Held this time of the year to honour the birth of the Scottish poet Rabbie (Robert) Burns as it has been every year since 1667.
Sixteen sixty seven?
I can hear the exclamations of disbelief from here!
Surely Rabbie Burns was not born until 1759?*
But desist in your cries of disbelief until you have read the writings of this ace researcher Jefferty Jeff.
The Great Fire of London was a huge conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2nd to Wednesday, 5th September 1666, consuming all in it’s path. Citizens buried their cheese to avoid having an over abundance of Welsh Rarebits with their stews and Welsh rare-bits put on their skirts and hurried away from the overabundant Thameside stews.
Miraculously no one was killed during the fire, though this was not due to any fast thinking action by Mayor Bloodworth (whose blood was worth nothing after that debacle), though Mistress Pycke did get a nasty singe on her second best kirtle and Samuel Pepys was nearly caught (again) by the long suffering Mistress Pepys, with his breeks down and a (ahem) lady in his arms.
The spin doctors of the day wanted to put a positive slant on this disaster and to ”celebrate the miraculous escape of the citizens and the ‘purifying by fire’ of the squalid areas” they suggested that an annual celebration thanks giving supper should be held. Today we would call it a charity fund raiser, but that is today and in those days people were honoured to pay mega bucks to attend a Mamlsey and dug-up cheese party.
And why was it celebrated on 25th January? The man who succeeded the indecisive Bloodbath (oops, sorry! Bloodworth!) as Mayor in October 1666 was Sir Richard How, married to a lovely lady called Anne, but with eyes only for Sarah Lewington whose date of birth was 25th January and as a sop to (hopefully) please her and gain her lust decreed that not only would she be guest of honour at the first Burning Supper, but it should be held on her birthday.
As is well known, at Burns Night Suppers a poem is read, one that dates back and refers to the original Great Fire, that started in Pudding Lane, during a race between apprentice pudding makers to get the suet puddings cooked fastest.
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm
Over the years fewer and fewer people attended and as a fund raiser really it sucked until one day a young and little known Scottish poet, Robert Burns, suddenly died, to every Scottish person’s dismay. His fan was still mourning fifty years later when an enterprising Haggis salesman from Glasgow hit upon the idea of revitalising his flagging haggis sales, drumming up whiskey sales for his cousin Hamish (no, not that Hamish, another Hamish) and holding a supper on the Burning Night Celebration date, 25th January, which by coincidence was the date of birth of this little known Scots poet…
and so we have Burns (or Burning) Night celebrations to this very day.
* (A few people will no doubt be thinking that is very accurate time, one minute to eight in the evening.)
A picture of a haggis on Facebook
Mma Ramotswe, Number One Lady Detective
The Fire Brigade.
Jeff jefferty Jeff does not want to be associated with this work and denies any knowledge of ever having written it and even if tortured you will not get him to say he did it. The copyright below is a lie.
© 22.1.16 Jeff Jefferty Jeff