It’s an integral part of our weekend that we all look forward to – the Sunday lunch. Whether we’ve gone for a quite one at the pub, or we’ve got all the family over for a big roast, it’s just one of those things that make us feel at home. What’s more, it’s a great way of bringing the family together.


Of course, many countries do a Sunday lunch, but what are the origins of the traditional English Sunday lunch, and how did it become so popular?


This tradition might be hundreds of years old, but it’s still common in households up and down the country. Our lives may have changed dramatically in that time, but the roast lunch still lives on, and it’s still an amazing way to create family bonding time.


500 Years Old


It is believed that the Sunday roast dates back to the times of Henry VII, who was king from 1485 to 1509. Before church on a Sunday, the King’s royal guard would roast beef on an open fire, allowing the beef to cook perfectly, ready to be eaten when they finished church.


This is where the nickname, “the beefeater”, is likely to have come from and is still carried today by the Yeoman Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London.


Good ideas travel fast and, before long, the English Sunday Lunch became common place, with people all over the country cooking their meat as they went to church. Traditional root vegetables were added to compliment the meat and Yorkshire Puddings would be cooked beneath the meat to catch the dripping juices. The Yorkshire Pudding, then known as “dripping pudding”, would then be served as a starter.


Shaped by Going to Church


A large Sunday meal is quite common throughout Europe and Christian countries due to the shared activity of going to church on Sundays.


Sundays were a day on which all meats could be eaten, as opposed to Fridays when many Catholics and Anglicans abstained from eating meats. It was also common practice for churchgoers to fast before Sunday church, which lead to them celebrating the end of the fast with a big meal.


This helped shape the Sunday lunch that we are used to today, with a hearty meal, blending the best of both meat and veg.


The Sunday Lunch Today


500 years later and the roast lunch is still considered to be one of our favourite meals. People might not attend church in the same numbers, but we still lead busy lives and the roast lunch is the perfect way to give the whole family a great feed.


Today, you don’t have to cook it yourself, you can simply let the experts take care of things at a great gastro pub like There’s something for everyone’s tastes, and there’s always enough food to go around as you catch up with the family and make plans for the future.


In the passing years, we’ve added new ingredients to our roasts, such as the potato in the 1700s, but the values of the Sunday lunch have always remained. It’s a great time to be with family, eat amazing food and enjoy the last day off before you’re back to work.