Monthly Archives: October 2010

Today is …..

I am reliably informed that today – 29th October – is the Feast of St. Thomas Bellacci, patron of butchers.

He was born in a Florence house that was on the Ponte alle Grazie, of parents who came from Castello di Linari in Val d’Elsa.

Bellacci became a butcher himself, helping his father in his work. When young, he always got himself in trouble, until finally he was falsely accused of a serious crime when he was around the age of 30. He was helped out by a citizen named Angelo Pace; Pace introduced him to some friends of his who were monks, who in turn inspired him to a life of prayer.

In 1405, Bellacci joined the Franciscans in Fiesole, just north of Florence, even though he was a lay person. Even though he was never ordained, he established several monasteries.

He died 31 October 1447 in a Franciscan convent at Fonte Palomba near Rieti, at the age of 77.

He was made a saint by Pope Clement XIV in 1771.

His feast day is 31 October to mark his death, but in practice it’s celebrated by butchers on the last Sunday in October. From about 2000 on, a butcher named Dario Cecchini has organized village celebrations in Panzano, Tuscany.

Despite his being the Patron Saint of Butchers, he himself in later life ate only bread, root vegetables, and water.

He is also referred to as Thomas of Florence, Tommaso Bellacci, Tommaso de’ Bellacci, Tommaso da Scarlino, and Beato Tomma.

A full article (Copyright 2010 Practically Edible. All rights reserved and enforced.) can be read here

….. and here is a bit of Italian art from around a hundred years later –


The Butcher's Shop is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci. Dating from the 1580s (probably 1583-1585), it is in the Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford.

Charlie the Butcher


The Tamworth Two

The Tamworth Two.  Well, where do I start.

12 years ago two Tamworth pigs escaped. It was in January, 1998 that the pair fled from a Wiltshire abattoir, forcing a fence and swimming across the River Avon. They spent a week on the run, searching back gardens and vegetable patches for food, before being rounded up. With a huge media scrum around the story, the two Tamworths became called “The Tamworth Two”.

They hit the headlines and had tv crews rushing to Wiltshire to cover the story. After the media stories it was decided not to send them to the slaughter house and they missed the butcher’s block but ended up at the Rare Breeds Centre in Kent which is a great place. They were nicknamed Butch and Sundance. But sadly the famous Butch has been put to rest and not for the bacon sarnie lovers, but due to bad health.

Farm manager Davy McColm said:  “Butch was always the livelier of the two, the more physically active. We knew it was serious because in the end she would just stand there and let us examine her without causing a fuss.”

‘She was chronically ill and was not responding to treatment. The vets could not say for certain what was wrong with her, but the prime suspect is liver cancer. Sadly, it reached the point where it was in the animal’s best interests to put her to sleep. Considering she was destined for the chop at six months, she had a good innings.’

So if you are ever passing pop in a give her partner Sundance a pat and cheer her up.

RIP Butch.

Charlie the Butcher.