In the tin mines of Devon andCornwall, pasties were associated with “knockers”, spirits said to create a knocking sound that was either supposed to indicate the location of rich veins of ore,or to warn of an impending tunnel collapse. To encourage the good will of the knockers, miners would leave a small part of the pasty within the mine for them to eat. Sailors and fisherman would likewise discard a crust to appease the spirits of dead mariners, though fishermen believed that it was bad luck to take a pasty aboard ship.
A Cornish proverb, recounted in 1861, emphasised the great variety of ingredients that were used in pasties by saying that the devil would not come intoCornwallfor fear of ending up as a filling in one.
In 1959 the English singer-songwriter Cyril Tawney wrote a nostalgic song called “The Oggie Man”. The song tells of the pasty-seller with his characteristic vendor’s call who was always outside Plymouth’s Devonport Naval Dockyard gates late at night when the sailors were returning, and his replacement by hot dog sellers after World War II.
The word “oggy” in the internationally popular chant “Oggy Oggy Oggy, Oi Oi Oi” is thought to stem from Cornish dialect “hoggan“, deriving from “hogen” the Cornish word for pasty. When the pasties were ready for eating, the bal maidens at the mines would supposedly shout down the shaft “Oggy Oggy Oggy” and the miners would reply “Oi Oi Oi”.