A legend about Cotswold Dogs
This is a legend about a Cotswold dog’s grizzly end and the local tradition the story created. In Painswick, a traditional dish known as Puppy Dog Pie, or Bow-Wow Pie, is served in the Royal Oak after an outdoor service following the first Sunday after the 19th September. Dog lovers and the RSPCA will be pleased to know that no dogs are involved in the making and baking of the modern day pie.
The origins are varied but most are based upon a story of a group of people from Stroud on a visit to Painswick. The host for this particular occasion having by misfortune no promised venison for the visitors slaughtered his dog for the pie filling. When discovered, this increased hostility between the two localities. The nickname of Painswick ‘Bow-Wows’ was adopted in a derogatory way to refer to its inhabitants. Painswick responded to Stroud residents in a similar way, labelling them ‘Gothamites’ or simpletons.
The first written record about the baking of a pie was by a Mrs Gomme in 1897. She discovered that it was a general custom to eat a pie in which the china figure of a dog had been baked. The pies were made at home and could contain either meat or fruit; what was necessary was that it should contain a china dog together with china puppies. There are several other explanations for this odd recipe.
Another story about this Cotswold dogs tradition goes….
There were two sisters, each who had a lover from another town. The distance meant their sweethearts only visited very occasionally, but when they did the sisters would bake cakes and pies for their men friends to prove what wonderful housewives they would be if their hands were asked in marraige. However, they soon discovered the irregular visits were because the young men were really in love with two other maidens from a nearby town. They took revenge, and when the men next came to visit they baked the most tastiest pie. Because it was so wonderful the men asked for the recipe. The sisters revealed with malice, that is was made from two puppy dogs. Unsurprisingly, the young men were horrified and fled, leaving the sisters triumphant, but lonely, in their vengeance.