18 February 2013

"Maids in white aprons" say the bells of St Katharines: Oranges and Lemons

A rather unusual Church, St Katharine Cree sits in the shadow of the iconic St Mary Axe and a stone's throw from the Leadenhall Market. A serious, shoe-horned exterior hides a very pretty interior.


The building dates from before the Great Fire, and is "known as the Guild Church to Finance, Commerce and Industry, the present building dates from 1630, although the tower dates from 1504 and was part of the previous church on the site, which itself originally formed part of the mediaeval Priory of the Holy Trinity (1108)."

The bells have been rung continuously since the 16th Century, and have (mostly) survived the Great Fire of London, the WWII bombing blitz, and the 1992 Baltic Exchange bomb on 1992. They mean to stay ringing for the next 500 years.




 "Oranges and Lemons" say the bells of St Clement's
"Bull's eyes and targets" say the bells of St Margaret's.
"Pokers and tongs" say the bells of St John's.
"Pancakes and fritters" say the bells of St Peter's.
"Two sticks and an apple" say the bells of Whitechapel.
"Old Father Baldpate" say the slow bells of Aldgate.
"Maids in white aprons " say the bells of St Katharine's.
"Brickbats and tiles" say the bells of St Giles'.
"Kettles and pans" say the bells of St Anne'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.
"Pray when will that be?" say the bells of Stepney.
"I'm sure I don't know" says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Chip chop, chip chop, the last man's dead.
"Maids in white aprons" refers to the costume of the women of the early 1600's who sold the wares in the nearby markets which included meat, game, poultry and fish.

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