Barley: More Recent History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

In Europe, after the fall of the Roman Empire, barley bread was considered inferior to rye bread and greatly inferior to wheat; but barley bread was used even by the rich, as trenchers, which served instead of plates. Barley remained the chief bread grain of Europe as regards quantity rather than quality until the 16th century, and lingered in remote areas, for example, in the north and west of Britain, for some time longer. In the 19th century in the form of bonnag, it was still the main kind in the Isle of Man.