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Little Jack Horner

Updated on July 9, 2017

The Rhyme

Another well known nursery rhyme
which has a deeper meaning is,

"Little Jack Horner",

The Rhyme goes like this:

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb and
pulled out a plum
And said "What a good boy am I!"

Take Note

Many nursery rhymes and childhood ditties have a far deeper meaning.

They sound so innocuous to our ears that we repeat them without thinking.

In by gone days people had to be a bit careful what they said about powerful people, or questionable actions, and so, to mask what they were saying, they'd turn them into silly nonsense so that even the persons being spoken about might not be aware of what was being said.

And if they were, the rhyme had gotten into the public thought so that it would be too late to even try to stop it.

The Rhyme of Little Jack Horner tells a rather wicked story.

The Abbot's Plan

When Henry VIII was King of England, having split from the Catholic Church, he began to confiscate Church Property.

Richard Whiting was the Abbot of the Church at Glastonbury. Thinking he could avoid losing everything, he decided to give a portion of property to the King, thinking that this would appease Henry VIII.

Abbot Whiting, decided to bake the titles of twelve valuable manors into a pie, give it to his trusted steward, Thomas Horner, and dispatch him to the King.

In those days, it was usual to hide treasures in a pie, so this was perfectly sensible.

Where the Jack Enters

Handing the pie to Thomas Horner, the Abbot felt that everything would be taken care of.

However, Horner, behaving as a knave (Jack) opened the pie, took out the best title, sealed the pie and conveyed it with the eleven remaining titles to Henry VIII.

Henry was very pleased with his Eleven Titles, which of course, got back to the Abbot, who, of course made it public knowledge that he had sent twelve titles.

The Rhyme means;

The knave, 'Jack' Horner, secretly,
(in a corner) put his ‘thumb’ into the
pie and plucked
out the ‘plum’.

To this day, the Horner family continues at Mells Manor.... which is the plum.


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    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 5 years ago

      you are very welcome

    • profile image

      historian 5 years ago

      thanks for your help. And what an interesting story behind the rhyme.

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 6 years ago


    • profile image

      chris 6 years ago

      repeated word son

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 7 years ago

      Thanks. I try

    • I_Write profile image

      I_Write 7 years ago

      And all this time I wondered why the plum hadn't be baked!

      Wow awesome hub!

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Wow, that's pretty interesting. Who knew these nursery rhymes had such historical meaning. Thanks again for the info.