During our preparations for our wedding, I decided to research the origins of the wedding rhyme:
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a (silver/lucky) sixpence in her shoe.Wikipedia doesn't have much on the origin, besides dating it back to at least 1883. However, the sources used to back this up all are post-1980. There is supposedly an English newspaper article from 1883 that contained the rhyme and attributed it to Lancashire.
The Phrase Finder says:
The rhyme was certainly in use by the late Victorian period and was printed in an 1894 edition of the Pennsylvania newspaper The Warren Ledger, where it was listed as a 'Puritan Marriage Custom'.So I went to Google Books
There I found several references in sources from the 1890s to the rhyme without the 'sixpence in her shoe' ending, making me wonder if the newspaper articles from 1883 and 1894 referenced in the above sources contained the whole quote or not.
So I thought to myself "British Newspaper Article... I should check The British Newspaper Archive!" where I had found some newspaper articles mentioning some possible relatives back in March.
I found a reference in an 1881 edition of The Lancaster Times - once again, without the silver sixpence, and attributed as 'an old saying' from Allegra in Life. Since it predates the current source for Wikipedia, someone could theoretically update the entry and cite this blog post. Ideally, they would cite The Lancaster Times, but Wikipedia editors seem to be fine with citing sources that cite earlier sources.
Where does "Silver Sixpence in her Shoe" come from? There are many old references to silver sixpences bringing luck - at all times of one's life, regardless of where one found the coin. Several works of short fiction played on the theme:
- The Lucky Sixpence, dated 1845
- The Silver Sixpence, dated 1832
- The Old Dame and her Silver Sixpence, dated 1850