Flour of England

DESCRIPTION: "Flour of England, fruit of Spain, Met together in a shower of rain, Put in a bag and tied with a string, If you tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1844 (Halliwell)
KEYWORDS: food riddle ring nonballad
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 153, "Flour of England, fruit of Spain" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #691, p. 273, "(Flour of England, fruit of Spain)"
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 34, "Flour of England" (1 text)

Roud #20572
NOTES [130 words]: All sources on this seem to agree that the "standard" answer is plum pudding but that there could be a political undercurrent. If we spell the first line "Flower of England, fruit of Spain," then it might refer to a Spanish marriage. Usually the marriage suggested is that between Mary Tudor and Philip II (since Mary did once publicly give Philip a ring), but it might make more sense to point to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Nonetheless the incomparable Katherine Elwes Thomas, The Real Personages of Mother Goose, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1930, pp. 110-112, fills in what she believes are the details of the Mary-and-Philip courship.
Jacks proposes yet another possibility, having to do with the defeat of the Spanish Armada. That one seems pretty strange to me. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.2
File: OO2153

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