The traditional rhyme, 'Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross', for chronological reasons must have referred to Banbury's ancient High or Market Cross demolished by the puritans on 26th July 1600. It stood on a section of the Market Place in Banbury where it is now commemorated by a plaque. Other Crosses previously in the town were demolished about the same time. Although Banbury was without a cross for over 250 years, the memory sustained no doubt by the rhyme remained with the local population throughout that period. It became a physical fact again in 1859 when the corporation of Banbury erected a new cross in decorated gothic form at the most prominent road junction in Banbury - in celebration of the marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter. Statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1911 at the time of the latter's coronation.
In everyone's mind this is now "The Cross" of the Nursery Rhyme. The historical background is there to be discovered subsequently. It is 52 feet 6 inches high to the top of its gilt cross and is now the focal point of interest in the town and the site of any public celebrations particularly by the youth of the town on New Year's Eve.
"St. Mary's Church"
When part of the previous church collapsed in 1790 the present Church which is a late Georgian building was erected in the last decade of the 18th Century and consecrated in September 1797. As the money was not available the church was not completed until 1822. St Mary’s Church was designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerill and is thought to be modelled on Sir Christopher Wren's St. Stephen's Church at Walbrook.
"The White Horse"
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse, rings on his fingers bells on her toes; she shall have music where ever she goes.
Banbury now has a statue of a fine lady upon a white horse from the nursery rhyme. It is situated a few yards away from Banbury Cross. There is a frog underneath the white horse waiting to have a swim after it has been raining.