Tag Archives: 5th Nov

THE BURNING TAR BARREL EVENT AT OTTERY ST MARY

WHAT: TAR BARRELS OF OTTERY ST MARY’S
WHERE: TOWN CENTRE, OTTERY ST MARY, DEVON, EX11 1BZ
WHEN: MONDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2018
COST: FREE ADMISSION

‘Goodness Gracious Great Barrels of Fire’

The exact origins of the celebration are unknown but there are various reasons and myths of why it began. The only thing that is known is that it started after the gunpowder plot in 1605 and is now over 400 years old.

The West Country has always had a history of torchlit processions and burning of barrels as well as following the annual tradition of rolling lit barrels down the streets on November the 5th. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the rolling of the barrels was a little too tame and that there was way much more fun in carrying them through the streets, and therein the new tradition was born. Whilst this practice was initially followed by everyone, it soon fizzled out and now Ottery is the only town in the country that still carry these blazing barrels on the streets celebrating Nov the 5th in a slightly different way to the rest of us.

Each of the 17 local public houses sponsor a barrel to be lit and carried to the river. The day begins with a women’s and children’s event, but the main attraction is the responsibility of the men. Only those men who have been born in the town or who have lived there most of their lives can carry the barrel. Generations of the same families compete against each other in a battle of nerve, strength, and stamina, fighting to remove the 30-kilo barrel from the runner. The crowds also try to join in the action to get near enough to feel the warmth of the barrels flame.

During this incredible fire festival, the population of the town doubles as people from all over the world come to witness the festivities. As the men carry the last of the barrels down to the River Otter they all then join making one of the biggest bonfires to be seen in the region. On one side of the river is the bonfire and on the other reflecting in the water are the flashing neon lights as the annual funfair starts up to entertain everyone in the family.

An amazing fireworks display is on offer that will mark the end of the day’s celebrations for another year and certainly end the evening with a bang.

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Sussex Bonfire Societies

The Sussex Bonfire Societies are responsible for a series of Bonfire Festivals around Central and Eastern Sussex along with Surrey and Kent between September and November.

The societies hold celebrations to mark both Bonfire Night for Guy Fawkes’ capture and in recognition of the deaths of the 17 protestant martyrs who were burned in front of the Star Inn between 1555 and 1557, some 48+ years before Guy and his co-conspirators tried to take the lives of King James and the whole of the British parliament and supporting advisors including Judges and any number of Lords. The original structure still stands to this day and is now used as the Town Hall. Sadly, this is not the first or last death in the name of religion or ‘faith’ but let’s hope that there are lessons learned.

The societies are dotted about the region but by far the biggest celebrations take part in Lewes where they have 7 separate Bonfire Societies including Cliffe, Commercial Square, Lewes Borough, South Street, Waterloo, Neville Juvenile and Southover. Most of the members of the Lewes Societies hold their events on the 5 th November as is tradition other than the Neville Juvenile Society who hold theirs the Saturday a couple of weeks before hand.

The Lewes Bonfire Societies origins can be traced back an act declared by the King, thankful for the foiling of the plot to take his life declared that from henceforth, an Act entitled ‘An Acte for a publique Thancksgiving to Almighty God everie yeere of the Fifte day of November’ was passed in January 1606 that proclaimed the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot should ‘be held in a perpetual emembrance’ which the societies continue to celebrate to this day.

Now don’t be under any illusion that the Bonfire Society events are anything less than spectacular but they are certainly not a family night out. They burn an effigy of the Pope rather controversially and of course, a Guy Fawkes who was an ardent follower of the Catholic faith as seen in his attempts to kill of the representative of the Church of England, King James. The celebrations include huge parades through the streets carrying all manner of things including torches, burning crosses, letters spelling out the initials of their particular organisation, skull and crossbones and the Cliffe society carries massive flags saying ‘no popery’ which incidentally ‘the establishment’ tried to prevent in the 1920’s and again in 1933 the Mayor of the town wrote a very nice letter asking the society to stop such practice. Needless to say the society wrote back declining the request and again in 1950’s the other societies attempted to stop them in continuing this practice and to this day, they march alone on the ‘fifth’.

For anyone with a taste for fireworks and excitement, based around the Gunpowder Plot and the history of the Sussex area, these societies offer a fascinating insight and a never before seen way of celebrating life and long may it continue.

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BONFIRE NIGHT SWEET TREATS

Bonfire night this year falls on a Saturday for a change so the children can join in the fun making sweet treats for you, your family and friends to enjoy.

The first recipe involves a little bit of frying ..

BITE SIZED TOFFEE APPLE DONUTS (MAKES AROUND 40 LITTLE DONUTS)

1/2 pint milk

4 oz butter

2 lb flour

2 x 7gm sachets of fast acting dried yeast

4oz caster sugar (plus an extra couple of oz for dusting)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon (plus an additional half tsp for dusting)

2 large beaten eggs

2 large sweet apples grated

1 tin carnation caramel

Oil to fry Method:

Warm the milk and add that butter and set aside until all the butter has melted and the milk mixture is no more than hand hot. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the slightly warm milk mixture, grated apple and beaten eggs into the well of flour etc and mix to a SOFT dough.

Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface before putting into a greased bowl and sealed with cling film till the dough has proved (around 2 hours).

After the first prove, tip out the dough and re-knead and then pull off walnut sized balls of dough. Roll into small balls and place them onto a greased baking tray and keep going until all your mixture has been used up. Cover again and leave for a further 40 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the dusting sugar and cinnamon and place on a dry tray ready to roll your fried donuts in.

Lightly fry around 4 at a time until golden brown and pop onto some kitchen roll to drain. Whilst still warm, toss in the cinnamon sugar and leave to cool.

To fill the donuts, simply poke a hole with a skewer in each donut and pipe in the caramel mixture.

Keep a little of the caramel to swirl over the top of them – DELICIOUS

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER OATCAKE SQUARES

12 oz Butter

6 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz peanut butter

10 oz rolled oats

8 oz plain chocolate chips

2 tsp vanilla extract

Put the butter and demerara sugar in a pan to melt down until the sugar disolves. Add the rolled oats and stir until all the oats are covered and the butter and sugar are absorbed into the oats.

In the second pan, melt together the peanut butter and chocolate chips until smooth.

Divide the oat mixture roughly into four and put one quarter into each of the two greased trays you have ready. Press down to the edges keeping it flat. Then, pour over each half of the melted chocolate and peanut mixture and spread to the sides. Before it goes hard, sprinkle the remaining quarters of the oats over the top of the chocolate mixture on each tray. It will settle a little.

Once you have all the mixture in the baking trays, chill overnight before cutting into small even squares.

Simply GORGEOUS

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