Madame Treacle and The Treacle Mines.

What’s in a name?  Well, in the case of Madame Treacle there is a little mystery, a little intrigue and a lot of history!  Here at Madame Treacle we often get asked about our name – where did it come from?


Being surrounded by countryside and taking inspiration from its beauty for many of our products, it was little wonder that those same surroundings would have an impact when it came to deciding upon a name.

The Sussex countryside is steeped in history and when we set up the studio here in Conyboro, we soon started to learn from the local residents of Cooksbridge and Lewes that there was a treacle mine in the vicinity!

Treacle mining is the mining of treacle in a raw form, similar to coal.  There are several located around the UK, including Yorkshire, Lancashire, Kent, Sussex and the West Country.  The only recorded use of mines dates back to around the 17th century, although there is evidence of a recorded purchase of mined treacle to be used by Queen Elizabeth I, which would make the log book in which it is recorded a 16th century manuscript.  However, it is believed that treacle mining originated in Roman times.

View from the top of the treacle mine at Offham Hill.

Having a Treacle Mine in the local area was a huge benefit to the community; as well as providing an income for those who worked in the industry, the treacle itself was considered very good for the you, being mined in its purest form; the general health of the local community living near working treacle mines was above the national average for the time.  It was also considered to considerably aid fertility; this seems to be reflected by the higher birth rates in immediate vicinities of working treacle mines.  The treacle itself was exported as well as being sold in the UK; treacle from the Tamerton and Dundchideok mines in Devon mine was shipped to America.

So where are the Lewes Treacle Mines located? Historical evidence reveals them to be located in Offham Hill, which is just five minutes drive from the Madame Treacle studio.

 

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