Fiction To 14/9/1586
The interment register at St Olaves Hart Street records Mother Goose being buried on 14 September 1586. This is extremely strange so we did some digging. The story of a goose laying golden eggs can be traced back to ancient Greece, but not the term 'Mother Goose'. From The Development of Mother Goose in Britain in the Nineteenth Century we learn that Mother Goose first appeared on stage in 1806 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in ‘Harlequin and Mother Goose, or the Golden Egg’ in which Joseph Grimaldi also appeared. It’s thought that the term ‘Mother Goose’ was popularised by the French ‘Mother Goose’s Rhymes’, by Perrault, published in 1697 but it existed before that. There is a reference to the phrase in Loret's ‘La Muse Historique’ collected in 1650 and in a work by Guy de la Brosse, in 1628. Which gets us pretty close to the St Olave’s burial year of 1598, but still doesn’t explain the entry in the register. Oddly, there is another burial site for Mother Goose, 1690, in Boston, Massachusetts. Possibly the phrase was a perfectly acceptable name for a mother with the surname Goose. Greater minds than ours have failed to solve this one.