Devon vs Cornwall Cream Teas

Devon vs Cornwall Cream Tea Differences


Devonshire cream teas have been made with cream on the bottom and jam on top ever since their origin in Tavistock Abbey in Devon, where the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam began in the 11th century. This origin of the Cream Tea is disputed by the Cornish who believe the only way to serve a cream tea is with the cream on top.

Historically, there have been more variations between Cornish and Devon cream teas than just whether jam or cream is placed on top. In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. But nowadays the scones and clotted cream used throughout tearooms in both counties is very similar and therefore the main difference is how you choose to have it.

Devon vs Cornwall cream teas arguments for both -

For Devonshire Cream Teas:

  • Cream is like the butter, you wouldn’t put butter on jam.
  • It originates from when jam was expensive so you’d just have a bit to put on top.
  • You can get more cream on if you load it first!
  • It stops you getting cream on your nose. :) (jam on cream lays flatter???).
  • If you’re sharing a cream tea with a Cornishman (although unlikely!) you get first dibs on the cream.

For Cornish Cream Teas:

  • It’s easier to spread.
  • You can taste the cream better on top!
  • You wouldn’t put cream on the bottom of a fruit salad.

Personally, I think the great thing about cream teas is that almost everywhere gives you the choice so it shouldn’t be a Devon vs Cornwall debate but the focus should be on fresh locally produced ingredients, and definitely no whipped cream!

Our Great Cream Tea Poll

Between August 18 and March 19 over 1,000 internet user took our poll to decide which method is most popular, in theory these users were as unbiased as possible. Did the poll backfire with more people preferring the Cornish method 😬?

Cream Tea Debate Poll Results

Decide For Yourself Which Is Best

Cream Teas By Post Decide for yourself which is the best way of serving a cream tea with our cream teas by post delivered straight to your door the next working day.

See Also:

How to make the perfect Devonshire scone

Rodda's recipe for Cornish Splits

28 comments


  • If one has has bread and jam one puts the butter (cream) first and then jam. Why should it be different with scones in place of bread?

    Ken Reece on

  • To Blackwell – exactly – do everything with joy – and give thanks for all our blessings. Life is too short to sweat the “small” stuff.

    Linda McParland on

  • First poster Linda Mc – glad I am reading this on Sunday. Always love a good sermon! Butter, jam, cream. Best eaten with joy in life. Don’t take it out!

    Blackwell on

  • Silliest thing I’ve ever heard. does it really matter? Just be happy you have a roof over your head, good health, enough money to buy healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains, milk, some good quality meat, fish, poultry, and some nuts and seeds. If there is any money left over and you like to eat jam, grow some strawberries, raspberries, and make some preserves, then whip up some cream in a mixer, and bake some biscuits or scones or muffins, and eat them whatever way you feel like it, and you don’t have to have cream on a scone. A baked apple with a drizzle of homemade raspberry sauce is healthier and more delicious. Just be happy it’s not 1643 with the Parliamentarians battling the Royalists. Could the jam verses cream argument have been the catalyst for starting the civil wars? LOL

    Linda McParland on

  • you mention cornish split but we also have devon splits known as ‘chudleys’ very few bakers make them now the most local to me is at sidmouth

    heather crispin on

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