The inhabitants of Tichborne and Cheriton in Hampshire will be busy baking today as they benefit from the Tichborne Dole.
The Dole consists of a gallon of flour for the local men, with the women and children getting half a gallon each. The Dole began when Lady Mabella Tichborne lay on her deathbed. In her final hours she asked her husband to establish a dole of bread on the Feast of the Annunciation.
Her husband being of a less generous nature grabbed a brand from the fire and promised to donate as much flour as could be produced by the land she could encircle while the flame continued to burn. Somehow she managed to crawl just over 23 acres before she died. With her last breath she warned that if the Dole was ever stopped the family would produce a generation of seven sons followed by seven daughters and then die out.
World War II rationing threatened the Dole
In the 18th century the Dole was stopped for a time but it was reinstated when a generation of seven sons was followed by one of seven daughters. During World War II rationing threatened the Dole but it was saved when Anthony Tichborne was sent 6,000 flour coupons from well-wishers all over the UK.