Rowell Fair Curd Tart

Rowell Fair has always been a time when family members living away returned to their roots to meet their family and friends.

Traditionally, the meal served at Rowell Fair Sunday teatime was boiled ham with salad with Curd Tart to follow. The Curd Tarts are traditionally eaten on the Sunday before the Proclamation of the Fair.

Young housewives learnt the recipes from their mothers, and each family had their own list of ingredients to suit their taste.

Photo of Ann Jones, famous for her Rowell Curd Tart Recipe
Ann Jones

The Recipe

Ann Jones, local Rowellian, has now perfected the recipe after feedback from her husband, Walter, who commented: “They’re not like my Mum used to make”. She then discussed it with her Aunt Mabel, after being advised: “Mother always added something from the bottle!”. The following makes 24 tarts.

  • 4oz. (125g) curd or cottage cheese
  • 4oz. (125g) currants or mixed fruit
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 4oz. (125g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Rind of a 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2oz. (60g) of butter
  • A little ground nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 glass of whisky, sherry, rum or lemon juice
  • Homemade shortcrust pastry


  • Soak the fruit overnight in the alcohol or lemon juice
  • Line 24 patty tins (deep-sided pie tins) with thin shortcrust pastry
  • Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon rind
  • Add the beaten eggs, curd cheese, breadcrumbs, fruit, nutmeg and salt
  • Put a good teaspoon of the mixture into each patty tin
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180-200℃ (350-400℉, Gas mark 6) for approximately 25 minutes – or, until golden brown

Ann perfecting the perfect Rowell Fair Curd Tart


If you like a good competition, there is an annual event at the Rowell Fair. Here are the details (but do check with Rothwell Arts & Heritage Centre for the latest news).


All entries for the Rowell Fair Curd Tart Competition must be brought to the Rothwell Arts & Heritage Centre by the advised time on the first Saturday of Fair Week.

You may vary the recipe as you wish.

A first, second and third prize will be awarded for ‘Adults’ and the ‘Under 14s’ for what the judging panel consider the ‘best in show’.

Your entry of SIX Tarts should be presented on a plain white plate (provided).

The judging panel’s decision is final, and it is a condition of entry that ALL Tarts entered in the competition must be donated for sale at the Arts & Heritage Centre immediately after the judging.

Good Luck! 👍

Our thanks to the Arts & Heritage Centre for supplying this information

The Rowell Fair Curd Tart Competition 2023

On Saturday, 3rd June at 10.30, on a bright sunny day in Rothwell this year’s Judges assembled for the 2023 Rowell Fair Curd Tart Competition, jointly organised by the Arts & Heritage Centre and the Rowell Fair Society.

The Judges (L to R): Jo Potter, Sharon Davis and Chief Judge, Brenda Austin

Entries, as usual, were split into TWO categories – the ‘Under 14s’ and ‘Adults’.

It was interesting to see the slight variation in the look of the finished Tarts, but what really mattered, of course, was the TASTE. After all the entries were displayed and with the Judges armed with knives, forks and serviettes, they were left to blind-taste each one.

An hour-or-so later, decisions had been made! 👏

With contributors invited back to the Arts & Heritage Centre to hear the results, Paul Johnson, President of the RFS, thanked everyone for their support of this fine Rothwell tradition.

Sue Johnson, Secretary of the RFS explained the prize structure and the results were announced with the prize-giving duties happily shared between Paul and Frank York, Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor.

Prizes – Under 14s

Third Prize: £5 Book Voucher
Second Prize: £10 Book Voucher
First Prize: £5 Book Voucher

3rd Prize: Polly Guyett
2nd Prize: Amelie Morgan
1st Prize: Shelby Morgan

Congratulations to our under-14 winners – Polly, Amelie and Shelby! 👍👍👍. Frank York also presented the winners with a free-ride voucher each!

Prizes – Adults

Third Prize: £10 voucher donated by Williams Fish Bar
Second Prize: £20 voucher donated by the Charnel House restaurant
First Prize: A cash prize of £35 and an engraved trophy that is retained for a year (donated by the Rowell Fair Society)

3rd Prize was awarded to Kim Foster; 2nd Prize to Sue Alden

…whilst 1st Prize went to first-time entrant Claire Hagger. Well done Claire, Sue & Kim.

Sue Johnson, on behalf of the RFS, ended the competition by giving every NON-prize winner a unique gift! A bespoke glass, originally commissioned in 2020.

2023: Winners, Contributors and Judges!

Our thanks, as always, to Ann Jones who provided the recipe and has supported the competition since it began; The Arts & Heritage Centre for hosting and the Judges for giving up their time today.

Well done to everybody who took part! 👍

Previous Competitions

Click for 2022’s Results