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Oranges and Lemons

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Performer: Children
Place Collected: Stow-on-the-Wold
Date collected: 1909 (29 Jul)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 8255

Surely one of the best known of the singing games, but nowadays one that is more often promulgated as a party game taught by adults rather then a children’s playground game.

It is in fact one of our oldest games. A text of 1744 starts:

With Sticks and Apple, ring ye Bells at Whitechapple,

and then goes onto mention the bells of Aldgate, St. Catherines, St. Clements, Old Bailey, Fleetditch, Stepney and Paul’s

The version used nowadays does not vary in words or tune, but the tune sung by the children at Stanton shows a nice variation, and one published version has:

Pancakes and fritters say All Saints and St. Peter’s


Notes by Gwilym Davies 6 May 2015