Humpty-Dumpty and his wall were Richard III and his horse….!

If the Richard III theory is correct, then Bosworth went something like this!

Well, we’ve all heard versions of the true meaning of Humpty-Dumpty, including that it was a reference to a 17th-century cannon used in the Siege of Colchester. Oh and Humpty may also have been a drink of brandy boiled with ale. All nursery rhymes had beginnings somewhere, and also have some wild notions about their original meaning, but this Indian suggestion  is a new one on me.

Perhaps it’s wrong to treat this theory as new, because it turns up again in here The wall upon which Humpty-Dumpty sat was….his horse. Humpty himself was Richard III, and his horse was called The Wall. Got it? You have to admit it’s different. Apart from the fact that I can’t imagine that even a 15th century horse would be given such a name, I certainly can’t see why Richard himself would be called Humpty-Dumpty. He was a slender man, not very tall, and Humpty was a very large egg.  Oh, but apparently a Humpty-Dumpty was 18th-century slang for a short, clumsy person. Clumsy? Richard? I don’t think so.

Mind you, there’s a slang word today – Numpty – which is defined as follows: 1980s: of Scottish origin, perhaps an alteration of numbskull, with the ending remodelled on the pattern of Humpty Dumpty. Not a million miles away from the “short, clumsy person” of the 18th century.

So, whatever the actual origin of the nursery rhyme (I go for the cannon in Colchester), attempts to link it to Richard call rather flat. No pun intended.


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