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Ring a Ring O' Roses (Condicote)

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Performer: Children
Place Collected: Condicote
Date collected: 1909 (13 Aug)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 7925

More ink and cyber ink has been expended and wasted on this singing game than on any other such game. 20th century fantasists wanted to link the game to the Great Plague of 1656, in the face of evidence that the rhyme did not exist until much later. A version dated 1790 from New Bedford, Massachusetts has the following:

Ring a ring a rosie
A bottle full of posie
All the girls in our town
Ring for little Josie.

No sneezing there, then.

Be that as it may, it must be the one single singing game that everyone in the UK knows and many across the Atlantic also. The Stow-on-the-Wold children sang a version which would be the same as these days (but with only one sneeze), whereas the Condicote children had further lines, possibly borrowed from another song.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 6 May 2015