Sift together the flour, salt, spices and soda. Add the oatmeal and toss lightly, to mix. Warm the treacle, butter, sugar and milk together until the butter has melted. Cool slightly, add egg and beat well. Pour into the centre of the dry ingredients and stir rapidly until smooth. Turn into a greased and lined seven-inch square tin. Bake at 350°F, 180°C, gas mark 4, for one hour. Store in an airtight tin for at least two weeks before using.
Every part of the North Country makes its own special parkin. Some are quite dry, others very moist and sticky. Parkin is still eaten on Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th. But it is much more ancient than the Guy Fawkes plot; in fact it is associated with old pagan fire-worship and the feast marking the beginning of winter on November 2nd. Because of this, Lancashire parkin used to be called ‘Harcake’ or ‘Soul Hars Cake’ when that date came to commemorate the Feast of All Souls.