History, Meaning and Origin of Jack and Jill Nursery Rhyme

Have a good time singing your school time favorite nursery rhyme, "Jack and Jill" along with your kids! 

"Jack and Jill" is a traditional English rhyme, which has Roud Folk Song Index number 10266.  
History, Meaning and Origin of Jack and Jill Nursery RhymeYoutube
The rhyme is believed to be originated in the 18th century, with a rhyme scheme of abcd. Melody associated with "Jack and Jill" was first recorded in National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs by James William Elliott. 


Various theories have been advanced to explain the origin and meaning of the lyrics. "Jack and Jill" is traditionally considered as a nonsense verse, particularly because the couple climbs up the hill to find water, which is often believed to be found at the bottom of the hills. 

The phrase "Jack and Jill" was often used to indicate a boy and a girl in England, in the early 16th century. A comedy titled, "Jack and Jill" was performed at the Elizabethan court in 1567-68. The phrase was used in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by Shakespeare, in which the lines are written as "Jack shall have Jill; Nought shall go ill" (III:ii:460-2), and in Love's Labour's Lost, the lines are - "Our wooing doth not end like an old play; Jack hath not Jill". The phrase in the lines refer to a romantically attached couple, as in the proverb "a good Jack makes a good Jill".

The first recorded version of the nursery rhyme treasured in a woodcut showed two boys (not a boy and a girl) and used the spelling Gill not Jill. 

Meaning of lyrics 

The real origin of the rhyme is unknown. However, different theories are associated with its origin. Like many other nursery rhymes, theories advanced to explain the meaning have no corroborating evidence. In the 13th century, S. Baring-Gould suggested that Hjúki and Bil (siblings) were taken up by the moon from the earth as they were fetching water from the Byrgir well.

A theory was advanced by Katherine Elwes in 1930, which claimed that Jack was Cardinal Wolsey and Jill was Bishop Tarbes, who settled the wedding of Mary Tudor to the French king in 1514.

One of the theories suggests that the lyrics in the rhyme records an event, which occurred in the Kilmersdon village (Somerset) in 1687. A local spinster became pregnant and died soon after the putative father took his last breath after falling from a rock. 

Origin and meaning of this one of the popular kids' songs is truly surprising and interesting as well. Isn't it?