Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs is, perhaps surprisingly, a relatively new tradition.
The custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China and was popularised in England during the 1660s by King Charles II and his wife,
The Afternoon Tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The evening meal in most households was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a lengthy period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon and requested that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. After a while this became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.
The tradition of afternoon tea soon evolved into a fashionable social event that had a strict dress code. Upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves, and hats to attend, afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.
Over time the habit the tradition became less and less popular, evening meals were eaten earlier, and this negated the need for a mid-afternoon snack. Afternoon tea became a treat, often taken as part of a birthday or anniversary celebration or whilst on holiday in a fancy hotel or quaint tearoom.
We enjoy an afternoon tea; they have become part of our routine here at Layston Grove. We are always offered tea and cake mid-afternoon; we look forward to it.
This week we went out for our afternoon fix of cake to Rosey Lea Ltd at Wickham Hall. It was wonderful, decorated so beautifully. The tables are laid so elegantly, and the crockery is quaint and pretty, drinking from bone china makes one feel quite regal.
The tea was perfect, and the cakes were sublime, we sat together, chatting, and laughing, feeling completely at ease in our environment and enjoying the atmosphere. It was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon.
The staff at Rosey Lea were fantastic, very attentive and friendly, we shall certainly be returning very soon.