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"There was a Crooked Man"


The attached image and text were prepared by Stuart G.C. Morris of Balgonie Castle in Fife as an explanation of the nursery rhyme;
As the image is not as clear as it might be the rhyme and explanation are repeated here;
Balgonie Castle is open to the public.



Crooked Man  

"There was a crooked man

who walked a crooked mile

He found a crooked sixpence

Against a crooked stile

He bought a crooked cat

Which caught a crooked mouse

And they all lived together in a

little crooked house".


The rhyme commemorates the bloodless battle of Duns (1639) during the Scottish Bishops' War and the "crooked man" in question was Sir Alexander Leslie (c 1580-1661) later 1st. Earl of Leven and Lord Balgonie (1641).

It was as Lord General of the Army of the Covenant fighting against the Church reforms of King Charles 1 that he marched or 'walked' a crooked mile from Edinburgh to the Scottish Border or 'the crooked stile'

There he met Charles 1 who was also known as 'the crooked sixpence' due to his constant lack of money to pay his troops. The Scottish army was 'the crooked cat'.

Although the rhyme states that that the cat caught 'the crooked mouse' there was no true battle and both armies went their separate ways - and lived together in a "little crooked house" or Britain

They did not live in harmony for long however as only three years later both armies were again at odds in the Civil War"