the Pepperers

© photoart composite – East India docks – London then and now

Nothing to sneeze at
though we grind them down without much thought
yet on such spicy seeds empires were made
fortunes favoured
a school for clever East end London boys*
riches from clove and pepper trade
came sailing from the Indies in the East

The Guild of Pepperers formed in 1180 & joined by the Spicers in 1386. As wholesale merchant traders dealing en gros  were incorporated in 1428 as the Worshipful Company of Grocers. 

*My husband attended the Grocers Grammar school : What made an education at ‘the Jewish Eton’ so special?

44 words of British history for this Quadrille #35: “Pepper

34 Comments on “the Pepperers

    • Trade winds made and lost fortunes – still does!

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  1. Interesting history. I didn’t know the word “grocer” was associated with the pepper trade long ago.

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    • Interesting history hence the coat of arms includes 9 cloves and a camel

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    • Glad you picked up on rhythm and roots 🙂

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  2. Interesting…I knew of East India Company but not the “Worshipful Company of Grocers”!

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  3. A read enriched by historic context and your fine wit.

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    • many thanks Kerry for your kind appreciation 🙂

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  4. That’s one familiar sight, nearby my sis-in-law’s. I’m afraid in those days the Thames was nevertheless more pungent than all spices of the Indies put together. Thanks for the brief journey into the past!

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  5. “spicy seeds empires” …is absolutely brilliant! 🙂

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  6. You had me with the first line! A history lesson in a quadrille! I always learn something new at dVerse and you’ve provided the lesson today. Great take on the prompt!

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    • Glad you enjoyed this potted history Lilian – thank you

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  7. Love this… so interesting and how many fortunes that was made in trade of spices… I feel that many times pepper and spices was almost the same… in Swedish ginger bread is called pepper cookies.

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  8. I enjoyed this play on peppery words, Laura, and the bit of history from the East End!

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    • Thanks for the prompt Kim – took me a while to warm up on this one but a country walk helped with inspiration

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  9. Educational – and witty too. 🙂

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    • from pepper plant to pot has a long way to travel though time and space 😉

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  10. Where salt is an essential enhancer and sugar a sensual flood, pepper’s a third rail, more delicately and judiciously applied: a hazier empire perhaps, about the added pop that clarifies essence.

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    • wow Brendan – lets not forget the effects of nutmeg either

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  11. A bit of wonderful history for our spicy palettes. Your first line is so true. From the salt trade to spices, it changed the world of trade and discovery of neighboring countries. So many things we take for granted in modern times. Loved your quadrille. ❤

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    • I like the spicy palettes – might apply to next post too 😉

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