"Oranges and lemons,' say the bells of St. Clement's
"You owe me five farthings," say the bells of St. Martin's
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich," say the bells of Shoreditch
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney
"I do not know," says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes and chopper to chop off your head!
I've had this famous nursery rhyme in my head all week for a good reason. I've been making things with an oranges and lemons theme this week. First of all, there's the Oranges and Lemons bag:
|£9.00 & p+p available in my Etsy store|
Then I have also been making some gorgeous patchwork cushions with the same design as well.
|£16 & p+p for the cover, £20 incl cushion|
|Cute little felt hearts from Smika|
|How lovely are these napkins from LittleBirdsBoutique?|
|I love these sweet little boards from Recy|
So what little snippets can I find you today?
- The phrase 'Oranges and Lemons' may be traced back to the 1600s when there was a square dance called 'Oranges and Lemons'. The actual tune and lyrics are not known but it's suspected that the lyrics are similar to those that we presently know.
- The 'bells' referred to are all the names of churches within the city of London.
- You are a 'cockney' Londoner if you are born within earshot of the Great Bell of Bow - which is not actually located in the area of Bow, but is actually the bells of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside. The original church actually burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was rebuilt and destroyed during the Blitz and wasn't rebuilt again until the 1960s. As it's actual location is within the heart of the City of London, it is unlikely that anyone is actually born within earshot of the bells as it's not a residential area. And for a number of years it was impossible to be born within earshot as there were no bells! So Cockney Londoners are usually thought of as those from the East End.
- The tune of the nursery rhyme is meant to sound like the indvidual bells ringing which all have their own distinctive tune and pitch.
- There are various theories as to what the rhyme means, including representing the difficulties that Henry VIII had with his many wives, describing public executions and references to child sacrifice. However these are mostly totally unfounded as the last two lines about the execution were added at a later date to the original lines.
- It is thought that the last few lines may have been added by children around 1783 when public executions at the Tyburn gallows drew crowds of up to 100,000.
- St Clement Danes' church bell now plays the tune of Oranges and Lemons as it's ring.
- In Orwell's 1984, Winston cannot remember the whole of the nursery rhyme, with different parts provided by different characters throughout the novel with the final two lines coming very symbolically at the end of the novel.
Hope you all have a great weekend!