My ‘Tried & Tested’ Talk

“The Origins and History of Nursery Rhymes”

This talk is a light-hearted look at the meanings behind traditional well-known Nursery Rhymes.  A fascinating subject; sometimes gruesome, often funny, always captivating.


In the Middle Ages and during the Reformation adults used rhymes to comment on current affairs.  Some rhymes contained coded messages and were used as a way of ‘spinning’ against the Monarch and the Church because people were afraid of the brutal consequences if they expressed their dissatisfaction openly and plainly.

Rhymes are easily remembered.  Children picked them up and recited them.  Over the generations the rhymes were passed down orally.  The original meanings were forgotten.  In the middle of the twentieth century there was some academic research into Nursery Rhymes and many of the meanings were rediscovered, deciphered and put on record.

I have studied this research, selected the most interesting interpretations, tapped into my lifelong passion for British history and created my talk The Origins and History of Nursery Rhymes.

The rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” was probably made up by soldiers at the time of the English Civil War. Why is he always portrayed as an egg?

Many people seem to know that “Ring-a-rosies” refers to The Plague of the 1660’s but there is much, much more of interest behind this four line rhyme. 

Book my ‘Talk’ and we’ll have an entertaining time while you and your fellow club members find out!


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