Dark Origins – London Bridge is Falling Down

I am over at Writing to be Read with this months Dark Origins post. London Bridge is Falling Down, what is the origin of this nursery rhyme? Immurement? Vikings? Or the fires that impacted London in the 17th century? Thanks for hosting me, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

Picture credit: https://speak-and-play-english.com/london-bridge-is-falling-down-lyrics-activities

I grew up playing a children’s game to the tune and lyrics of London Bridge is Falling Down. The game I played was similar to the actions for Oranges and Lemons which involves two players holding hands and making an arch with their arms for a single file line of players to walk under. At the end of the song the arch is lowered to ‘catch’ a player.

There are two dark hypothesis for the origins of this nursery rhyme.

The first hypothesis is that the rhyme relates to the supposed destruction of London Bridge in 1014 by the Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as Saint Olaf, who was the King of Norway from 1015 to 1028.

This supposition is derived from the translation of the Norse saga, the Heimskringla, by Samuel Laing in 1844 which includes a verse which is reminiscent of the common version of…

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