Definitions

cock-horse

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross is a nursery rhyme connected with the English town Banbury. The nursery rhyme was first seen in print in 1784. Very popular before the 20th century, it was sung every day by William Gladstone to his children as they had "rides on his foot, slung over his knee".

Rhyme

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.

Interpretation

The fine lady

There is no consensus as to who the "fine lady" actually was. Suggestions include:
* Queen Elizabeth I of England
* Welsh Goddess Rhiannon, who was said to have ridden a white horse.
* Lady Godiva
* An unknown member of the wealthy Fiennes family that had married into the Saye family of nearby Broughton Castle This is a very possible answer and it is most likely true .This theory shows because extremely near by is the castle where the name is still Fiennes today

The cock horse

A "Cock Horse" is an old carriage-driving term, referring to an extra harness horse employed to assist pulling a cart or carriage up a hill. The "Cock Horse" would be hitched up at the bottom of the hill and then unhitched at the top. It would then be ridden back down to the bottom of the hill to await its next customer. Banbury is situated at the bottom of a moderately steep hill and the town's council made a "cock horse" available to help access to the town.

"Cock Horse" can also refer to a Hobby horse, a child's toy.

The bells

The words ".... and bells on her toes", refer to the fashion of attaching bells to the end of the pointed toes of each shoe, associated with the nobility of England since the Plantagenet era.

References

Drew, Mary. Mary Gladstone (Mrs. Drew): Her Diaries and Letters. Edited by Lucy Masterman. London: Methuen, 1930.

Notes

Search another word or see cock-horseon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature