The History behind the Great British Sunday Roast

Posted by admin on February 24, 2017

Ask anyone you know what their favourite meal is and more commonly then not, their answer will be a Sunday Roast. As a nation, this dish really stands out amongst the rest and is hugely popular for many families throughout Britain (and the world). Have you ever wondered how the Sunday Roast became so popular, and does it really originate from Britain?


One of the best things about a Sunday Roast is that there are so many meats to choose from, whether you favourite chicken, lamb or pork. However, a truly authentic roast dinner includes beef. Way back when in the year 1485 when King Henry VII was in reign, his Royal Guards would opt for beef every single Sunday after church, thus why they are often known as Beefeaters. Soon after, the Beefeaters tradition became popular amongst the general people with bakeries roasting large joints that would last up to a week.


Now ask someone what their favourite part of a roast is. Our guess is that they’ll say roast potatoes. However, as a country we were not always keen on eating this vegetable. Spanish people brought potatoes back from Peru in the 1500’s, however they weren’t common in Britain until the late 1700’s. Before then, British people would disregard the foreign vegetable. Nowadays, thousands upon thousands of potatoes are grown in Britain alone, making them one of the nation’s favourite foods.


No roast dinner is quite complete without a hearty portion of deliciously roasted vegetables. Though everyone has their personal preferences, a common favourite amongst many is the carrot. Before the 17th century, when roast dinners became hugely popular, all carrots were purple in colour. Carrots were produced with mutant strains to produce the orange colour in tribute to William of Orange, changing the appearance of the carrot as we know it forever.

Yorkshire Puddings

A favourite amongst many, Yorkshire Puddings are a uniquely British part of a traditional Sunday Roast. Traditionally, Yorkshire puddings were cooked directly underneath the joint of beef as it roasted in the oven, meaning the delicious and nutritious drippings flavoured the puds themselves. Yorkshire Puddings were also initially eaten as a starter, rather than an accompaniment with the meal, creating the perfect beginning to the countries favourite dish.

Are you surprised by how much of the Sunday Roast is traditionally from Britain? We’d love to hear your favourite Roast recipes and ingredients!

Here at The Nags Head, we offer a homemade, delicious carvery roast every Sunday between noon and 3pm. If you’d like more information or want information on our current availability, get in touch with a member of the team today by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 01823 442258.