A MUCH loved British tradition, the cream tea has been enjoyed by the nation for hundreds of years, and is still a coveted afternoon ritual for thousands. So much so, that the sweet pastry and tea combo has its very own day - June 30. 

It’s difficult to know when the cream tea started, but some local historians have traced it back to Tavistock, over 1,000 years ago. After studying ancient manuscripts from the 10th century, it seems that thanks should go to the monks of Tavistock’s Benedictine Abbey who would add cream and jam to their bread and give it to local workers and passing travellers. 

(Julian Barnes/MDA)

The cream tea we know and love today has evolved from this original form. These days, it consists of a warm scone, accompanied by clotted cream and fruity jam, typically strawberry. All of this is complemented by a pot of tea.

The afternoon snack can be found across Devon, but to celebrate National Cream Tea Day, the Mid-Devon Advertiser visited Indulgence, a small tearoom in Newton Abbot. 

Ross, the owner and manager, has been running the traditional tearoom for over nine years. 

‘I wanted to run a tearoom because I just love baking,’ said Ross, ‘it was a love of baking as well as decent coffee and tea.

'It’s a bit of luxury, isn’t it? You get a lot of locals that come in here for their cream teas as well as holidaymakers that come down, and because they’re in Devon they’ll have a Devonshire cream tea, and then they’ll go to Cornwall and have a Cornish cream tea. 

‘It also gives you a moment to have some you time and relax really, I think that’s why they’ve retained such popularity.’

Ross James Booth and Clair Helyar at Indulgence, Newton Abbot (Julian Barnes/MDA)

In the Westcountry, the cream tea has taken on a sacred status, and the mouth-watering combination of scones, jam and clotted cream tempts locals and visitors alike. However, it is not without its controversies. 

While his tearoom was traditional, Ross’s views on the cream tea were more unusual, in Devon at least. 

‘I’m from Devon, but I do like to put the jam on first because you get more cream that way! A bit controversial, I know.’

Other great cream teas:

► The Pharmacy, Newton Abbot

► Locksbridge Tea Garden, Newton Abbot

► The Primrose Tearooms, Lustleigh

► The Copper Kettle, Bovey Tracey

► Bovey Castle, Bovey Tracey 

► Ilsington Hotel, Ilsington

► The Old Cottage Tea Shop, Bovey Tracey

► The Orchard Café, Chudleigh

► Mill End Hotel, Chagford

► Two Bridges Hotel, Two Bridges

► Cafe On The Green, Widdecombe-in-the-Moor