Who was Little Jack Horner in the Nursery Rhyme and Why Did He Eat a Christmas Pie?

At a time when King Henry VIII was confiscating church property, one monk appeased the king with the gift of a special Christmas pie.

Inside the crust were deeds to twelve manor houses secretly offered in exchange for his monastery.

The steward who carried the pie to London was Jack Horner, who along the way extracted a plum deed for himself.

It was for Mells Manor, where Homer’s descendants still live to this day.

The modern lyrics for Little Jack Horner are:

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner,

Eating a Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

And pulled out a plum,

And said What a good boy am I!

The character of Jack Horner appears in the Fables comic book by Bill Willingham.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “Who was Little Jack Horner in the Nursery Rhyme and Why Did He Eat a Christmas Pie?”

  1. I love these! Thanks for sharing the explanations. I always hear most nursery rhymes were political in nature. :)

  2. Little Jack Horner was a delivery boy who was delivering a Christmas pie that had some deeds to properties inside (it was popular at that time to put such “plums” in a pie, and deliver them to someone). It was from the last abbot of Glastonbury at the time when King Henry VIII was preparing to dissolve the monasteries. Jack Horner took one of the deeds out of the pie, and claimed the property for himself. It is an historical fact that Jack Horner became the legal owner of a manor in Somerset at that time, and the popular rumor is that he acquired it this way. His descendants have always claimed that the property came into their family through legitimate means.

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