nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
 
 
 

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

The Bells of St. John

The Bells of St. John

 

The Chapel of St John is the oldest church in London and situated in the Tower of London on the second floor of the White Tower. The Tower of London was built in 1077 - 97 by William the Conqueror. A door from the Great Chamber on the second floor leads to the north aisle of the Chapel of St John the Evangelist. A gruesome discovery was made under the stairs leading to the chapel. The remains of the bodies of the two Little Princes, Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York were found who were reputedly killed on the orders of their uncle the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III (although some scholars name Henry VII as the culprit). The Tower of London was used as a prison for many years and the "Pokers and Tongs" refer to the instruments of torture which were used there! We recommend castles.me.uk for fully comprehensive details regarding the Tower of London.

 
 
 

 

 

Picture of St John's Chapel
"Bells of St Johns" in St John's Chapel in the White Tower of the Tower of London
 
 
 

The Bells of St. John

"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 St. John

 

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

 

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Written By Linda Alchin