INTERPRETATION OF RHYME/WHAT THE WORDS IN THE RHYME MEANT ORIGINALLY:
The symptoms of the plague included a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin (Ring around the rosy).
Pockets and pouches were filled with sweet smelling herbs (or posies) which were carried due to the belief that the disease was transmitted by bad smells.
The term "Ashes Ashes" refers to the cremation of the dead bodies! The death rate was over 60 percent and the plague was only halted by the Great Fire of London in 1666 which killed the rats which carried the disease which was transmitting via water sources.
The English version of "Ring around the rosy" replaces Ashes with (A-tishoo, A-tishoo) as violent sneezing was another symptom of the disease.
The sceptics must be referring to the later version of the rhyme, possibly with American origins, the English version is "Ring a ring o' rosies" using the Middle English "o" as a shortening of the word "of."
The written word " posies" is first mentioned in a poem called 'Prothalamion or A Spousal Verse' by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599). We believe that this addresses the views of the sceptics.