With Silver Bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.
The origin of this nursery rhyme is disputed. The oldest know print version is from Tommy Thumbs pretty song book published in 1744. It was becoming much easier to print and circulate stories and rhymes in the 18th century, a time which was also becoming known as the “Age of Enlightenment”. A period when philosophers and writers began to question established beliefs. Like the authority of Rulers and Religions. For that reason, some say 18th century nursery rhymes may have secret political or religious connotations. To learn more about this, go to the Wikipedia page Mary Mary Quite Contrary.