Belleisle is the French island Belle-Île-en-Mer on the west coast of France. The siege of Belleisle took place during the Seven Year War between the French and the British. The actual siege lasted from April to June of 1761. Once the British secured the Island they had a port for their fleet to use during their blockade of the French coast.

At the Siege of Belleisle - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Two different, but interesting points to note about this rhyme:

1) At one time it was a drinking song that would be repeated over and over again.
2) Some parents would say it to their kids when they didn't want to answer a question their kids were asking them!

Thanks and Acknowledgements

This rhyme can be found in The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. The map of part of Belle-Isle is from the book History of the British Army volume II by J. W. Fortescue (1899). This rhyme can also be found in "The Nursery Rhymes of England" 5th edition (1886), collected by James Orchard Halliwell and illustrated by W. B. Scott.