A childs nursery rhyme of long ago. No it was not from an innocent source indeed a far cry from the nursery ,the childs bed that we all had this sung too. Sinister in fact is its origin and somehow it entered the school yard and prep school as infectious tunes will do.
We go back in time to the first real mention of the mulberry tree. The ancient Chinese art of silk making from the tiny worm that ate white mulberry tree leaves to make cocoons that would end up as silk thread.
The latin Botanical name for the mulberry is Morus Moraceae . The red mulberry is sweeter fruit but silk worms failed to make progress on it as London found out when planting the wrong trees for King James 1st. Who himself had interest in silk making. The Silk Road trade brought tons of silk to Europe and in England cloth was made by looms designed just for silk to be made into cloth.Who has not loved a silk shirt next the skin.
A Russian black mulberry exits and is said to be really sweet for pies and pastry dishes.
In fact it will grow as a species almost anyplace in European hedgerows wild. Taken to America in 1687 it grow well there too.
Silk worms feeding on white Mulberry leaves
What brought us its fame was a simple song related to Her Majesties State Prison on Wakefield Yorkshire England. Long ago a cutting was planted in the exercise yard when women inmates were allowed to circle around it to impact the ground so the winds would not blow the seedling away in 1609. After the bush grew they did the same dance and sang here we go round the mulberry bush although we killed our husbands.
It as a song was a famous tune and soon words made by those who recorded it accepted by all in books as a chanting song .Girls skipped to it and at Christmas 1900 it was sung as carol at Westminster school.
WAKEFIELD PRISON TODAY.
Wakefield Prison was built as a house of correction and poor house in 1594 .Today it is a male only top high security dispersal prison for those too risky to public safety. It is the largest prison of that sort in the United Kingdom.
Here we go round the mulberry bush sung by children all over Europe came from roots long ago in space and time but now we know its rather pitiful origin.
Thank you dear readers ,Yours Sir Kevin.
Copyright KevinParr Bt 2019