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Harborough Museum

Cooking through time – Tudor pottage

Cooking through time – Tudor pottage

The period between 1485 and 1604 was known as the age of the Tudors, a period which spanned almost 120 years. Artefacts at Harborough Museum dating from this time include a set of 3 15th century roof bosses which can be found at the back of the museum. The roof bosses are decorative wooden carvings which were once part of the beams at St Dionysius’ Church, and were carved to depict angels. Figures such as angels were common in religious art during the Tudor era as religion was such an important part of Tudor life

Three ancient timber roof bosses from the church of St Dionysius, Market Harborough
The roof bosses can be seen at the entrance to the Local Studies centre.

Another important part of Tudor life was the monarchy, and one of the most famous Tudor monarchs was King Henry the 8th. He was well-known for having had 6 wives during his reign. He was also well-known later in life for his love of good food. Some of his favourite dishes included game pie, roasted meats, and a dish called pottage. Pottage is a hearty stew packed with delicious vegetables, herbs and oats. Although King Henry enjoyed the dish, it was most known for being a hit with working class people who were unable to afford the luxury of meat

Thanks to our volunteer, Hilary, for researching and baking this historical recipe!

A photograph of pottage with bread


30 minutes to 1 hour


  • ½ onion
  • Some vegetables (use whichever you prefer, in this recipe we’ve used a parsnip, a leek, and 2 carrots)
  • 300ml vegetable stock (or warm water if you don’t have any stock. If you use water, make sure you add extra herbs for taste)
  • Some herbs (whichever you have available, dried or fresh)
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 4tbsp porridge oats
  •  Crusty bread (optional)


  1. Ask an adult to prepare your vegetables for you depending on how chunky you’d like them to be
A photograph of all the ingredients
  1. Place a saucepan on a medium heat and add your onions. Allow to soften for a minute before adding the other vegetables
A photograph of onions in a saucepan
  1. After a few minutes, cover the vegetables with the warm water and mix together. Allow to stew for a few minutes so that they begin to soften
Carrots, celery and other vegetables being cooked in a saucepan
  1. Add in a good handful of herbs, and then add the salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and leave to stew for about 5 minutes
  2. When the water begins to bubble, add the porridge oats and stir. You’ll notice the stew begins to thicken immediately. Gradually stir until everything is nicely combined, and then remove from the heat
  3. Eat on its own, or serve with some crusty bread. Enjoy!
Herbs have been added to the vegetables being cooked

Remember to take a photo once you’ve made your pottage, and send it to Harborough Museum. We would love to see your take on the recipe! Send us your photos at Harborough Museumon Facebook or to @LeicsMuseums on Twitter

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Tel: 0116 305 3627

Address: The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT (Car Park: LE16 7XA)

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