READING: Old King Cole


Sept. 2, 2019

I said in an earlier post today that I would do this, so here I am.

So far, I’ve told you about two theories – the Coel-Hen theory and the Cole-brook theory. Today, I’m going to go into detail about the third and final theory (?) I have found to date. And that is the “Old Thomas Cole” theory. He is better known as “Thomas of Reading” and lived during the reign of King Henry I, during the early 1100’s. His story was recorded in the 16th century by Thomas Deloney, an English balladeer. Thomas of Reading was a cloth merchant. While traveling he would habitually stop at a pub called The Ostrich – the landlord and landlady were serial murderers. They had rigged a trapdoor in one of the rooms that would drop their wealthiest guests into an enormous vat of boiling water in the kitchen. According to the tale, Cole stayed in said rigged bedroom a total of five times. Each time some unexpected circumstance (an argument among card players downstairs, a fire in a nearby town, the arrival of the mail from London) prevented him from being killed. In the end, Cole dies peacefully in his bed at The Ostrich, the landlords’ plot is uncovered, the couple are hanged. King Henry himself appears and demands the pub be burned to the ground. (? – I’m not sure exactly where I found this info, it’s been in a notebook for some time)

Doesn’t seem likely that this is the person that this is the person that the nursery rhyme is based on, but it’s out there. So I included it.

What do you think? Who do you think the nursery rhyme is based on?

I know you can’t read it, but I thought I’d leave you with this for now. Next week I will go into detail about this document. I’ve been doing better at making time for reading, but I could do better!

Morris Plaid

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

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