Skip to content

Oranges & Lemons Churches

December 31, 2020
by the gentle author

Let us ring out the old year and ring in the new year with the bells of the ‘Oranges & Lemons’ churches

St Clement’s, Eastcheap

“Oranges and lemons,” say the bells of St. Clement’s.


Site of St Martin Orgar, Martin Lane

“You owe me five farthings,” say the bells of St. Martin’s.


St Sepulchre-without-Newgate

“When will you pay me?” say the bells of Old Bailey.


St Leonard’s, Shoreditch

“When I grow rich,” say the bells of Shoreditch.


St Dunstan’s, Stepney

“When will that be?” say the bells of Stepney.


St Mary Le Bow, Cheapside

“I do not know,” says the great bell of Bow.


You may also like to take a look at

Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Churches

A View of Christ Church Spitalfields

In City Churchyards

13 Responses leave one →
  1. colin allen permalink
    December 31, 2020

    Thankyou GA for keeping us sane through this awful year.


  2. Bernie permalink
    December 31, 2020

    Childhood made manifest.

  3. Pauline Taylor permalink
    December 31, 2020

    Thank you GA Happy memories of my lovely Cockney grandfather and this nursery rhyme ~~~ kettles and pans say the bells of St Ann’s ~~~ two sticks and an apple say the bells of Whitechapel ~~~ and all the others~~~ great.

  4. John Hall permalink
    December 31, 2020

    As an Ancient Bellringer currently unable to do any bellringing, thanks to COVID, I am very sad not to be able to ring in the new year. Rest assured that you will hear all the ringable bells of the churches in the rhyme as soon as we are allowed!

  5. December 31, 2020

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a lovely way to ring out the old year with the story of these beautiful bells. Certainly, 2020 will not be missed.

    The best to all in London during this cruel lockdown. Thanks for providing a ray of light each morning when we open your post.

  6. Linda Granfield permalink
    December 31, 2020

    Wishing you a very wonderful New Year, GA.

    Thank you for sharing so much during 2020, for keeping us fixed on things more beautiful and positive with each day’s posting.

  7. December 31, 2020

    What a fun coincidence. This afternoon, the local clock repair man will bring back the innards of our old grandfather clock, and by this evening we will once again hear the familiar ticking and chiming. How we’ve missed the “pulse of the house”. I look forward to hearing the clock
    signal the New Year, and we’ll go out on our deck and ring the old school bell.

    GA, you are a gem. You never waiver, always sharing optimism and shining a light on so many fascinations and discoveries. Wishing you and Mr. Shrodinger all the best in the NEW

    Stay safe, all.

  8. Cherub permalink
    December 31, 2020

    Thanks for the memories of singing this at primary school in Scotland back in the 60s, also for the photos of these beautiful London churches. I moved from London in 2004 and although I don’t think I could live there now, I do miss certain aspects like the wonderful and diverse architecture.

    A Happy New Year to all from Switzerland, and the hope that 2021 will see the clouds lift and give us all new future to look forward to, wherever in the world we are.

  9. Lorraine Naidoo permalink
    December 31, 2020


    I’m in my 70’s now, and grew up in Holborn. My grandmother was born in Clare Market, just off the Kingsway. The story in my family was that the ‘St Clement’s’ church in the song referred to St Clement Dane’s Church in the Strand, where my grandmother was baptised at the end of the 1800’s. I hadn’t realised there were other churches in London with a similar name.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to all.

  10. Jill Wilson permalink
    December 31, 2020

    I have really missed the sound of bells ringing this year – lets hope it is not too long before they can fill the air with joy once again.

    What would be even better is if they could ring out to celebrate the saving of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry… fingers crossed!

    Happy new year everyone! xxx

  11. December 31, 2020

    I loved this. Thank you and many blessings for a happy and healthy 2021 to everyone! ♥

  12. Amanda permalink
    January 1, 2021

    “Eight bells and alls well.”

    l began by looking up this London rhyme my Aunt sang to me and then found myself reading idioms and references to bells for half an hour.
    “He knocked seven bells out of him” has an obscure interesting nautical orgin too.

    Thank you for continually opening my memory banks to many fond aspects of growing up l had forgotten and for the hour upon hour l have spent totally relaxed doing “look ups” inspired by your fascinating histories.

    My head is now full of the real meanings of everyday speech l’ve used obliviously all my life

    Happy New Year Gentle Author and fellow gentle readers around the globe.

    And not forgetting contented Shröedinger who probably does not miss the ? bells of ShoreDITCH one bit.

  13. Jennifer Blain permalink
    January 1, 2021

    Thank you, GA for another year of wonderful stories – they were so appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS