As one of the very first places in the country to make a good cuppa, it was the birthplace of a timeless Yorkshire tradition.
Now visitors to Temple Newsam can be part of a stirring story that stretches back more than 370 years as the historic estate brews up for its first ever tea festival. Starting this weekend and running until October 10, the estate will be hosting a programme of events and activities all celebrating tea, including tea dances, themed crafts, and baking.
The events will continue a long legacy of tea at Temple Newsam which began back in the 17th century. West Yorkshire Archives preserves a huge collection of documents related to the estate, including an apothecary bill for medicinal ingredients bought for the estate in 1642.
Among the items specified on the English Civil War era shopping list is an order for a number of bottles of “China Drink”, the old name for tea, with each bottle priced at four shillings and sixpence. The bill is thought to be one of the earliest known written references to tea in England, predating the famous text by noted diarist Samuel Pepys, who referred to the beverage in 1660.
Adam Toole, curator at Temple Newsam said:
“The house and the estate have made so many memorable contributions to the history of the city and the country over the centuries and we’re always making new discoveries about the people who lived and worked here.
“It’s fascinating that Temple Newsam played a part in the story of tea in Yorkshire, and we hope our visitors will join us over the next week to explore that legacy while they enjoy a cup or two.”
Events for Temple Newsam’s tea festival will begin this Saturday (Oct 2) from 11am to 1pm when the mansion’s Picture Library will host dancing lessons with Arbeau followed by refreshments in the Still Room.
On October 4, at 1.30pm, visitors to the estate’s walled garden can sew their own tea bag and chat to the team about the medicinal herbs grown there.
And on October 5, at 1pm, a member of the Yorkshire Tea blending team will be hosting a talk on tea varieties, tastes, and blends. A specially-made Temple Newsam tea will also be available to buy in the shop and café, inspired by the estate and co-created with members of staff.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture, and education said:
“Temple Newsam is such an important part of the city’s heritage as well as being one of our most beautiful and popular locations. It’s always great to see the unique story of the estate brought to life in new and inventive ways, particularly those which bring people together.”
Between 4 – 10 October join us in celebrating the history of tea drinking, right here at Temple Newsam. Tea has been part of our lives for many generations, but it hasn’t always been as easy and affordable as buying a box of teabags from the shop. When tea was first brought to our shores from China in the 1600s it was an expensive luxury that only the rich could afford, kept under lock and key by the lady of the house.
Take a self led tour through the manions, learning all about our links to Britain’s favourite brew. There’s an eclectic events programme on offer too and you can learn all about it via the main Tea Festival event page. Please note that some events require pre-booking so please make sure to check out the listing ahead of visiting. We look forward to sharing a cuppa or two with you soon Temple Newsam Tea Festival
For more information about Temple Newsam’s tea festival and to book tickets for individual events, visit: www.museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk