The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Who is the Muffin Man?

A dive into the history of the nursery rhyme and whether it is fact or fiction.

Everyone knows the story of the Muffin Man, who lives on Drury Lane. Popular culture has made the nursery rhyme rise to fame, specifically with the movie Shrek. Arguably the most popular scene of the film portrays Lord Farquaad torturing the Gingerbread Man when the Gingerbread Man asks if Farquaad knows the Muffin Man. The scene is repeatedly quoted by those of us who grew up watching that movie, but like many nursery rhymes, the story of the Muffin Man may be much darker than what meets the eye.

According to the Museum of London, the popular rhyme was first written in 1820 about a Muffin Man working on Drury Lane in London’s West End. The museum doesn’t go into further detail about who the man was, but others speculate a darker story of origin. While there is no proven evidence of the darker tale, it is widely believed that the so-called “Muffin Man” was actually a serial killer.

The man that earned the infamous nickname was Frederic Thomas Lynwood. Also known as the Drury Lane Dicer, it is said that Lynwood would lure children and fellow bakers to their deaths, using muffins as a temptation. 

This tale, as mentioned earlier, has no factual evidence supporting it. Instead, the outlandish rumor sprung up on a site called Uncyclopedia, a spoof of Wikipedia. The site features a number of other wild and false tales, such as one about presidential mullets and another about Justin Bieber giving birth to a baby, and not just the song.

The story of the Muffin Man appeared on the site in 2007 and was soon passed off as a true story by those new to the internet. Upon reading the information on the page, one can clearly tell that the “facts” are clear lunacy. While some of the story of the Muffin Man is rather unsavory, there are portions that are humorous, such as the first “murder” of a chef who “drowned in brownie batter” or the sixth “murder” of a chef who was “shaked and baked.” There is even an unrealistic quote from Oscar Wilde in which he states, “His muffins suck. His pastries suck. He sucks.”

The rhyme that started all of this is also featured on the site. The original lyrics are quoted, but beneath are found the alleged true meaning of the words. According to the Muffin Man page on Uncyclopedia, “Do you know the muffin man, muffin man, muffin man” actually means, “You will die, he is going to eat your spleen.” And “who lives on Drury Lane” would translate to “run away children! Run away from the pain!” The rhyme is said to be meant as a warning. 

Now, where is fact separated from fiction? The entire dark story featured on Uncyclopedia is straight fiction, meant for nothing more than a good laugh. In actuality, the nursery rhyme was just that: a song meant to entertain children. There are no historical records of any man living on Drury Lane during the 16th or 17th century named Frederic Lynwood. 

Today, Drury Lane, London is known for its historical theaters. Perhaps a harmless nursery rhyme became mixed up in all of the storytelling of the area. 

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About the Contributor
Sophie Thill
Sophie Thill, Editor-in-Chief of Web
Name: Sophie Thill   Position: Editor-in-Chief of Web   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: I love anything that has to do with performing. When I’m not in the lab or behind a computer writing, I can be found playing piano, singing, or acting. I also love to hang out with my friends and I love to go thrifting!   My favorite…   Movie: Titanic Show: Friends Animal: Dog (specifically pitbulls or Italian greyhounds) Hobby: Acting and singing Book: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank Food: Ice Cream Song: “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts Band / Artist: ABBA