The Toblerone & Whisky Ceremony
This new, but ancient, ceremony is thought to have evolved in the 19th century. Many historians believe the precise date was between 1822 and1823. This date coincides with the completion of the Holm Brig which is, of course, a very important part of the foresaid ceremony.
The Holm Brig
So, legend has it that in the years 1822-1823 the very young village of Newcastleton was in the midst of the most important construction in it's fledgling life to date. Like all great erections of it's time, the Holm Brig project needed the best, the best in all fields. So the folk of Newcastleton summoned the greatest engineers, the most skilled stone masons and the strongest labourers from throughout the land, and all they could come up with was "the Holm feckin Brig". "Get to the point!" I hear you cry. Well, one of the labourers that was working on the bridge was a Swiss man, from Switzerland, strangely enough. His name was Erup Kubnum, he had came over to Scotland looking for work and his speciality was stairs and steps. One morning after a long hard days work, Kubnum was having a wee rest in Uncle Tom's cabin, (this was named after Thomas Pedammunae, the designer of the cabin). He was drinking his whisky because the water was rank and was dreaming of home when a gush of inspiration hit him. He noticed that in the middle of the brig there was a step like feature, (fig. 1). "That would be a good shape for a bar of chocolate," he thought to himself.
Using a little imagination, and a few whiskys you can see where he 's coming from !
After the bridge was complete he headed back to Switzerland where he put his idea into motion and the Holm Brig Bar was created. However, translated into Swiss it became the tob (home) and lerone (bridge), then bingo, the toblerone was born. It wasn't until some years later, 1867, that his grandson, Jean, decided to put the Toblerone into mass production, the rest of course is history. So, the world famous Toblerone chocolate bar owes it's existence to it's humble beginning's at the Holm Brig. It is also thought that Erup invented the cuckoo clock from the Brigs design, (fig.2.), but that's a totally different story!
It's uncanny really, isn't it!
The actual ceremony itself takes place at the site of Uncle Tom's Cabin at the Holm Brig on the morning of the Common Riding, 11.28am to be precise. At this time a member of the Copshaw Common Riding Committee will present the tub with a bar of Toblerone and a miniature bottle of whisky, then 'three cheers' will be cried. Pureous Bunkumos to all that gather, amen.
This piece was kindly written by Tub (in a former life) Mr I.Nichol
We would like to thank the great great grandson of Thomas Pedammunae (who is also called Norman) for sending in a copy of the original plans of Uncle Tom`s Cabin after our appeal for pictures last week.