Lammastide Service

Lammastide 1 August 2019

Lammas or ‘Loaf-mass’ (derived from the Anglo-Saxon Hlafmaesse) is an English feast in origin, held on 1 August as a thanksgiving for the first-fruits of the wheat harvest. Traditionally, a newly baked loaf from the wheat harvest was presented before God within the Mass of that day.

While the ceremony ceased at the Reformation, reference to Lammas Day continued in the Prayer Book calendar, and the practice has been revived in some places in more recent years. The tradition of giving thanks for the first-fruits need not be limited to 1 August, and churches are at liberty to decide when to hold such a celebration.

The Lammas loaf should ideally be baked by members of the congregation, using local produce wherever possible. Other small loaves or buns, in the tradition of ‘blessed bread’, may be distributed to the congregation. Part of the Lammas loaf may be used as the Eucharistic bread on this occasion.

The keeping of this feast has been revived as we help people to reengage with the agricultural world and the source of our food. It reconnects in people’s mind the bread with its source and also with God, the giver of all good things.

For Southwark Cathedral the arrival of Bread Ahead opposite our gates and the constant smell of baking has given us the opportunity to make this a part of our keeping of the Christian year. As a Eucharistic community bread is an essential element of our worship – it is a staple of both altar and table.

Do come and join us on Thursday 1 August at 12.25pm for the blessing of the grain for the first milling at the Bread Ahead Bakery, followed by a celebration of the Eucharist at 12.45pm in the Cathedral using the Lammas loaf baked by Bread Ahead.