Cass trustees’ dinners
Sir John Cass left £10 a year for the trustees to have a special dinner around his birthday. This was the occasion that quickly became Founder’s Day.
£10 was a very handsome sum (the equivalent of three months’ salary for the head master of the school, who was well paid), so it was the price of a very grand dinner for the trustees, of whom there were about a dozen at any one time.Each year one trustee was responsible for ordering the dinner from a local inn, and special items were often requested during the meetings in the weeks before. On various occasions these included ducklings, green goose, pineapples, and large supplies of claret and sherry.
The school children were not forgotten – on the same day they had roast beef and plum pudding for dinner. This tradition continued up until the First World War.
It should be remembered that the trustees were not paid, had to attend a long meeting every fortnight, and most took their responsibilities very seriously. Clearly Sir John Cass felt they earned their special dinner.
All this was cooked either over an open fire, on a spit in front of the fire or in a bread oven built into the wall beside the kitchen fire.
Closed stoves were not available until the end of the century, and gas stoves not for a hundred years after that.