St Clements

Tracked down the nursery rhyme at h2g2 after seeing a recipe for "St Clements Cake" in a book.  Britons know it means an orange and lemon cake.

Oranges and lemons

Say the bells of St. Clements

I owe you five farthings

Say the bells of St. Martins

When will you pay me?

Say the bells at Old Bailey

When I grow rich

Say the bells at Shoreditch

When will that be?

Say the bells of Stepney

I'm sure I don't know

Says the great bell of Bow

Here comes a candle to light you to bed

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head
Chop chop chop chop the last man's dead!

The rhyme lists the bells of various London churches.  St Clements is a tiny church, 64 feet long and 40 feet wide, located in Eastcheap.  St Martins is currently used as offices, Old Bailey was built in 1450 and rebuilt after the Great Fire of London by Christopher Wren in 1670-71.  The spire of Shoreditch collapsed during a service in 1712, while Stepney was built in AD 925, with the oldest of its ten bells dating to 1385.  The bell at Bow used to be rung at curfew every night at 9pm during the 14th century, the church was destroyed during the Great Fire, and again during the World War II blitz.

Subscribe to Quantum Tea

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Follow me on Mastodon