All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

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The Company of the Green Man

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Andrew Findlay – Blacksmith

Blacksmith Andrew Findlay kindly sent me this picture of an incredible Green Man that he crafted. Andrew wrote “One I made using blacksmithing techniques which I thought may be of interest. I became a blacksmith because the process of creating in the forge is spiritual, alchemical and elemental all at the same time. A magical experience. Using the transforming fire we shape a sterile, cold and hard material into beautiful and permanent organic forms.”

You can see more of Andrews work at http://www.andrew-findlay.com

e-newsletter 17 call for contributions

Our Seventeenth e-newsletter will be lovingly crafted by me over the next few months. As always I rely on the generosity of our members for the contributions that will fill the pages of our Winter 2018/19 edition.

We welcome any contribution that has a connection with the subject of The Green Man or the Jack-in-the-Green: Articles, poems, pictures, sightings, short (or long) stories, reviews, songs…etc. etc. As this year celebrates 20 years of The Company of the Green Man I would love to hear from members with their memories  of our founder Ronald Millar.

Any items for inclusion in the Winter e-newsletter should be with me by December 1st please.

A reminder that all of our e-newsletters are archived after six months and as a member you can purchase unlimited access to our Newsletter Archive for £10.95 the archive contains downloadable pdf. copies of all of the e-newsletters as well as the 27 Newsletters produced since 1998 during Ronald Miller’s Tenure as custodian of The Company of the Green Man. Just use THIS LINK or go to our blog at http://www.thecompanyofthegreenman.co.uk and click on the “How to access the Newsletter Archive” tab at the top

If you are not yet a member and would like to join The Company of the Green Man just click on the “join us” tab above and follow the instructions.

Bibliography

Our updated bibliography of books on The Green Man and The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green is available to view HERE where a downloadable copy is also available.

We welcome information on books that we have yet to source or that do not appear in our bibliography.

The Rumford Morris Jack-in-the-Green

Rumford Morris Men and Royal Liberty of Havering 1977

The history of the revival of the Jack in the Green in the 20th Century is extremely complicated as anyone who has read my article The Traditional Jack in the Green will know. Some revivals were linked directly with or inspired by others whilst many popped up completely unconnected. Every now and then I discover another little piece of the jigsaw puzzle. I was really surprised and delighted when Paul Woloschuk contacted me to let me know about the Green Man that his old Morris side used to have and to send me the wonderful pictures on this post.

Paul wrote “Rumford Morris Men from Essex used to have a Green Man (which we called Jack in the Green) back in the mid-1970s. Our Jack in the Green wore a boiler suit (dyed green) upon which were sewn dozens of cotton strips of differing shades of green cut into the shape of Oak leaves. The leaves were cut from sample material cadged from a Laura Ashley shop. So, the material was not only different shades, but was of various pattern (striped, paisley etc.) Jack also wore a pith helmet adorned with long strips of the same material hanging down and covering his face and extending down to his chest. Apparently, it was extremely warm to wear, and Jack often had to be refreshed with lots of ale to prevent wilting! Jack was the idea of one of our members. The bloke who appeared as Jack left the side after four or five years, and nobody carried on with the character.”

Trying to work out where this Jack fitted I asked Paul if they had any connections with Greenwood Morris or the Earls of Essex both of whom started Jacks in the 1970’s? Paul confirmed that “We had no historic connections with any local traditions or other sides. Jack was out with us from May Day throughout the summer. We didn’t know Greenwood Morris, but we often danced with the Earls of Essex (and I used to play regularly with the wonderful late Dave Roberts from the Earls both in ceilidh bands and at Folk Camps).

So it would seem that this is another example of those wonderful Jacks that sprang out of nowhere in the 1970s. I would love to hear from anyone who can fill in more detail on any of the Jacks or indeed make any corrections to my article.

Rumford Morris Men canal trip Stoke Bruerne Northamptonshire 1979

The Green Man Gazetteer

The Company of the Green Man maintains the largest gazetteer of Green Men (and Green Women) in the world. When the founder of The Company of the Green Man Ronald Millar wrote the book “The Green Man Companion and Gazetteer” in 1997 he included our first gazetteer containing 61 entries. Ron told me that he thought there may actually be hundreds of Green Men out there. Little did Ron know how much he had underestimated the incredible spread of the Green Man. Our Gazetteer now lists thousands of Green Men, Women and Beasts. More sightings arrive weekly and I suspect that there are many thousands more as yet undiscovered Green Men out there.

I’m hopeful that the downloadable gazetteer will become a really useful tool for Green Man hunters who can now download a current copy to their phone or tablet prior to heading out so that it is always available offline.

The Gazetteer is now available for anyone to download completely free of charge via the Gazetteer tab at the top of this page.

It is still a work in progress, I have many sightings to add and a lot of formatting to do but rather than keeping it back until this is done I would prefer it be available for use now and keep updating it as and when I can.

Whilst the gazetteer is completely free to download it has taken many years of hard work to produce and it would be really appreciated if those who find it useful would consider making a small donation via our Donate tab above or via THIS LINK

How you can help

Our gazetteer is growing daily but we need help verifying many of the entries as well as discovering as yet unrecorded green men. Hunting green men is a fascinating pursuit for individuals groups or the whole family and will get you out and about  in some fantastic locations. Entire walks or journeys can be planned around searching for green men and there are many, many green men, green women and green beasts still waiting to be discovered. In the words of Clive Hicks author of “The Green Man: A Field Guide”:

“There are certainly many, many green men not known to us…..It might be you that identifies a gem of a green man who has been gracing a church for centuries, unnoticed until your visit” 

Those who discover a green man that has never been recorded will be credited in our gazetteer as the original discoverer! Those how are able to verify an entry will be credited as the verifier. Please e-mail me with as much detail as possible and preferably include a photograph for us to add to our online Flickr Archive.

As a minimum it is really helpful to record:

Place: (street, town, county, church name etc.)

Location: whereabouts is the green man (outside, inside, on a corbel near the west door, outside on a frieze on the second story etc.)

Date: Many churches have information sheets detailing when they were built, many buildings have a prominent date stone)

A picture: The quality of even the most basic of mobile phone cameras is now so good that even a quick snap would really be appreciated. It will be added to our online photographic archive copyrighted to the finder and may even appear in our members newsletter and on our blog.

I am also hoping to start embedding Google Map links directly into the gazetteer so would really appreciate Google Map co-ordinates if possible too.

Membership of The Company of the Green Man is free, just click on the Join Us tab at the top of this blog.

Carshalton Straw Jack

I’m extremely pleased to announce that the magical Carshalton Straw Jack paraded today. My thanks to Simon Webster for permission to use his wonderful picture. The Carshalton Jack is the 18th Jack to parade this year. I would love to learn a bit more about this unusual Jack and it’s history if any of the organisers or participants read this post.

The Carshalton Strawjack Saturday 8th September

Carshalton Straw Jack 2015 © Pixyled Publications

Carshalton Straw Jack 2015 © Pixyled Publications

It’s been a great year for the traditional Jack in the Green with 17 confirmed so far. The magical Carshalton Straw Jack will be parading on Saturday 8th September this year. A Celebration of Harvest the Carshalton Straw Jack is ritually stripped in the evening so that all present can take a keepsake and then he is burnt in a brazier. It is hoped that he will be burnt as a complete figure one year.

I had really hoped to head over to Carshalton to see their Jack at last this year but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it. If anyone out there is going or if any of the organisers or participants read this please do send me some pictures for our archive and blog. I would really love to get in contact with the organisers to get a bit more detail about the history of this unique Jack.

Here are the details of the route and times directly from The Carshalton Strawjack website:

Approximate route and times, will change!

Racehorse, West Street Arrive from 11:05 Depart 12:15
West Street, Festival Walk, Mario’s bench, Ponds

Woodman / Coach & Horses, High Street Arrive 12:35 Depart 13:30
High Street, along to Charles Cryer Theatre
Grove Park, Mill Lane

The Palmerston, Mill Lane Arrive 13:45 Depart 14:30
North Street, Camden Road

The Sun, North Street Arrive 14:35 Depart 15:25
North Street, Camden Road

The Railway, North Street Arrive 15:35 Depart 16:25
North Street, West Street Lane

Hope, West Street Arrive 16:40

Burning around 19:30 dependant on weather.

For more details see their website is: www.strawjack.co.uk

Carshalton Straw Jack 2015 © Pixyled Publications

Carshalton Straw Jack 2015 © Pixyled Publications

20 Years Young!

I still can’t quite believe that 2018 marks 20 years of The Company of the Green Man! Ronald Millar wrote the book “The Green Man Companion and Gazetteer” in 1997 and in a note at the back of the book invited interested people to join The Company of the Green Man. Keen and eager upon reading his freshly printed book and with an avid interest in Green Men I wrote to Ron in early 1998 and asked to join the Company, to be told that I had caught him slightly unprepared. The book had gone out earlier than he had anticipated and the Company did not yet officially exist. And thus (with a little bit of encouragement) in 1998 The Company officially began.  Ron’s first newsletter was published in September 1998.

20 years and 43 newsletters later The Company is still going strong with nearly 800 members worldwide.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members and followers for their contributions and encouragement over the years, without you The Company of the Green Man would not exist.

Here’s to the next 20 years!

 

From Granite to Sea – Alex Langstone

 

From Granite to Sea ~ The Folklore of Bodmin Moor and East Cornwall by Alex Langstone

Alex Langstone is a folklorist, poet and author and was one of the first members of The Company of the Green Man when it was launched by Ronald Millar twenty years ago. Alex has been fascinated by the innumerable legends, myths and folklore of the Cornish landscape for much of his life. He lives in an old slate and granite farmhouse, tucked away in the lush green Camel Valley, North Cornwall. When not writing, he can be found exploring the hidden valleys, secret coves and haunted byways of the Cornish landscape. You can find out more about Alex, his books and upcoming talks at: http://www.alexlangstone.com

“Cornwall is an ancient land steeped in legend and myth. From Granite to Sea explores the folklore of the often-overlooked eastern reaches of the rugged Cornish peninsula, at the heart of which lies the mysterious upland of Bodmin Moor. This beautiful and remote land of granite, which forms the Cornish highlands, inhabits eighty square miles across the central spine of eastern Cornwall. A wild and mysterious landscape, where folklore permeates every hill, rock and river. Inhabited by piskies, giants and conjurors, who in turn control the old trackways, hilltops and weather. It is a land haunted by the wild hunt of the Devil’s Dandy Dogs and the demonic spectre of Tregeagle.

From Granite to Sea is the first ever comprehensive focus on the folklore of eastern Cornwall. Alex Langstone’s ground-breaking study will guide the reader through a myriad of old tales of witches, conjurors and charmers, supernatural encounters, amazing folk traditions and curious customs from the high moors, rugged clifftops, secret coves and lush estuaries across the eastern reaches of the Duchy.”

“evocative and atmospheric” Meyn Mamvro

Available to buy online from Troy Books http://www.troybooks.co.uk

Alex will also be presenting an illustrated talk about his new book on September 12th

#FolkloreThursday Article

Rochester Sweeps Festival Jack-in-the-Green 2017 © Clem Rutter

My Traditional Jack in the Green article has gone live today on the wonderful #FolkloreThursday website www.folklorethursday.com

My thanks to Dee Dee and the team for featuring it and helping to raise the profile of this magical living tradition #jackinthegreen

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