This is an important message for all of our members and blog followers. You may not be aware that the government has announced that they intend to move the next early May bank holiday from Monday 4th May to Friday 8th May in order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. Whilst we should of course commemorate the victory of democracy over fascism this is an event worthy of a one off additional holiday to honour those involved rather than just moving the traditional bank holiday Monday.
Removing the Monday holiday will affect many traditional events some of which have been carried on since time immemorial across this country. Such events rely upon the availability of participants and audiences, many of whom will be unavailable if the Monday is a working day. For many individuals, businesses and groups planning for the May bank holiday has been underway for quite some time. Some involve engaging with groups from other countries, who will have their own holiday on 4th May as it happens to be international workers’ day.
May Day was celebrated by working people across Britain and elsewhere long before modern political parties; in fact it is the ancient feast of Beltane. Dancing in the May and celebrating spring predate the Roman Empire.
Across Britain there is a rich collection of events related to the beginning of May; Morris dancing of course on May morning and also Jack in the Green processions, hobby horse processions and others. There is also a standing programme of folk events and festivals around that time. These events provide important income for cafes, pubs, shops, hotels, camping sites at the very beginning of their season after a long lay off for some. They deserve to be allowed to continue without disruption.
John Major’s Conservative Government tried to remove the early May Bank Holiday in 1993. A group made up of representatives of all the active Jacks protested at Parliament. The Rochester Jack danced in Downing Street and the Hastings Bogies (Jack’s mischevious attendants) were allowed access to Parliament in full Bogie costume. It worked and the government of the day backed down.
Please help us send a message to the current government by signing the petition calling for the preservation of the 4th May bank holiday and the adoption of 8th May as a separate one off holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. You can access the petition HERE or by clicking on the petitions banner below.
Morris teams, individuals and others involved in May traditions will be gathering on College Green Westminster at 11am on 23rd July to protest, dance, meet with MP’s and request that the early May bank holiday is preserved.
MP’s are already taking notice, Helen Whately MP, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, has agreed to meet Gordon Newton, founder of the Rochester Sweeps Festival and reviver of The Bluebell Hill Jack in the Green in the lobby of Parliament on 23rd July. Keith Leech MBE reviver of The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green will be there and has confirmed that Amber Rudd will come outside the House to meet the group at noon.
You can also write to your MP. You can use THIS LINK to find out your MPs details.
Your support would be very much appreciated, May the 4th be with you!
The Company of the Green Man’s seventeenth 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
If any of our members or blog follows are heading off to Whittlesea next weekend to see the wonderful Straw Bear Festival please do send us some photos of the event for the blog and archives. More information about the event and timings can be found at www.strawbear.org.uk
The above is reproduced with kind permission from Sian Jamison’s wonderful poetry book “The Green Man.”
More poems from the book will feature in our newsletter and on our blog throughout the coming seasons.
You can find out more about Sian and her work as well as purchase The Green Man CD, songbook and poetry book at sj-music.co.uk
Happy New year to all of our followers and members, here’s to a splendid 2019!
Wishing all members and followers of The Company of the Green Man a Very Merry Yule. My thanks to everyone for all the contributions and support during 2018.
Here is a picture of my favourite seasonal Green Men from the roof of Salisbury Cathedral…I’m still convinced he is wearing a Santa hat!
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.
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.
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 ~ 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
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