When Laetitia received an email from the headquarters of Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours asking her to lead a tour in Winchester (Hampshire, UK), her first thought was of a piece she had seen on the internet claiming that the original verse of the old bawdy song, Seven Old Ladies Locked in the Lavatory, was written by someone who had a grudge against the Bishop of Winchester. The piece about the song’s origin was not sourced. Thus, Laetitia filed it mentally as conjecture. The song goes:
Dear, dear, what can the matter be
Seven old ladies, locked in the lavatory
They were there from Sunday to Saturday
Nobody knew they were there.
The first was the Bishop of Winchester’s daughter
Who came in to pass some superfluous water
She pulled on the chain and the rising tide caught her
And nobody knew she was there.
Verses to the song now exceed seven by far. The conjecturer opined that other verses were added later.
Winchester has been dwelling site at least as far back as the Iron Age and went through the familiar progression from Roman town to Anglo-Saxon fortified town (once home to Alfred the Great) until the Norman Invasion. The Norman’s built Winchester’s famous cathedral, the longest in Europe, although the city has been a cathedral town since 642. The song, Winchester Cathedral, by the New Vaudeville Band topped the popular music charts in the 1960s and won a Grammy. The Cathedral is the final resting place of Jane Austin, who died in Winchester in 1817.
When Laetitia led her tour, she found Winchester a delightful town with much to see and talk about. No doubt it deserved further presentation, but she decided to begin with a limerick about the conjecture.
Though ‘tis likely that no bishop’s daughter
Went through life without e’er passing water,
While in Winchester slumming
Did one find bad plumbing
When she flushed and the rising tide caught her?