18 September 2016

Humpty Dumpty

The rhyme was first printed in 1810 and became famous through Lewis Caroll's book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, where Humpty Dumpty is shown as a round egg. However, it is a very old rhyme and goes back much earlier than this. One theory is that 'Humpty Dumpty' goes back to the English Civil War and the 1648 Parliamentarian siege of Royalist held Colchester. 

The 15th century tower of the church known as 'St Mary's by the Wall' was part of the defences.  Reports indicate that on 15th June 1648 the church was strengthened against attack by putting a large cannon (named Humpty Dumpty) on the roof, manned by a master gunner known as 'One-Eyed Jack Thompson'. Fire from this commanding position apparently caused a lot of difficulty to Lord Fairfax's attacking force.  
The Church of St Mary's by the Wall in Colchester.  The repair work is clearly evident
The 15th century stone tower was incorporated into the 18th century brick rebuild

Thompson's success made many of the Roundheads fire onto the church roof and, sometime during the 14th or 15th of July, Thompson and his gun came tumbling down. The damaged cannon could not be raised again. This was one of a number of setbacks for the defender and, on 28 August 28th the Royalists lay down their weapons and opened the gates of Colchester to the Parliamentarians.

1 comment:

  1. That's incredibly interesting. The Humpty Doo tavern near Darwin does excellent Crocodile Burgers at ..... Humpty Doo.
    Cheers from Darwin