A Short History of the Altar Bread Department


1924: Small gas machine for making two priest's and two people's hosts at a time. 10 or 12 lbs (c. 4 or 5 kilos) of flour a week produced enough hosts for Quarr Abbey and ourselves; hosts cut individually by hand. In 1933 came our first client: Canon O'Hagan. A second client arrived in 1935, and from 1936 onwards there was a steady increase. 









1964: First Electric baking machine, made by Messrs Kissing, Germany, producing round 'cakes' - one very big host - just over 12'' (30cm) in diameter: seven priest's hosts or about fifty people's hosts could be cut from one cake.


1968: New baking machine for thick brown hosts. New pedal cutting machine for small hosts (one at a time) and a hand cutter for larger 5'' concelebration hosts. 

1972: Addition of a second baking machine for thick brown hosts. Flour consumption rises to about 900 lbs (400 kilos) a month.


1974: Electric bore cutter, able to cut through a pile of 40 cakes, from Mr A.A.E. de Bakker, Holland 

1977: Average monthly sales: small: 46,000 priest's: 1,600 concelebration (5''): 150


1982: Four new spring loaded de Bakker machines with integrated knives for waste removal installed on purpose built formica-topped table. All four machines could now be operated by one sister. White hosts discontinued. (The Kissing machine for white hosts went to a Liverpool project for the unemployed and the machines for brown hosts went to the Poor Clares in York). 

1996: Installation of a semi-automatic three-plate adjustable Dubreuil baking machine for white and brown hosts, and a new Dubreuil bore cutter with two new sizes, 10cm and 18cm. 27 priest's hosts or 126 peoples hosts can be cut from the larger rectangular cakes. Baking reduced from 5½ days a week to 1 or 2 days. Hosts now sold by weight in bags instead of counted lines in boxes

1998: Work sheets and invoicing computerised.

2008: We use an average of 600 or 700 kilos of flour a month to make both white and brown hosts, producing an average of over 300,000 small, 12,500 priests' and nearly 1,500 large celebration hosts each month. 





2013: We use an average of 850 kilos of flour per month to make both white and brown hosts and produce annually over two million thick brown and medium ivory small hosts, as well as nearly 150,000 thin white small hosts. Also we annually produce nearly 50,000 priest's hosts.  


New Customers: for an online order form, click here