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Alphabe Thursday … U is for Upon Paul’s Steeple.

October 9, 2014


Upon Paul’s steeple stands a tree,


As full of apples as may be,


The little boys of London town,


They run with hooks to pull them down,


And then they go from hedge to hedge,

Until they come to London Bridge.


An apple tree on the steeple of St Paul’s seems to have been an old joke, or a popular imagery. In a ballad Tom Tell-Truth printed 1676 appears,


Atop of Paul’s steeple there did I see

a delicate, dainty, fine apple tree

The apples were ripe and ready to fall

and kill’d seven hundred men on a stall.

The origin of this and the nursery rhyme presumably predates 4th June 1561, when St Paul’s steeple was destroyed by lightning. The apple tree may even have been a real one for curious things did happen on the steeple.  Strutt in his Sports and Pastimes (1801) describes rope dancing on the steeple battlements (1553), a Dutchman standing on one foot on the weathercock (1546), and an acrobat being killed while sliding down (1554).


alphabet thursday

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2014 8:01 am

    Very charming illustration! Regards Thom.

    • October 9, 2014 9:00 am

      Thanks! Thom nice to hear from you I send good wishes to you xxx

  2. October 9, 2014 2:48 pm

    Fun post for U ~ love vintage poetry ~

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  3. October 9, 2014 4:21 pm

    I am so enjoying your posts this go around!

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