Rhymes trivia quiz
nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
rhymes trivia quiz

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

The Bells of Aldgate

The Bells of St Aldgate - Church of St. Botolph's


The bells of Aldgate do not refer to principally to a church but to the Aldgate Bell foundry. A Master Founder, called Robert Chamberlain, can be traced back through records dated 1420. In 1588 another Master Founder called Robert Mott, who worked for the Aldgate Foundry from 1574 to1606, recast one of the bells of the Church of St. Botolph's in Aldgate. The Church of St. Botolph's is mentioned in records dating back to 1125. St. Botolph was a pious Saxon Abbot who had built a monastery in Lincolnshire in 654AD. Saint Botolph is the Patron Saint of Boston, Massachusetts. The name was taken as a derivative of "Botolph's town" which became known "Boston". The current church was erected between 1725 and 1740 and dedicated to the Patron Saint of Travellers and Itinerants. The Church of St. Botolph's was known as the 'Prostitutes' church' because the ladies would solicit their trade in this area. Catherine Eddowes, a victim of the notorious Jack the Ripper was seen drunk in the vicinity of the church on the night of her murder on 30th September 1888. The reference to "Old Father Bald Pate" relates to Saint Botolph. A bald pate was a colloquialism used to describe a bald-headed person.

 The Picture depicts Saint Botolph, complete with
'bald pate'

A Picture of St Botolph's Church
in Aldgate, London


The Bells of Aldgate

"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 Aldgate


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


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Written By Linda Alchin