When was the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty written - and who was Humpty Dumpty?

It is believed that the nursery rhyme dates back to the 18th century but it could be even earlier. Colchester Tourist Board says the poem originates from the English Civil War, and Humpty Dumpty refers to a canon, which was placed on Colchester's city wall (a Royalist stronghold). It is recorded that when the heavy canon fell after a blast from the Parliamentarians the Royalists were unable to lift it up back on the wall - hence the line - 'all the King's men.'


But this is just one theory. In the late 18th century, according to Francis Grose, a short and clumsy person was called a humpty dumpty, and there is even a rumour Humpty Dumpty actually was Richard III, who was a humpback.

What are the lyrics to the nursery rhyme 'Humpty Dumpty'?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses
And all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.


Top image is a cover of a 1904 adaptation of Humpty Dumpty by William Wallace Denslow.