The Story Behind the Nursery Rhyme: Bingo


Bingo the Dog

Bingo is the dog (not the farmer)
Is Bingo the farmer or the dog? It’s a genuine question. On the internet. Here’s how we’d answer it. The first line of the rhyme is:

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.

Now, if there was an extra comma, like this:

There was a farmer, who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o,
then we’d possibly agree that the farmer was called Bingo.

The Original words to Bingo

It began as a drinking song
Experts think the tune is Scottish - like Soundbops! It was first written down in 1780 by an actor called William Swords. It was originally a drinking song, and we think drinkers would take a glug of their lemonade at the end of each verse.
Over time, it became a nursery rhyme and a counting game. Singers spell out B-I-N-G-O in the first verse, and replace the letters one by one with a clap as the song goes on.

The Ingoldsby Legends

Leap o’er the stile
There was a Victorian comic writer (and clergyman) called Richard Barham. He wrote funny stories and poems for a magazine, and eventually put them all together in a book called The Ingoldsby Legends in 1840.

He wrote about a jackdaw who steals a Cardinal’s ring, and gave a recipe for salad, and wrote a pretend-old version of Bingo called A Franklyn’s Dogge. We call this a parody.

It is so convincing that many people still believe it was a Medieval poem.

Q. What’s a dog’s favourite instrument?
A. A trom-bone

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. Please click Accept Cookies to continue to use the site.
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has already been registered