Easter 2015
Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter season treat - and they can last a very long time. Getty

An Essex couple say they own the world's hot cross bun. Andrew Munson, 77, and his wife Dot, 73, were given the bun by a neighbour. An accompanying note said it was baked on Good Friday, 1807, in Colchester, Essex. This means the Munsons' bun dates back to the year the UK government abolished the slave trade across most of the British Empire.

Andrew and Dot keep it in a cardboard box inside a drawer to protect it from sunlight and they bring it out only once a year, at Easter. The couple live in Wormingford, Essex. The current certified world record holder, meanwhile, is said to have been baked on Good Friday 1821. The latter bun is owned by Nancy Titman, from Deeping St James, Lincolnshire. Her great-great-great-grandfather William Skinner made the bun at his London bakery.

However the Munsons' bun appears to be 14 years older still. Andrew told the Sun newspaper: "It's a miracle it never went mouldy or fell apart down the years. " The retired grandfather of four added: "You couldn't eat it though, it's rock hard. But it's definitely a talking point at Easter."

A local historian, Andrew Phillips, has traced the bun's history from its original owner onwards, taking in all the hands it has passed through. He discovered that its original owner was Edward Holdich, whose son later passed it on in his will. Eventually it reached accountant Norman Baker, who then gave it to the Munsons, after Andrew Munson carried out some electrical work for him. Phillips said: "The bun looks the genuine article to me. It's had an intriguing story." The Munsons plan to pass the bun on to one of their three children so that its record-breaking life can continue.

Hot cross buns may date back at least as far as the Roman Empire. Two small loaves with crosses were found in the ruins of Herculaneum in south-west Italy. The modern British tradition was influenced by a decree issued in 1592 by the London Clerk of Markets which forbade the sale of hot cross buns and other spiced breads, except at burials, on Good Friday or at Christmas.