Suffolk bakery continues 152-year hot cross bun tradition

Palmer's of Haughley has continued its long running tradition of nailing a hot cross bun to a beam inside the bakery.

Palmer's of Haughley has continued its long running tradition of nailing a hot cross bun to a beam inside the bakery. - Credit: KIERON PALMER

A Suffolk bakery has nailed a hot cross bun to a beam for the 152nd year running - continuing a tradition thought to date back to the Middle Ages.

Palmer's of Haughley has been run by the same family since 1869.

Every year since then, the family firm has continued the quirky tradition to start Easter and bring good luck.

Kieron Palmer, one of seven generations involved with the bakery, said: "We've just always done it.

"The bakery is a medieval bakehouse on the village green, so we nail it up to one of the beams inside.


You may also want to watch:


"I think it goes back to before the reformation, certainly to medieval times. I think they used to do it in churches. We've done it for the last 152 years.

"My great, great grandfather, William James Palmer, who took the business over in 1869. He certainly was doing it with his father.

Kenneth Palmer and his granddaughter Alexandra Palmer continuing the Palmer's of Haughley long running tradition. 

Kenneth Palmer and his granddaughter Alexandra Palmer climbing the ladder to continue the long-running tradition of nailing a hot cross bun to a beam at Palmer's of Haughley - Credit: KIERON PALMER

Most Read

"You do it at the start of Easter, and it's supposed to bring luck — or I hope so.

But Mr Palmer did not want to be drawn on whether the tradition was working.

"I don't want to tempt fate," he said. "If I say it has, things might start going wrong."

This year, the tradition was carried out by Kenneth Palmer, 76, and his 10-month-old granddaughter Alexandra.

Kenneth and Alexandra Palmer, part of the family which has run the bakery in Haughley since the 1800's.

Kenneth and Alexandra Palmer, part of the family which has run the bakery in Haughley since the 1800's. - Credit: KIERON PALMER

"My daughter was born in April last year. And she went up the ladder with my father to sort of help him nail it up."

There are several traditions around hot cross buns in English folklore, ranging from how they boats against shipwreck if taken on a sea voyage and protecting people from fire.

They also help to avoid burning bread if hung in a kitchen, so legend has it.

Mr Palmer said business had been "up and down" over the past year.

"It's been very strange," he said. "Sometimes we're very busy, sometimes we're very quiet. Hopefully, people will come back to local suppliers."

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus