Jeremy specialises in English popular and dance music from 1550 to 1750, and also has a particular interest in the illustration of music and social dance over the centuries.

Nursery Rhymes

Lecture with digital slides and high quality recorded music

Nursery Notions: The Illustration, Music and History of Nursery Rhymes

The lecture starts with a history of nursery rhyme books from their humble beginnings in the 18th century to the classic productions of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway in 1870s and 80s. Then comes a historical examination of the rhymes themselves (many are much older than the books), concluding with a discussion of the fanciful theories developed about origins by Victorian antiquarians. Sad to say, there is actually little evidence that ‘Ring a Ring a Roses’ has to do with catching the plague!


Old English Nursery Rhymes with singers Vivien Ellis and Tim Laycock (Saydisc CD-SDL 419).


Eleven Nursery Songs from a Plymouth Family, in English Dance and Song, Vol. 59 No. 1, Spring 1997, English Folk Dance and Song Society.