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Friday, 31 August 2012

What to do on a lazy afternoon, three--sing

I was taking foreigners through the City and mentioned the song, "Oranges and Lemons", which I taught my son. The Canadians had never heard it before. I explained that the song is about the sound of the bells of the main churches in and around the City of London. It first appeared in the 18th century, but is probably older.

There are little hand motions to do when singing this to baby or toddler. In case you do not know the words:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

If you are into bell changing, here is a great site for St. Leonard's. 

Apparently, oranges and lemons was a folk dance, but the sound of the phrases are to replicate the sound of the bells. Here are the supposed churches. One has a choice as to the actual churches. Here are mine--

St. Clement Danes

St. Martin's Lane, in the theatre district

St. Sepulchres outside Newgate is the third.  The fourth is St. Leonard's Shoreditch.

The fifth is St. Dunstan's. 

The sixth is St. Mary Le Bow, one of Wren's City Churches, built after the Great Fire.

And, of course, the best part, at least for the toddlers, is the last line--when one is caught in the game. Thanks to Wiki for most of the photos (one, two, three, five, six and seven).