Oranges and Lemons - cycling tour of London churches

Tour of the churches mentioned in the nursery rhyme 'Oranges and Lemons'

Oranges and Lemons - cycling tour of London churches

England E1 6FQ, United Kingdom

Created By: Individual

Tour Information

Ever wondered what and where the churches are that are mentioned in the nursery rhyme 'Orange and Lemons'?

Ever wondered why they are listed and what the rhyme means?

Now is your chance to find out. Visit the churches and find out more about their history.

(NOTE the order of sites on this route follows the nursery rhyme, an alternative route could be: 8-1-3-7-6-2-5-4)

"Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement'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.

When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!"

There are many different versions of this nursery rhyme but this is the one I knew as a child!

The full version has about 15 churches named - perhaps I'll do that next.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

St Clement Danes stands on the Strand opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. The current church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1687 with the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. It is said that the church was built by... Read more
Unfortunately, all that is left of St Martin's Orgar is the bell tower and its bell, now attached to the church of St Clement's, Eastcheap. The church was damaged during the Great Fire but was repaired. All but the tower was however demoli... Read more
'The Bells of Old Bailey' refers to the church of St Sepulchre Without Newgate. The current church was rebuilt in 1671 after the Great Fire in 1666 and is the biggest in the City of London. This church stands opposite the Old Bailey and the... Read more
St Leonard's on Shoreditch High Street is one of London's oldest religious sites. At the time of the nursery rhyme, Shoreditch was a very poor area of London and so the line "when I grow rich" is rather hopeful, ironic or impossible depen... Read more
St Dunstan's on Stepney High Street is the site of another very old church. As a plaque at the entrance states, St Dunstan dedicated a church here to All Saints over 1000 years ago. The current church is the third on the site and is one of... Read more
The great bell of Bow refers to the church of St Mary-Le-Bow on Cheapside. There has been record of a church at this location for almost 1000 years. Another design of Sir Christopher Wren, this church is considered to be one of the most imp... Read more
This line refers to the rather grim tradition of the bellman from St Sepulchre walking from the church to Newgate prison at midnight on Sunday to inform the prisoner, by candlelight, of their imminent execution. They prisoner would then b... Read more
Condemned prisoners were led from Newgate Prison to Tyburn to be executed. Thousands of people would line the streets to watch the procession and gather to watch the execution. It became a spectator sport as the condemned were expected to... Read more


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