Nursery Rhymes arrow List of Rhymes arrow Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got and down he trot
As fast as he could caper;
And went to bed and covered his head
In vinegar and brown paper.


There are more than a few speculations concerning the source of the nursery school rhyme, including marking the occasion in English history, when, in the 17th century, King Charles I tried to improve the taxes on fluid measures. He was blocked by Parliament, so consequently ordered that the quantity of a Jack (1/2 pint) be reduced, but the tax remained the same. This meant that he still received additional tax, in spite of Parliament's veto. Therefore "Jack fell down and broke his crown" (many pint glasses in the UK still have a line marking the 1/2 pint level with a crown above it) "and Jill came tumbling after". The allusion to "Jill", is an suggestion that the gill dropped in amount as a result.

The rural community of Kilmersdon in Somerset has a extended custom of relationship with the nursery school rhyme. It has been established that the surname Gilson almost certainly originated in this region and might have been resultant from 'son of Jill'.  

Jack and Jill are Louis XVI of France who was deposed and beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette (who came tumbling after). The expressions and words were made further pleasant for the nursery school by giving it a joyful end The initial publication date for the words of this nursery rhyme is 1795 which ties in with this account.