Meeting master butcher Richard Balson

PUBLISHED: 10:06 07 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 07 December 2015

Richard Balson

Richard Balson


I’ve always yearned to live in Bridport and now I fully understand the reason why: the town’s butcher extraordinaire, Richard Balson. What a gem.

Richard’s record family business - the oldest in Britain - has stood for 500 years and 26 generations. RJ Balson and Son started life as a Bridport market stall in 1515, a good 20 years before Henry VIII beheaded Anne Boleyn.

The family butchers has been based at West Allington since 1880. Richard is just the latest Balson and, I am utterly sure, not the last.

His family’s sausages are to die for. Or not.

As he says: “All this nonsense that sausages are as bad as cigarettes: it’s a different scare story every week.

“I eat meat every day and every butcher I’ve ever known has lived into their nineties. I’m 58 now and I fully expect another 30 years, at least. I’m a walking miracle.”

Indeed. Richard is as thoroughly decent and entertaining as his meat is delicious, well-loved and exquisitely sourced.

“All our lamb, beef and pork comes from farms no more than 12 miles away,” he says.

“But we stand for more than just great produce. I’ve served sons and daughters, parents and grandparents. We operate on a first-name basis.

“You’ve got to have a smile, a laugh and a joke. I have customers who come into my shop just for the entertainment. Sure, they have to pay for their sausages, but I’m free.”

I’ve interviewed probably a thousand people over the years and I can guarantee you this: Richard Balson is an absolute bargain.


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