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

Author Archive

Amanda Bates – Green Man & Lady

Amanda Bates is an artist, based in Kingsclere north Hampshire, with a growing interest in the tradition of the Green Man. One of the things to spark that interest was a chance visit to St. Peter’s in Upper Wolhampton, West Berkshire, where she found a delightful pair of Victorian Green Man stone carvings on the exterior of the church that were previously undiscovered.

Amanda didn’t have a camera with her so instead recorded them in pencil (above). Amanda then created the wonderful pictures accompanying this post using Acrylic Ink on rough watercolour paper, entitled Green Man & Green Lady.

Amanda wrote: “The faces are Victorian (the church was rebuilt in 1857) and, with their surroundings of leaves, the gentleman’s leafy moustache and the vegetation emerging from the lady’s mouth, are in the Green Man tradition. I fancy that they might represent the local landowner and his wife.”

My thanks to Amanda for getting in touch and sharing her incredible work with us. You can see more of Amanda’s work on her website: www.amandabatesart.co.uk  All pictures copyright © Amanda Bates


The Company of the Green Man e-newsletter 16

 

The Company of the Green Man’s sixteenth e-newsletter has just been published and is available for members to download completely free via the members area tab at the top of this page. If you are a member you should receive an e-mail via MailChimp with details of how to access the  e-newsletter. If not please don’t hesitate to contact me using the “contact us” tab above.

If you would like to join The Company of the Green Man  (it’s free) just use the “join us” tab at the top of this page or click HERE


Robin [Hood] disguised as Green Man of Sherwood Forest

Saturday 7th July 2018 witnessed the launch of Hoodwinked 2018, Nottingham’s stunning new public art trail, featuring a twist of the tale of local legendary outlaw Robin Hood: 33 giant Robin statues have flocked to the streets of Nottingham, each one hand-painted by an artist. This free public art trail is presented by Nottingham City Council in partnership with creative events producers Wild in Art and charity partner Nottinghamshire Hospice, for whom the Robin symbolises hope after the passing of a loved one. Wild in Art is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The Sheriff of Nottingham Councillor Catharine Arnold attended the official Hoodwinked 2018 launch party in the picturesque grounds of Nottingham Castle on the evening of Thursday 5th July, at which many of the Robin sponsors and artists were also present.

Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia is proud to publicly reveal her design entitled Green Man of Sherwood Forest, which is generously sponsored by Benoy. Graham Cartledge CBE of Benoy writes: “We are delighted to show our support to Nottinghamshire Hospice, a very well-deserving local charity. The Hoodwinked initiative will attract visitors and locals alike, encouraging people in our community to connect through creativity – something that is at the heart of what our designers do at Benoy.”

You can find Green Man of Sherwood Forest in Trinity Square, Nottingham, from 7th July until 30th September 2018. He looks forward to meeting you! 😉


Faces in the Leaves of Sherwood Forest: Hoodwinked 2018

Britain’s most familiar and best loved garden bird, the Robin, is notoriously antisocial, not only towards other bird species, but also its own. However, Nottingham will witness a round of Robins flock to its streets this Summer as part of Hoodwinked 2018, capturing the playful spirit of local legendary outlaw Robin Hood. This free public art trail is presented by Nottingham City Council in partnership with creative events producers Wild in Art and charity partner Nottinghamshire Hospice, for whom the Robin symbolises hope after the passing of a loved one.

Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia has been commissioned to paint one of thirty-three Robins after her design entitled Green Man of Sherwood Forest was chosen to be sponsored by Benoy. Graham Cartledge CBE of Benoy writes: “We are delighted to show our support to Nottinghamshire Hospice, a very well-deserving local charity. The Hoodwinked initiative will attract visitors and locals alike, encouraging people in our community to connect through creativity – something that is at the heart of what our designers do at Benoy.” Lois has recently explored the theme of the Green Man in a variety of unusual art mediums, including paper-cutting, creative cartography, and upcycled plastic straws. Now she is preparing to paint the Green Man onto an unexpected canvas: a giant Robin statue.

On the subject of her involvement in the Nottingham art trail, Lois remarks: “Have you seen faces in the leaves of Sherwood Forest? Many folklorists claim that the legend of Robin Hood is derived from the ancient image of the Green Man, or related figures such as Jack in the Green or Robin Goodfellow (Puck). No surprise that Robin Hood is clothed in Lincoln Green. The mischievous outlaw could be hiding in any disguise! Speaking as a Wild in Art addict, I can’t wait to start painting my Robin for Hoodwinked. It means a lot to be part of this (my seventh public art trail), and I’m very grateful to Benoy for sponsoring Green Man of Sherwood Forest. I often link the Green Man with the legend of Robin Hood in Lincoln Green in my artwork. My partner Jason (appropriately also an archer) has kindly agreed to model for the Green Man.”

Lois will travel to Nottingham later this month to paint her design onto the Robin statue. She will be working in a public painting space in intu Broadmarsh. Lois welcomes an audience of all ages while she paints, so don’t be shy – come along on Monday 14th May circa 10.30 am – 4.00 pm, watch, ask questions, and be inspired! Please note: the full design of each Robin cannot be revealed until the trail goes live on Saturday 7th July 2018, but you can catch a sneak preview of work in progress on some of the Robins if you drop by at the painting space.

You can find Lois blog here:

http://www.loiscordelia.com/blog/2018/5/faces-in-the-leaves-of-sherwood-forest-hoodwinked-2018

Location of the Painting Space: intu Broadmarsh, Lister Gate, Nottingham NG1 7LB, on the ground floor next door to Made in Nottingham.


2018 Jack in the Green Update

I can now confirm that at least 17 Jacks have been spotted so far this year!

They are:

The Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green
The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green
The Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green
The Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green
The Bovey Tracey (Grimspound Morris) Jack-in-the-Green
The Fowlers Troop (Deptford) Jack-in-the-Green
The Hammersmith Jack-in-the-Green
The Guildford Bush
The Bluebell Hill (Rochester Sweeps) Jack-in-the-Green
The Highworth Jack-in-the-Green
The Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green
The Dead Horse Morris (Whitstable) Jack-in-the-Green
The Bristol Jack-in-the-Green
The Knutsford Jack-in-the-Green
The Brentham Jack-in-the-Gree
The Isehara (Japan) Jack-in-the-Green
The Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green

And on September 8th the wonderful Carshalton Harvest Jack in the Green will parade bringing the total number of 2018 Jacks to 18

There is always a possibility that I’ve missed a Jack or two and I would love to know if I have.

Full details and links can be found on our Annual Events Page

 

My thanks to @radicalhoneybee for allowing me to reproduce the wonderful picture of this year’s Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green at the top of this post.


Oxford Jack-in-the-Green

I’m pleased to announce that the Oxford Jack-in-the-Green was spotted on May 1st. He was accompanied by The Oxford University Morris Men.

The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green appears every year in Oxford on May Morning. OUMM (Oxford University Morris Men) introduced Jack-in-the-Green to their May Morning festivities in 1951. At that time they were unaware that a Jack-in-the-Green was a common sight in and around Oxford in the 19th century. The Oxford Jack is usually first seen near Magdalen Tower just before 6am and leads an informal procession up ‘The High’ to Radcliffe Square, where the first dance of the day: “Bonny Green” from Bucknell, starts at about 6.25am. Jack then moves through New College Lane and Broad Street, concluding with a massed ‘Bonny Green Garters’ outside St. John’s College in St. Giles around 8.30am. After breakfast the University & City Men usually take Jack to a display for the children of St. Ebbe’s school when May Morning falls on a weekday.

My thanks to Anne Louise  Avery for allowing me to use her wonderful picture.

If you spot a Jack in the Green please do send me in a picture for us to share on our blog and add to our free online Flickr archive where I hope to be able to add a picture of every Traditional Jack in the Green from every year.


Annual Events 2018 still to come

There are plenty more Jack-in-the-Green events to come this year. I would be extremely grateful if anyone who attends any of these events would send me pictures, videos or written accounts for our free archive. If anyone knows of any events that are not listed here or if there are any corrections/amendments required please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Highworth Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 5th May)

Highworth in Wiltshire celebrated it’s 800th anniversary in 2006 with a Jack-in-the-Green and the Jack is now an annual tradition as part of the May Market. The Highworth Jack-in-the-Green parades each year through the streets of Highworth with the Bang to Rites Drummers.

Bang to Rites

 

Guildford Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 5th May)

Known as The Guildford Bush, this Jack was revived by the Pilgrim Morris Men in 1979 and is built from Laurel. For many years the Jack was carried by folklorist  George Frampton. The parade will commence at 10:30 outside The Star on the High Street. The Jack processes with the Pilgrim Morris Men to Castle Green where the Maypole is erected and the dancing involving guest Morris sides begins. 2016 marked the 40th Summerpole.

Guildford Jack in the Green

 

Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 5th May)

Ilfracombe’s Jack-in-the-Green will parade on Sunday 30th April. The Ilfracombe Jack did not appear in 2015 after the previous committee were unable to continue. Kelly Raveney stepped in to help and Ilfracombe’s May Day Celebrations returned in 2016. In 2017 the parade will be held on Sunday 30th April. The Muster will begin at 11:00am at the Pier Car Park. The parade will start at 11:30am from the Pier Tavern Pub. The route is along The Quay, St James Place, Ropery Road, Broad Street, Fore Street, High Street, Northfield Road and along Wilder Road to the Clapping Circle next to Wildersmouth Beach/Capstone. This means that not only have some of the roads changed but the parade will be in the opposite direction to previous years. At the clapping circle ‘Jack-in-the-Green’ will be “Stripped of his leafy coverings to release the ‘spirit of summer.'” This years parade will also feature a horned god giant as well as seeing the return of a maypole.

Ilfracombe Jack in the Green

 

Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green (Monday 7th May)

The Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green was revived by Keith Leech in 1983 and is now one of the biggest annual gatherings of Morris Dancers in the country.  The Gathering usually begins at 9:45am and Jack is “released” from the Fisherman’s Museum on Rock-a-Nore Road at approximately 10:15am . Jack is released in a wonderful, magical ceremony and is central to the festival and the parade. At the end of the day (3:30pm) Jack is slain to release the spirit of summer. The festival takes place over the whole bank holiday weekend.

Hastings Jack-in-the-Green Festival

 

Bristol Jack in the Green (Saturday 5th May)

The Bristol Jack in the Green appears on the first Saturday in May starting from the historic Harbourside (outside the M Shed) at 10:30am and leads a magical procession through the streets of Bristol eventually ending the day on Horfield Common at approximately 4pm where he dies to release the spirit of summer. A Jack-in-the-Green was recorded in Bristol around 1865 by a lady who remembered seeing him with a sweep and a queen on the outskirts. The revived Bristol Jack in the Green is a descendant of the Hastings Jack.

Bristol Jack in the Green

 

Knutsford May Day and Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 5th May)

The Knutsford Jack in the Green is probably the oldest continual annual Jack in the Green. Apart from the war years it has paraded almost every year since 1889.  May Day in Knutsford is celebrated over the May Bank holiday weekend. The person who plays Jack is chosen each year and is now played by a  youngster rather than an adult as it used to be.

Knutsford Jack in the Green

 

Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 5th- Monday 7th May)

Hever Castle in Kent have their own Jack-in-the-Green and Green Man over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Joined by the Lord and Lady of the May on the Castle forecourt. The Green Man leads a procession through the gardens waking up the plants for summer.

Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green

 

Clun Green Man Festival (Sunday 6th & Monday 7th May)

The Clun Green Man Festival is a traditional springtime festival, held on the first May bank holiday weekend of the year. The Festival takes place in the picturesque town of Clun in South Shropshire. The programme is full of live music, drama, colour and medieval malarkey and is fun for all the family

Clun Green Man Festival

 

Brentham May Day and Jack-in-the-Green (Saturday 12th May)

Brentham has a big celebration every May which includes a Jack in the Green described as a walking talking bush who sometimes parades barefoot. Brentham’s May Day tradition became established in 1919 after the end of the First World War and expanded considerably for 1921 when the first Jack-in-the-Green appeared.

Brentham Jack in the Green

 

Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green (May weekend 5th-7th May)

Jack-in-the-Green is now central to the Whitstable May Day celebrations. The Jack is supported by Oyster Morris who also have their own Green Man who combines the roles of Jester and announcer dressed in white and green. Jack is also  accompanied by two attendants dressed as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The Jack-in-the-Green was revived for the Whitstable Folk Festival in 1976. Dixie Lee, one of the original organisers said in 1992 “ At the time it just seemed like the Jack was looking for a reason to come out again, and I must say that every year when Jack makes his appearance on the street I get such a feeling of power from him that I know it was the right thing to do”

Whitstable Jack in the Green

 


Deptford (Fowlers Troop) Jack-in-the-Green

Deptford (Fowlers Troop) Jack in the Green 2018 © Bob Barton

The magical Fowler’s Troop (Deptford) Jack-in-the-Green was spotted today parading in Deptford and Greenwich. My thanks to Bob Barton for allowing me to reproduce this wonderful picture.

In 1983 Mo Johnson built a Jack-in-the-Green in the back garden of the ‘Dog and Bell’ pub . An off shoot of the Covent Garden Jack Mo was inspired by a photograph taken by contemporary historian Thankful Sturdee of the original Fowlers troop with their Jack in the Green c.1900. The revived Jack was paraded with Blackheath Morris (a side morphed from the Blackheath Foot’n’Death Men who used to dance at events featuring bands like Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies).

The current Fowlers Troop Jack goes out on the streets of South East London or the City of London each May Day accompanied by the current Fowler’s Troop a wonderful collection of costumed figures. The Deptford Jack often used to meet up with the now rarely sighted City of London Jack in the Green on May Day. When May Day fell on the Bank Holiday Monday both the Deptford and City of London Jacks often went to Hastings to join with the Hastings Jack in the Green in the celebrations. This last occurred in 2012. The Jack stands at around 11 feet tall when lifted. Graham Newson who took on the mantle as keeper and main carrier of the Jack in the early 90’s customised the interior of the Jack to include storage space for essentials including cigarettes, beer tankard a repair kit, a change of clothes and on occasions a set of morris sticks. After 30 years the original frame for the Deptford Jack in the Green was past its best and so, in 2015, a new metal frame was created specially and paid for from a fund left by Doug Adams who was the lead musician of Fowler’s Troop. The Jack was christened at the start of the 2015 May Day procession. The Jack is usually dressed on April 30th at the Dog & Bell pub.

If you spot a Jack in the Green please do send me in a picture for us to share on our blog and add to our free online Flickr archive where I hope to be able to add a picture of every Traditional Jack in the Green from every year.


Bluebell Hill (Rochester Sweeps) Jack-in-the-Green

Bluebell Hill Jack-in-the-Green 2018 © Tom Phillips

I’m delighted to be able to report that the Bluebell Hill (Rochester Sweeps) Jack in the Green was sighted on Bluebell Hill at dawn this morning. Jack will travel down to Rochester to take part in the Sweeps Festival over the Bank Holiday weekend. My thanks to Tom Phillips for permission to reproduce his fantastic picture.

The Rochester Jack was revived in 1981 by Gordon Newton and based on accounts written by Charles Dickens in his ‘Sketches by Boz.’ The Rochester Jack-in-the-Green is brought to life during a fantastic ceremony that takes place at Dawn on May 1st at the top of Bluebell Hill each year.  Originally revived by Boughton Monchelsea Morris, custodianship of Jack was passed to Motley Morris in 1984 who now Wake Jack with various other Morris sides at dawn on May Morning (approximately 5:32am) at the Bluebell Hill picnic area surrounded by twelve bonfires. Jack is paraded through the streets of Rochester usually on the bank holiday Monday as part of the very popular three day Sweeps Festival. An article in the Chatham and Rochester Observer in 1932 states that ” Sixty years ago (the 1870’s) it was not considered May Day if we had not seen at least three Jacks-in-the-Green and their attendants from Rochester and Chatham.”


Merry May Day!

A Riddle

I am born on May Morning by sticks, bells, and ribbons
I am the sap in the dark root
I am the dancer with his six fools
I am the tump behind the old church
I am the lost soul under the misericord
I am the oak against the stars
I am the face that peers through the leaves
I am the fear in a childs mind
I am the demon on the roof-boss
I am killed in October and laid on church altars
I am the guiser on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain sown with the seed
I am the flame in the pumpkins grin
I am the spirit in the kern-baby’s bosom

A Merry May Day to you all from The Company of the Green Man

At the exact time that this post appears, as the sun rises on May 1st 2018 a number of Jacks-in -the-Green will be waking across the UK. They will parade around towns, villages and cities bringing the summer and “Jacks Magic” with them.

If you are lucky enough to see a Jack in the Green please do take a picture and send it to me to share with visitors to our blog from around the world.

The incredible picture below is “Jack in the Green” by Hastings artist Dan Pearce, it is oil on board 155 x 105 cms. To see more of Dan’s art go to http://www.danpearce.graphics/ I am extremely grateful to Dan for allowing me to reproduce his picture here on our blog.

Jack in the Green © Dan Pearce 2017