There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe is a very old rhyme that first appeared in print (or at least a version of it) in 1797, so it may have some significance in folklore. Despite the similarity of the titles, it has no connection to the popular song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” which was published in the 20th century only.
It was an ancient custom to throw a shoe after a bride when she left on her honeymoon as a blessing of fertility in the union. This may well be the reason for the old woman living ‘in’ the shoe and having lots of children.
There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Lyrics
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.