[Sca-cooks] mysterious query Part two (Parliament cake/gingerbread)

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Wed Jan 24 18:12:18 PST 2007

Here is the rest of the library research on Parliament Cakes.
Back to the source-- Parliament and Dumps in Lorna Doone

Looking an edition of Lorna Doone the phrase appears in a section 
devoted to John’s school days in the 1670’s page 5

and cared not for the supper-bell, having sucked much *parliament and 
dumps* at
my only charges

Google only gives it as a phrase in Lorna Doone. The 1999 OUP edition 
Lorna Doone.: A Romance of Exmoor By Richard Doddridge Blackmore, Sally 

gives this helpful footnote: "Parliament was probably a form of crisp 
gingerbread and dumps was similar to our “bulls eye” sweets."

Google only gives it as a phrase in Lorna Doone. "Dumps" are not 
mentioned in Laura Mason's book on confectionary.

Then I came across the following under a phrase search--

Blackmore according to OED A globular sweetmeat, a `bull's-eye'.

· *1869* Blackmore /Lorna D./ ii. 5 Some of us..having sucked much 
parliament and dumps at my only charges.

· *1894* Blackmore /Perlycross/ 2 The big Tom Waldron supplied the 
little Phil Penniloe with dumps and penny-puddings.

Looks like Blackmore used the phrase at least one more time.

Parliament Cakes

Parliament cakes appears in a version of the Muffin Man song as recorded in

The Universal Songster 1878

and for your *Parliament cake*», every body knows they are bought and 
»old all over
the nation. No. no, it's enough for me to cry— Delight in the rattle of 

* ** *

*And it also Appears in print in 1814’s *An Apology for the Life of 
James Fennell. By James Fennell.

The author records that he dined upon two pennyworth’s of parliament 
cakes on page 298 There’s no date given for this adventure. Fennell 
seems to have roamed around the British Isles in the late 18^th century.


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list