The Orders, Rules and Other Regulations to do with Chub ~ Untold Surrey 'history'

PUBLISHED: 18:18 28 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:39 20 February 2013

The Orders, Rules and Other Regulations to do with Chub ~ Untold Surrey 'history'

The Orders, Rules and Other Regulations to do with Chub ~ Untold Surrey 'history'

In a tongue-in-cheek series, amateur 'historians' Otley & Wimblefuss bring us outlandish tales from our county's past, with a healthy disregard for any historical accuracy...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2013

In a tongue-in-cheek series, amateur historians Otley & Wimblefuss bring us outlandish tales from our countys past, with a healthy disregard for any historical accuracy...

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Shortly after the Norman invasion of Surrey in 1066, a certain Gilbert de Bignez was assigned the job of keeping an eye on our county. By all accounts a bit of a sulker, Gilbert is said to have spent most of his time moaning about our food and lamenting the fact that hed ever come on Uncle Williams stupid conquest.

However, it was whilst attending a Christmas buffet at an inn near Merton that Gilbert found himself face-to-face with a large, soused fish that reminded him of his mother. And of the other Christmas treats she used to prepare.

After discovering that the fish in question was a chub, which had been caught in the nearby River Wandle, Gilbert announced somewhat emotionally that he would be devoting the rest of his time in this wretched land to drawing up a charter to be known as: The Orders, Rules and Other Regulations to do with Chub the first law of which stated that all the chub in Surrey belonged to him and to him alone.

Tis the season to be chubby...
Sadly, this sort of behaviour is typical of your arriviste conquering class but, with other things on their minds, the downtrodden of Surrey had little stomach for disputing Gilberts outrageous claim. Besides, most of them probably felt that he was very welcome to a fish from which the flavour of a rivers bottom was impossible to extract.

Neither did they complain when Gilbert instigated an annual count, or upping, of Surreys entire chub population. The Normans, it would appear, were devils for this sort of petty record keeping.

Unbelievably, chub-upping, like swan- upping, continues to this day. Unlike the swankier swan-upping, however, the upping of Surreys chub (an annual task that can take several years) is a tradition maintained with a notable lack of hoo-ha; one might even say secrecy.

Anyway, if youve run short of cookery projects over the Christmas holidays (and provided you can lay your hands on one), why not try sousing yourself a chub? Who knows, perhaps, like Gilbert de Bignez, you too will be reminded fondly of your mother.

Happy New Year!

About the authors

LOCAL historians Otley & Wimblefuss are the authors of Untold Surrey, a collection of tall tales from around our venerable county.

A fascinating insight into a Surrey that many may have trouble recognising, the pair have penned 20 short histories for the collection, including Horror in Hindhead, Vanity of the Bonfires, Godalmings Shortest Swordsman (parts I & II) and Lady Pettigrews Ride.

Otley & Wimblefuss are represented in real life by Surrey residents Mark Insoll and Tim Glynne-Jones. Mark is a freelance video director, who has scripted and directed many corporate and educational videos and his own film projects. Tim is a journalist and author, with several non-fiction books to his name, covering subjects as diverse as football and the English language.

Over the next few months, the pair will be bringing the esoteric knowledge and satirical knee-jerks of Otley & Wimblefuss to the readers of Surrey Life.

  • Do you have an intriguing tale from Surreys past? Write and let us know at the usual address or by sending an
    e-mail to us at

  • For more fascinating stories of Untold Surrey, including the full history of chub-upping and a free recipe for Chub Bignez, please visit the Otley & Wimblefuss website, which youll find at

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