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Get Your Alban Buns at the Abbot's Kitchen from Friday 22nd March

Thu, 21 March 2013

The Alban bun

The Alban Bun goes on sale at St Albans Cathedral on Friday 22nd March until Monday 1st April. The buns are produced by Redbournbury Mill, once owned by St Albans Abbey, and will feature on the BBC One Show on Good Friday when food critic, Jay Rayner, looks at the origin of the Hot Cross Bun and why in St Albans, we have 'The Alban Bun.'

The Hot Cross Bun is said to originate in St Albans, where Brother Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th century monk attached to the refectory at St Albans Monastery, developed an original recipe and distributed the bun to the local poor on Good Friday, starting in 1381. For nearly seven hundred years, the Alban Bun has been a part of the Easter tradition at St Albans Cathedral.

The buns themselves are hand-formed, so they are a less regular shape. The cross on the top is formed with two slices of a knife – there isn’t a piped cross on top. The bun has a distinctive, spicy taste. It can be toasted or not and served with or without butter.

millThe buns are produced by Redbournbury Mill, once owned by St Albans Abbey

Justin James, Miller at Redbournbury Mill, said,"All of us are delighted to be able to work in partnership with St Albans Cathedral this year and produce the Alban Bun at the mill bakery. When Brother Thomas Rocliffe ordered the first Hot Cross Buns to be baked at the Abbey in the fourteenth century it is likely they would have been made from flour milled at Redbournbury. It is now nearly 500 years since the mill belonged to the Abbey and it feels very appropriate to once again be supplying the Cathedral with produce from Redbournbury. This year's Alban Buns will all be made from flour milled at Redbournbury, predominantly from wheat grown at Hammondsend Farm; less than a mile from the mill. Our Master Baker, Steven, will produce the buns by hand to the Cathedral's own recipe and with the cross cut into the top of each bun. It is wonderful to be reviving the relationship between Cathedral and mill and to be able to offer visitors to the Cathedral at Easter such a traditional and truly local product."

The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans said “Recently we’ve lost touch with the significance of the bun, and its link to Holy Week and the Cross. These days it’s possible to buy Hot Cross Buns throughout the year. Whilst any reminder of the importance of Easter is welcomed, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Alban Bun might be a way of reaffirming the significance of the bun as a symbol of Christ’s death and resurrection."

The Alban Bun will be on sale in the Abbot’s Kitchen at St Albans Cathedral from Friday 22nd March until Monday 1st April - there is limited stock so please come early to avoid disappointment. Alban Buns will also be available on Easter Saturday from Redbournbury Mill.

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