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

Archive for Dec, 2013

Sightings – Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland © Pierre Ménard

Basel, Switzerland © Pierre Ménard

This green man was photographed in Basel, Switzerland by Pierre Menard. Basel is Switzerland’s third most important city, located where the French and the German border meet. The green men of Basel feature in an article in our current e-newsletter available free to all our members.

This sighting is in our gazetteer which can be viewed HERE And has been added to our Flickr photographic archive which can be viewed HERE

Merry Yule!

Foliate Head © Rose Blakeley

Foliate Head © Rose Blakeley

A Very Merry Yule and Christmas to all our members, contributors and readers of this blog! I hope you all have a wonderful festive season. Thanks to Rose Blakeley for the wonderful picture and poem on this page. You can find out more about Rose and her work at:

The Foliate Head

Elusive, masked, I evade your eye,
Whilst silently poised from my boss up high
As a mystery shrouds me, my past is obscure
And bound by the ages, I have strange allure,
For on the winds of antiquity, here I have blown,
But still, I adorn my ecclesiastical throne.
With a delicately carved, ornate leafed-face,
A composite of foliage my features embrace,
And many strange guises oh have I,
For the vogue of my genre, with time, does comply.
I grin and I gurn, in curled, chiselled stone,
In many-a place my leaf-clad head it is known,
Whilst greenery issues from all that you see
And vegetation it disgorges from my mouth before thee.
How I leer, mock and lure, scare with no sound,
Though for my fine, flora form, I am now quite renowned,
For many have sought me, desired what they’ve seen,
They even gave me a name and embellished it with green,
But created was I for this church, my domain,
So in these great arching shadows, here I remain…
Elusive, masked, I evade your eye,
Whilst silently poised from my boss up high.

By Rose Blakeley





Historical Jack-in-the-Green – December

Chimney Sweepers on May day by Sears (1826)

Chimney Sweepers on May day by Sears (1826)

Each month I will be publishing a random newspaper article that featured the traditional Jack-in-the-Green. Each of these articles is a magical window into a bygone era. For more information about the Jack in the Green both current and historical visit our main website at:

1832, 1 May: MARLBROUGH-STREET (Magistrates Court)

MAY DAY. – A lady and gentleman, two of the loyal and sooty subjects of Jack in the Green, having, after the May-day enjoyments, ” kicked up a bobbery,” they were taken into custody by a policeman, and placed at the bar on Wednesday, when ” sweepy ” made the following characteristic speech, in answer to the magistrate’s question, ” What are you?” “Oh, why I’m a chimbley sweep – a master sweep – and this here’s my wife. Yesterday was our day, and so we went to John’s wood, to the United Society of Chimbley Sweepers – master chimbley sweeps – and you see we were fatigued, and so we merely drank to squench ourselves ; and we’d got home comfortable enough, nearly, when we were hinsulted by some chaps, and they hit me and my wife : and my wife said, ‘Bill, don’t let them ere coves podger you,’ and so we up and took’d our parts, your honour ; and we all larrup’d one another till this here hofficer com’d up, and oh, s’elp me, I never touched him.” They were committed for seven days

The Atlas, 6 May 1832, page 292.

Book of the Month – December

Our book of the month for December is  actually an audio CD of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight by Simon Armitage read by the author. The story of Gawain has always had a link with Yuletide for me and I think this wonderful interpretation would make a perfect Christmas present.

About the Author

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963. In 1992 he was winner of one of the first Forward Prizes, and a year later was the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. He works as a freelance writer, broadcaster and playwright, and has written extensively for radio and television. Previous titles include Kid, Book of Matches, The Dead Sea Poems, CloudCuckooLand, Killing Time, The Universal Home Doctor, Homer’s Odyssey and Tyrannosaurus Rex versus The Corduroy Kid.

You can buy this audio CD from Amazon by using The Company of the Green Man bookshop via THIS LINK

If you buy your green man books via our Amazon links you pay nothing extra but a small referral fee will go towards the Company of the Green Man. This helps us to keep our website and membership free for all our members.

The Wood Beyond the World – December – Timelessness

December -  Timelessness © Sally Priston

December – Timelessness © Sally Priston

Sally Priston’s work is based around nature, folklore and the changing seasons, she works in 2D in watercolour, ink and pencil generally, and also on wood, using pyrography. We are publishing one of her pictures each month from June 2013 until May 2014. If you would like to get in touch with Sally or would like to purchase any of her art please drop us a line at