Local history considers Elizabeth Moxon as a pioneering cookery writer from Pontefract, with her book English Housewifry described as the first modern cookbook by a person from Yorkshire. Dream Time Creative was commissioned by Pontefract Museum to investigate the book and Moxon’s life in 2018. What quickly emerged though were several candidates for who Elizabeth Moxon actually was, if she was in fact just one person at all. These include an Elizabeth Shaw who lived in Leeds. Elizabeth was married to William Moxon. William was considered a great baker, so this would put Elizabeth in good, culinary company. Another candidate would be Elizabeth Hastleton. This Elizabeth was from Pontefract. She married a William Moxon who worked as a stone mason. The truth is, our Elizabeth could be one of these women–or she could be neither. We simply don’t know.
What we do know is that the book attributed to Elizabeth remains an incredibly important text and insight into the kinds of ingredients being used in the area at that time.
A blue plaque to Elizabeth’s cook book and the legacy of Elizabeth Moxon, whoever she may have actually been, is located on Finkle Street in Pontefract and was unveiled at a celebration event in March of 2019.
Elizabeth Moxon Broadsheets
Elizabeth Moxon is a bit of a mystery, but one our researchers loved to investigate. Read the thrilling unfolding of Elizabeth’s history, and how she may not have been just one person at all, below: