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Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

The Bells of Shoreditch

The Bells of Shoreditch - St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch

 

The Bells of Shoreditch refer to those housed in St Leonard's Church, on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch - now part of the London Borough of Hackney. There has been a Church on the site of St. Leonards since 12th Century. St Leonards was often frequented by Elizabethan actors as it was located near to the first purpose built theatre called 'The Theatre' and also in close proximity to the 'Curtain Theatre'. The current church, was built rebuilt in 1740 but its churchyard still holds earlier graves including those of many actors including William Shakespeare's friend and builder of the Curtain Theatre, Richard Burbage. The area was considered a very poor district of London. In 1774, the Shoreditch Vestry levied a special poor rate for the purpose of setting up a workhouse for the parish of St Leonard's which illustrates the level of poverty in the area. The hopeful phrase " When I grow rich" must have been echoed by many of the inhabitants of Shoreditch.

 
 
 
poor victorian children beg in london
 
 
 Picture of poor children begging - which could well
illustrate a scene from
a poverty stricken Stepney
   
 
 

The Bells of Shoreditch

"Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town
"Oranges and Lemons" say the Bells of St. Clements
"Bullseyes and Targets" say the Bells of St. Margaret's
"Brickbats and Tiles" say the Bells of St. Giles
"Halfpence and Farthings" say the Bells of St. Martin's
"Pancakes and Fritters" say the Bells of St. Peter's
"Two Sticks and an Apple" say the Bells of Whitechapel
"Maids in white aprons" say the Bells at St. Katherine's
"Pokers and Tongs" say the Bells of St. John's
"Kettles and Pans" say the Bells of St. Anne's
"Old Father Baldpate" say the slow Bells of Aldgate
"You owe me Ten Shillings" say the Bells of St. Helen's
"When will you Pay me?" say the Bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow Rich" say the Bells of Shoreditch
"Pray when will that be?" say the Bells of Stepney
"I do not know" say the Great Bell of Bow
Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town

The Bells of Shoreditch

 

Note: A Rhymes lyrics and the perceived origins of some Nursery Rhymes vary according to location

 

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Written By Linda Alchin