Rob Stephens, artist extraordinaire, new grandad and creator of our fabulous logo dropped me a line to tell me that his stone carver brother Shaun has got the green man bug. Rob sent me these pictures of his incredible workmanship. The paler coloured one is a piece of stone that came out of the restoration work at York Minster. There must be a cathedral out there somewhere who would like their very own new Green Man?
If you need to escape the post Christmas and New Year blues I would highly recommend the Twelfth Night celebrations on Bankside outside Shakespeare’s Globe starting at 2pm on Sunday 6th January 2019.
Twelfth Night is an annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London. It is a celebration of the New Year, mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity. It is free, accessible to all and happens whatever the weather.
To herald the celebration, the extraordinary Holly Man the Winter guise of the Green Man (and an honorary member of The Company of the Green Man) decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage is piped over the River Thames, with the devil Beelzebub.
With the crowd by Shakespeare’s Globe, led by the Bankside Mummers and the London Beadle, the Holly Man will ‘bring in the green’ and toast or ‘wassail’ the people, the River Thames and the Globe (an old tradition encouraging good growth).
Mummers will then process to the Bankside Jetty, and perform the traditional ‘freestyle’ St. George Folk Combat Play, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old ‘Oss and many others, dressed in spectacular costumes. The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season recorded since the Crusades.
Cakes distributed at the end of the play have a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those from the crowd who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day and crowned with ceremony.
They then lead the people through the streets to the historic George Inn Southwark, for a fine warming-up with the Fowlers Troop, Storytelling, the Kissing Wishing Tree, Dancing and Mulled Wine.
If you go please do take some pictures and send them to me for the blog and if possible perhaps send me a short piece on your experience for the next e-newsletter
You can find more details via the Lions Part website below:
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!
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
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.
Tina Negus sent me this wonderful image of the Green Man chancel boss at Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire.
Crowland Abbey was a monastery of the Benedictine Order in Lincolnshire, It was founded in memory of St. Guthlac early in the eighth century by Ethelbald, King of Mercia, but was entirely destroyed and the community slaughtered by the Danes in 866.
Re founded in the reign of King Edred, it was destroyed by fire in 1091, but rebuilt about twenty years later by Abbot Joffrid. In 1170 the greater part of the abbey and church was once more burnt down and once more rebuilt, under Abbot Edward. From this time the history of Crowland was one of growing and almost unbroken prosperity down to the time of the Dissolution. Richly endowed by royal and noble visitors to the shrine of St. Guthlac, it became one of the most opulent of East Anglian abbeys; and owing to its isolated position in the heart of the fen country, its security and peace were comparatively undisturbed during the great civil wars and other national troubles.
At the time of the Dissolution the abbot was John Welles, or Bridges, who with his twenty-seven monks subscribed to the Royal Supremacy in 1534, and five years later surrendered his house to the king. The remains of the abbey were fortified by the Royalists in 1643, and besieged and taken by Cromwell in May of that year.
This Green Man is listed in our Gazetteer
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
I’m delighted to announce that a new Jack in the Green went out this year. The Grand Hama Morris Jack-in-the-Green paraded in the city of Isehara in Japan accompanied by the Grand Hama Morris team who are based in Kanagawa, Japan and were established in 2015.
I’m having a little bit of trouble translating information about Grand Hama Morris but would love to know more if any members of Grand Hama Morris read this post and could get in touch with me please.
My thanks to Nick Booth for some great pictures from St Andrews in Ashburton, Devon. Readers of our e-newsletter will know that when I visited St Andrews last year workmen were in the process of replacing the floor, so I had trouble getting access to all the Green Men there. Nick managed to find all the elusive Green Men on a visit. Here are the first two Nick discovered on roof bosses. More to follow next week.
My thanks to Vanessa Piggott for sending in this picture of a cast iron Green Man on a sideboard she discovered in St Mary’s Museum on the Scilly Isles. The sideboard is from the wreck of the Thomas W. Lawson a seven-masted, steel-hulled schooner used to haul coal and oil along the East Coast of the United States. She was launched in 1902 and holds the distinction of being the largest schooner and largest sailing vessel without an auxiliary engine ever built. The Thomas W. Lawson was destroyed off the uninhabited island of Annet, in the Isles of Scilly, in a storm on December 14, 1907, killing all but two of her eighteen crew and a harbor pilot already aboard. Her cargo of 58,000 barrels of light paraffin oil caused perhaps the first large marine oil spill in history.