cross buns giveaway. Marilyn Retter has unearthed a centrury

A more recent scene from Sidmouth's hot cross buns giveaway. Marilyn Retter has unearthed a centrury-old article relating to the tradition. - Credit: Archant

A century old article about Sidmouth’s popular hot cross event has been uncovered.

Marilyn Retter, a member of Newton Poppleford History Group, discovered the Easter treat while researching old newspaper archives.

The article was published in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette on April 5 1917 and recounts a story told by Sidbury resident Harry Ebdon about the hot cross bun strike that hit Sidmouth.

The Wandsworth Common resident referred in a poem to an 1898 event entitled Hot Buns from Newton Poppleford and how Bedford Hotel proprietor John Parfitt Millen made sure the children of Sidmouth had the Easter treat.

The article said: “The children of Sidmouth idolised Mr Millen, and great was their enthusiasm every Good Friday morning when, on the lawn of the Bedford Hotel, huge supplies of hot cross buns were freely distributed to the youngsters, the cost being met by Mr Millen and his personal friends.

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“So popular was this annual event that, when at Easter 1898 it was announced that no buns would be baked in Sidmouth on Good Friday, the children were filled with consternation and dismay.”

The Newton Poppleford History Group was set up to gather and archive information about the area through residents photographs and documents.

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Mrs Retter said: “It was lucky and it was lovely to find with Easter coming up and also the fact the event appears here is now 100 years old. It’s all come together very nicely.

“It was by sheer fluke, I sat in one evening looking at these things and I came across the word Newton Poppleford.”

The group is appealing for residents to loan any old photographs, postcards or documents to scan into their archives.

If you would like to loan any items, contact Shân Merrit on 01404 812733.

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