On our way home from our holiday we stopped at Banbury in Oxfordshire, which must surely be best known for featuring in the nursery rhyme Ride a Cock Horse and for its Banbury Cakes! We have stopped here for coffee or lunch several times before, but didn’t realise we’d missed the main shopping area, which features an attractive market square and town hall. The Waterstones is located in the Castle Quay Shopping Centre, which opened in the year 2000.
The ‘Fine Lady’ statue and Banbury Cross
There used to be several crosses in Banbury, but they were destroyed by the Puritans in the early 17th century. A new cross was erected in 1859, and a nearby statue of the ‘Fine Lady’ from the nursery rhyme was unveiled nearby by Princess Anne in 2005.
There are many versions of wording for Ride a Cock Horse. The best-known of these must surely be:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.
Unfortunately I managed to cut the top off the cross in my photograph! The one here is used by permission under the Wikipedia Creative Commons licence. *See attribution below.
Banbury Market Place and The Old Corn Exchange
*By Jongleur100 – Own work, Public Domain