Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for Bara ...



Bara (wheaten bread) – the Cornish word for bread ... but which if it had not been for Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, I would never have realised.

 
Wheaten fields: Bara  Gwaneth (wheaten
bread).  Name mentioned in 16th century
in parish of Towednack
Bara gwaneth – the top of the wheat field – is particularly common in Penwith, the far west of Cornwall – where my mother came from – and is recorded as a family name as early as the year 1590.


A very Cornish sounding family got in the lift with me at the St Pancras (old Workhouse) Hospital when we were visiting mothers – the Cornish link was a surprise ... but the Baragwanath connection made me laugh out loud.


Thus I found out bara is bread in Cornish, the enormous hospital in Johannesburg (originally for the Africans) was named after a Cornish family ... who were storekeepers in those early mining days, when the Cornish were prized for their mining skill.

 
Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg
(the 3rd largest hospital in the world,
after two Chinese hospitals)
Breads – the staple of many of us – come in plenty of disguises ... baps, barms, breadcakes, bread rolls, and now the description bara – the wheaten field, where the flour would have been gleaned.


Bara, a word that bemused and amused my mother when we discussed the unlikelihood of these connections coming about ...


That is B for Bara – part of the ABC series on Aspects of British Cookery.

Baragwanath Family History - if anyone wishes to click over the look!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

59 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

What a coincidence! Now I know two Cornish words (well, actually, I always know two or three, but I forget them when I learn a new one.)

Suzanne Furness said...

Yeah what a coincidence and a new piece of Cornish info for me too, Hilary.

Patsy said...

Now I've got the urge for some nice fresh crusty bread!

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

I didn't know any Cornish words so I have learned something new already today. A great subject Hilary, bread as they say is the staff of life.

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

Clay said...

A very thorough post Hillary! Thanks for dropping by my blog by the way. All the best. Cheers

yamini saha said...

Hey nice post and clever choice for the both alphabets. Now I can tell people I know 2 cornish words or just keep using instead of bread and make them go crazy :)
This is my first challenge and I am thrilled.

Anne Mackle said...

I never knew the Bara meant wheaten bread which I love so much and wheaten scones were my childhood favourite but they don't taste the sam anymore.

Lynn said...

I will look at bread today and think of it as Bara.

MorningAJ said...

It's Welsh as well, of course. But they come from the same source.

Bara brith or 'spotty bread', is a Welsh delicacy that's sort of like a tea bread, with dried fruit and spices, eaten with butter.

Bob Scotney said...

I'd heard Barra being used in Cornwall so now I know much more about it thanks to your post.

Bish Denham said...

Bread comes in many forms, under many names. Hmmmm, I can smell it baking.

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww what a lovely word! And it got used to name a hospital! Brilliant! Take care
x

Jo said...

Don't think I've heard the word before, although I did spend a honeymoon in Cornwall. Interesting stuff as usual Hilary, thanks.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Manzanita said...

Hilary
You are so lucky to know your family history. I don't know mine at all. I like the B...bread word. Bread and butter, my very favorite food, no kidding.

Nick Wilford said...

Fascinating how things get spread around. (Like butter on bread... mmm!)

Clarissa Draper said...

I'll have to try that bread.

Rosalind Adam said...

As Ann pointed out it's also Welsh. I remember having the most delicous fruity Bara Brith in North Wales. But this is still the Jewish Passover. It ends this evening. I haven't had a taste of bread (fruit or otherwise) for eight days so I know what I'm having for supper!

JoJo said...

I love me some bread. I don't buy Italian or french in the grocery store because I'll eat it all. I can't be tempted that way!

Laura Eno said...

I'm constantly amazed at the circular nature of things and events which seem random - even bread. :)

Teresa Coltrin said...

Bread, my best friend. Great post!

Karen Walker said...

how interesting, Hilary. I'm loving your posts for this year's challenge.
Karen

Tina said...

This word-nerd thoroughly enjoyed this! And I also love coincidences like that...great post, Hil.


Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ/ Ashwini said...

I need some bread.. Thats a nice take on the letter B.. I'll return tomorrow for C

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I learned a new word today!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa and Suzanne - ah you Cornish lasses .. I love the Cornish language - but only an 'interest' interest ..

@ Patsy - if only we had the warm wheat field to eat it in ..

@ Yvonne - yes, bread is the staff of life isn't it ..

@ Clay - good to see you and enjoy the A - Z ..

@ Yamini - nice to meet you and I'm so delighted you're enjoying the Challenge .. I'll be over shortly!

@ Anne - having home made bread is delicious or from a local bakers ..
but scones are delicious ...

@ Lynn - that's good .. let's spread the Cornish language ..

@ Morning AJ - I think it isn't - the meaning is slightly different - bara brith in Welsh (and it is a Welsh name) is a yeast bread ...

However I'm sure as you say they come from the same source ...

It was the coincidences that have always amused me ...

@ Bob - I don't think I'd heard it used til I went to Johannesburg - but it was asking the family their name ... that brought all the links about: talk about coincidence

@ Bish - bread does come in many forms ... and is always delicious ..

@ Old Kitty - it was an amazing set of links ...

@ Jo - I hadn't heard the word before .. as I mention above ..

@ Manzanita - this isn't my family history .. it's someone else's -- but I did love the story line

I do know a fair amount of both sides of my family's history ...

But bread and butter is the staff of life isn't it ...

@ Nick .. that mining connection throughout South Africa always throws up links back to Cornwall ...

@ Clarissa - the bara is just a plain bread baked from the local wheat fields ...

@ Ros - as I mentioned above - I think it's different ... but I'm happy either way!!

It's as you say a yeasty fruity bread .. whereas bara in Cornish is just the wheaten bread ...

Enjoy breaking your bread tonight - it's getting on for sundown ...

@ JoJo - I can quite understand your love of good bread and good butter for that matter ...

@ Laura - even bread, a name, a hospital in a 3rd world country ... the connections are strange aren't they ... and if I hadn't been 'Cornish' no-one would have picked it up ...

@ Teresa - bread .. sadly it and I don't agree .. so I don't eat it too often - but love it when I do

@ Karen - appreciate that .. I blog to amuse/interest me and you !

@ Tina - it was an extraordinary few minutes in life .. because they went to a different floor and I never saw them again - but I remembered and looked the information up!

@ Ashwini - good to see you .. and so pleased you're enjoying the A - Z ..

@ Alex - that was a simple one wasn't it .. the Baragwanath is a little trickier!

Cheers everyone - lovely to see you all .. Hilary

Val Poore said...

I learn something every time I come here. Great to know, and an interesting titbit!

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for teaching me a new word! I always enjoy learning something new from your posts.

rosaria williams said...

And that's how language connects us across space and time. A wonderful coincidence, indeed.

barnalisaha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
barnalisaha said...

What a lovely blog you have, dear H. I am so glad to have found my way to your delicious blogpage:-)

Friko said...

do you know that bara brith - the Welsh bread - is translated as ‘speckled bread’?

I am looking forward to further contributions from you. There are too many participants juggling for attention for my liking, I can’t be bothered to join the scrum.

Julie Flanders said...

I can see why this connection amused your mother, it makes me smile too. Very unlikely!

Christine Rains said...

I've heard the word a few times before but I never knew what it was. Cool! Also, more so, I know what an Aga is now. Love your theme!

Patricia said...

Wow this was great- I now know what my father meant when he replied to my mum about what he wanted for his lunch. He would always say "Bara, apple, and a slice of cheese"

Since he got a tuna sandwich nearly everyday like the rest of us, I just thought Bara was a type of apple...
I never thought to ask him about it, but most of those things were from his Scotland born father.

Inger said...

Interesting as always. I never went to Cornwall while I lived in the UK and I so wish I had.

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting!

I don't know what I'd eat without bread as a part of my diet. :P

Mark Means said...

Great blog you have here, Hilary, and I love your A to Z theme :)

Thanks for dropping by and commenting on mine, as well.

Munir said...

You brought back such good memories of Cornwall Hospital. My husband was working there then and I was pregnant with my first one. We used to go to the beach and to the hill there. There was an open field right behind our bedroom window that belonged to some one who had cows grazing. How peaceful.

Chuck said...

More interesting information...and I may learn a new if arcane language when this is all over. I like your series Hilary!

I now seem to want some toast and jam...hmmm.

Chuck at Apocalypse Now

Summer Ross said...

Bara- could be used in a story. Thank you for sharing.
~summer

Damyanti said...

I didn't know this word. Look forward to the rest of your challenge posts!
Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Julia Hones said...

Interesting choices... I also like the pictures.

Dana Martin said...

I can't wait to read "C"! I look forward to learning more.

Best,
Dana
Waiter, drink please!



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - many thanks .. it'd warm your Dutch boat ..

@ Sherry - pleasure

@ Rosaria - it is how language connects us around the globe .. the co-incidence was quite incredible ..

@ Barnalisaha - many thanks and appreciate you visiting ..

@ Friko - yes I did know about the speckled bread .. but I still think it's different from bara gwaneth - I'm sure the bara is Celtic for wheat ...

The scrum - there's a few of us aren't there! I shall do what I can do and I expect meet some like minded people along the way ...

@ Julie - it was extraordinary to find out so much from this brief meeting in a lift ... my mother did used to laugh and 'be amused' at things ...

@ Christine - well glad you've learned something from here .. and that you know about the Aga ..

@ Patricia - sounds like you've found your answer! Your 'poor' father .. still I see (to my surprise) that canned tuna was available in 1903! He just wanted lovely fresh bread, some butter I guess, an apple and a hunk of cheese - a very good lunch.

I expect the bara would have come down from Scotland too ...

I've a Cornish dictionary or two here - I must look them out and check out 'bara' ...

@ Inger - you'd have loved the county .. it has so much history and is stunningly beautiful - but I'm biased!

@ GE - I think many people will feel the same way as you ..

@ Mark - lovely to meet you .. and thanks so much - pleasure to be at your blog ..

@ Munir - yes you and Cornwall .. it always brings back memories for you. Small fields and just sea views ..

@ Chuck - I don't think there'll be much more Cornish - but I'm always happy to oblige with new snippets. Toast and jam ... wait til D!!

@ Summer - yes bara would make a good story line wouldn't it ..

@ Damyanti - many thanks .. and good to see you ..

@ Julia - thank you .. I like to add the photos in ... gives another perspective ..

@ Dana - thanks for coming over - good to meet you .. ah "C" -- better get to it!

Cheers to you all .. lovely to see you here .. Hilary

Marja said...

language is interesting. Nice to see pictures about Johannesburg We have a lot of South African immigrants here in NZ I try to speak Dutch with them but we only pick up some words from each other
(when you ever visit us you are always welcome to stay in our humble home or we can show you around)

Rhonda said...

I am a bit of a carb junkie, so I will have to give Bara a try.

Madeleine Sara said...

I've not eaten a decent slice of bread in ages. I remember the yeasty smell of childhood breads Mmmmm. Now breads seem to be made with speed and preservation in mind and have no yeasty smell.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marja - language is interesting isn't it. I don't speak Afrikaans, but having lived in SA a while I can sometimes get the idea .. and when I hear Dutch or German people - the same thing.

I'd love to visit you - sometime!! Thank you so much ..

@ Rhonda - breads of all sorts are good aren't they and especially those that have come straight out of the oven ..

@ Madeleine - I have to say I'm not a good bread eater ... but when I do - it is delicious. Warm and rising bread with that dough savour wafting the house or kitchen is so gorgeous ... then the cooked bread - with melting butter ... yum yum!

Thanks ladies for popping by and leaving a comment .. cheers Hilary

C. Lee McKenzie said...

What great history! I really enjoy learning about the history of words. Is that a watercolor of the Wheaten Fields? It's beautiful.

Val Poore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Val Poore said...

Hilary, I had a school friend with the name of Baragwaneth. I only remembered it after reading your post. I was at school on the Dorset Devon border in Lyme Regis. Then I got wondering about Baragwaneth hospital and looked it up. Sure enough the origins of the name come from a young Cornish lad of the same name: http://www.chrishanibaragwanathhospital.co.za/history It's all so interesting! I see your photo mentions it as the third largest hospital in the world. According to the website, it used to be the largest! As I said, I learn something every time I come here. Thank you!
PS, that deleted comment was mine. It went wrong!

Val Poore said...

Oops, I see you've already mentioned the Cornish family. Still, it was nice to read more about John Albert :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee .. it's a lovely picture isn't it - I think I re-found the site, but can't find the picture to credit them.

@ Val - Chris Hani .. was actually a Communist-ANC activist .. a leader on the fall of apartheid ... but he was assassinated in 1993 .. so the hospital has been renamed after him.

The grocery store family - would have been on the road out of Johannesburg to the gold fields in the late 1800s ...

Interesting though you were at school with someone of the surname Baragwaneth - an unusual name .. I'd always thought it was an African name ... til that lift meeting I had no idea!!

Cheers and thanks for adding to the story line ... Hilary

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Love the smell of home baked bread, love it more when buttered (still warm) and filled with ham and pease pud. Yum!

Anna :o]

Val Poore said...

Yes, Hilary, but good that they've still maintained the old name too, especially since it was called that because of the place rather than the man! in fact I was in Jo'burg when Chris Hani was assassinated! Not much of a claim to fame, but it caused quite a stir at the time! My friend at school was a local girl (Lyme Regis), but it may be that her family stemmed from Cornwall. I always thought her name was terribly exotic too!

Sara said...

Hilary -- That's a one word to say "Bara" but then I don't if I'm pronouncing right.

What an interesting story about you learned about Bara and the Cornish connection at the hospital:~)

I'll have to see my eldest daughter knows what Bara is...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anna - isn't that yeasty smell just lovely - wafting across the kitchen or home ... and warm with melting butter ... ham = ok, pease pud - I'm not so sure about .. I love plain bread and butter!

@ Val - I'm pleased the name stuck - but no-one ever mentioned the Cornish connection - to find out in an old lift of an old Workhouse hospital back here .. is one of those funny things that happen in life.

I was back here by the time Hani was murdered ... and I still have friends in SA - I'm waiting for one of them to ring me shortly, she'll be over in the summer.

Incredible though you knew someone from school with the name of BaraGwaneth ... amazing.

@ Sara - I think the Bara bit is as is .. the Gwaneth .. also as is ..

It is a strange story isn't it - almost one of those unbelievable ones ..

Cheers to the three of you .. Hilary

CMSmith said...

This is an interesting series of posts you have going.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Christine .. many thanks .. Hilary