Are you familiar with this nursery rhyme?
Now he sings of Jackey Horner
Sitting in the Chimney-Corner
Eating of a Christmas pye,
Putting in his thumb, Oh fie!
Putting in, Oh fie, his Thumb,
Pulling out, Oh strange! A Plum.
Perhaps you know a more modern version that goes like this:
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating his (a) Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!
I was fascinated to discover recently that the original version of this nursery rhyme is thought to be about a man named Thomas Horner. Thomas was the steward to Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. Legend has it that prior to the destruction of the Abbey in September 1539, Richard Whiting sent Thomas Horner to London with an enormous Christmas pie. The pie, a gift for the King, contained the deeds to a number of manor houses and were a last ditch attempt by the Abbot to prevent the nationalisation of Glastonbury by the Crown. Horner is said to have opened the pie and extracted the deed to the manor of Mells in Summerset which he kept for himself. Horner’s descendants have refuted this myth and there are records to support their claim that Horner bought and paid for the manor.
Richard Whiting was arrested on the orders of Thomas Cromwell on 19 September 1539. The Abbey was stripped of its valuables and Richard Whiting was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor on 15 November 1939.
The Abbey is now a ruin but it is still visited by 100 000 pilgrims a year. The Abbot’s Kitchen which served the Abbey survived the destruction and is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval kitchen in Europe.
About the author
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.
Find and follow Robbie
The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery
… a perfect recipe for sharing with children. Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.
You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:
or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at email@example.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.