Click on Title Header to expand.
The truth behind those nursery rhymes that we used to learn by heart as young children was revealed by the speaker Jean Finney at the last meeting. Many of the nursery rhymes were really the social media of the 16th century that enabled people, who were not well educated, to communicate the historical facts from one generation to the next, without getting themselves into trouble with the authorities.
While “Ring a Ring of Roses” was about the plague and “Hey Diddle Diddle” about a pub crawl from Macclesfield to Buxton, others were much more cynical about the events of the day. The dissolution of the monasteries and its consequences gave rise to “Little Jack Horner”, “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” and “Three Blind Mice”.
The innocent sounding “Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall” was cover for a cannon used in the siege of Colchester in the Civil War while “Goosey Goosey Gander” referred to Cromwell’s persecution of the Catholics and “Georgie Porgie” was a take on King James ! gay lover.
All very revealing but as Ms Finney observed, it’s all on the internet now so what was once a happy innocent rhyme, is now laid bare as a history lesson. Sad!!!
The speaker at the next meeting on December 14th will be Barbara Foster, who will give a talk entitled “Puddings, Pomades and Polish”.