Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

Ride a Cock Horse

Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book version from 1744:
Ride a cock-horse
To Banbury Cross,
To see what Tommy can buy;
A penny white loaf,
A penny white cake,
And a two-penny apple-pie.

 

Queen's Visit to Banbury

Ride a Cock Horse QueenThis nursery rhyme allegedly refers to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) visiting Banbury. Banbury is a little market town, a bit more than sixty miles northwest of London, England. At the time an enormous cross, made of stone had been put up and the Queen traveled to the locality to see it. On the way to the destination a wheel of her carriage broke, and she chose to continue her way by riding on a horse. The horse she was given to ride, was a beautiful white stallion.

Puritans Against Crosses

Banbury Cross 1904Puritans who didn’t like it as a pilgrimage destination destroyed the stone cross, as well as two other crosses in Banbury in 1602. Two and a half centuries later in 1859 another cross was erected near the same site that the original cross stood.

Banbury Cakes

In addition to the stone cross, Banbury is also famous for its delicious cakes. Banbury cakes, made with honey, cinnamon and currents were already made at the time when Queen Elizabeth I visited the town. The recipe of Banbury cakes is available here.

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