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.
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
It’s been a great year for sightings of The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green across the UK. My thanks to everyone who has confirmed sightings and sent in some fantastic photographs. I’ll be posting plenty more pictures of this years Jacks in the weeks to come both here and on our Flickr Archive. The picture above of the Fowlers Troop/Deptford Jack in the Green was taken by Ross Parish and the picture below of the spectacular Hastings Jack in the Green was taken by Rose Blakeley.
I have now had confirmed sightings of the following 21 Jacks for 2016:
- Bluebell Hill/Rochester Sweeps Jack-in-the-Green
- Dead Horse Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Hammersmith Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Highworth Jack-in-the-Green
- Oxford Jack-in-the-Green
- Deptford/Fowlers Troop Jack-in-the-Green
- Cheltenham Sweeps Jack-in-the-Green
- Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green
- Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green
- Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Bristol Jack-in-the-Green
- Knutsford Jack-in-the-Green
- Guildford Jack-in-the-Green
- Bovey Tracey/Grimspound Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Horsley Primary School (Stroud) Jack-in-the-Green
- Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green
- Kentwell Hall Jack O’Green
- Wythenshawe Hall Jack ‘O’ Green
- Yaxley Jack-in-the-Green
- Brentham May Day Jack-in-the-Green
You can find more detail about each Jack HERE
Whilst this blog remains our main method of communication Twitter has been a great source of information, photographs and videos of this years Jacks. I’ve been favouriting and retweeting over the past week from our Twitter account which you can find HERE
I would love to be able to gather photographs of all of this years Jacks for our free online Flickr archive. Please send any pictures via the ‘Contact Us’ tab at the top of the blog page. All pictures are always copyrighted to the original photographer.
If you haven’t seen a Jack-in-the-Green yet this year there is still at least one more to come. The Carshalton Straw Jack is a celebration of Harvest that takes place in September each year. The 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. The date for this event is still to be confirmed but you can visit the website here: Carshalton Straw Jack
There is also a possibility that a Jack will take part in the Pagan Pride Parade in central Nottingham on Sunday 7th August Pagan Pride Parade
Whilst Flicking through Spark Magazine I came across this wonderful image created by the Bristol Based visual artist Tim Floyd for part of the Easton Arts Trail in 2011.
Commenting on this piece in his blog Tim wrote:
“On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Co-operation road in Greenbank and spray-painted an image of a Green Man on one of the bricked up doorways of the old Elizabeth Shaw chocolate factory. The foliage and berries of a Hawthorn tree are forming, and being disgorged by the character. I got my inspiration for this piece from images of traditional Green Man stone carvings and from a row of mature Hawthorne trees that form a border between the chocolate factory and the Bristol to Bath cycle path.”
Tim commented to me:
“I’ve done a number of pieces which have been influenced by green man imagery. I work both in two and three dimensions creating pieces which respond to the cycles of nature, to the processes of decay and regeneration and to the relationships between human beings and the natural world –the image of the green man ties in perfectly with these themes.”
To see more of Tim’s fantastic work visit his website at: www.timfloyd.co.uk
I would like to wish all our members a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.
This wonderful picture was taken by Jennie Miller & Gary Truss and is from St Mary’s in Stafford
The medieval churches of Essex house one of history’s best kept secrets. They are frequently inhabited by a mysterious carving of an ancient male head, with foliage, usually oak leaves emerging from its mouth, ears, nose or eyes. He is surprisingly common in Essex, has many guises and is concealed in nooks, roofs, sometimes barely discernible on fonts, but may also be found lurking on roofs, walls, and hidden niches of churches.
I have one copy of the book hot off the press free to a good home all you have to do is e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and on 21st December I will pull the name of the lucky winner out of the top hat. And the catch! well it’s only open to current members of The Company of the Green Man (except me and the author..sorry Susan!) and whoever wins it must be willing to write a review of the book and get it to me in time for our May/June e-newsletter.
If you want to buy your own copy in time for Christmas it’s available via Amazon.co.uk from our book shop for £7.99 just click on THIS LINK to visit the bookshop.
Suzie Doncaster has added this wonderful early green man to our current entry in the gazetteer for St Peter’s Church in Marefair Northampton. The finely carved Anglo Saxon grave slab dates to the 10-11th Century and shows beasts and birds entwined in some incredible foliage all sprouting from the mouth of a Green Man. It is thought that the grave slab would have been in an earlier church that stood on the same site. The stone was found in a nearby ditch and was used as a door lintel and a mantel piece before finding its way back to the church.
The slab has been attributed to St Ragener an Anglo Saxon prince who was slain by the Vikings in 870. His grave had been forgotten until the mid 11th Century when visions of an elderley man drew a priest of Edward the Confessor to the burial site. Many miracles were said to have taken place at the church and the king had a shrine erected there decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. Sadly nothing of the great shrine remains.
Although the grave slab has been cut down by 3cm on one side the carving is remarkably intact and it is one of the erarliest carved stones in Northampton. St Peters Church is now a redundant Anglican Church and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, it is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is considered to be the most outstanding Norman church in the county.
As May draws closer a quick reminder that the list of events that feature the Jack-in-the-Green and the Green Man during May is growing every year. The list below is our current list for May but we are always extremely grateful to hear of any others that we may have missed including those outside of the UK. Details will always be as up to date as possible on the annual events pages of the website at http://www.thecompanyofthegreenman.co.uk
This blog has a worldwide readership so don’t hesitate to drop us a line. I’ve included links to as many of the below as possible as some have not fixed their dates as yet. If you would like to add details of an event here please e-mail us at email@example.com
Please go out and support your nearest Jack and join in the wonderful and magical event, then send us in your pictures and experiences of the event.
Bristol Jack in the Green Saturday 7th May
The Bristol Jack in the Green appears on the first Saturday in May starting from the historic Harbourside (outside the Arnolfini) and leads a magical procession through the streets of Bristol eventually ending the day on Horfield Common where he dies to release the spirit of summer.
Bristol Jack in the Green
Rochester Sweeps Festival and Jack-in-the-Green 30th April – 2nd May
The Rochester Sweeps festival still has a Jack in the Green Ceremony where the Jack is awoken on Blue Bell Hill on May Morning and is paraded through the streets during the three day festival attended by hundreds of Morris Teams
Rochester Sweeps Festival
Hasting Jack-in-the-Green Festival Monday 29th April – 2nd May
The Hastings Jack-in-the-Green festival was revived by Keith Leech in 1983 and is now one of the biggest annual gatherings of Morris Dancers in the country. The Jack is “released” every year and is central to the festival.
Hastings Jack-in-the-Green Festival
Deptford Jack-in-the-Green Sunday 1st May
The Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green goes out on the streets of South East London or the City of London every May Day
Deptford Jack in the Green
Brentham May Day and Jack-in-the-Green Saturday 14th 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 Jack in the Green
Knutsford May Day and Jack-in-the-Green
The Knutsford Jack in the Green is probably the oldest continual annual Jack in the Green. Apart from the war years it has paraded every year since 1890. May Day in Knutsford is celebrated over the May Bank holiday weekend..
Knutsford Jack in the Green
City of London Jack-in-the-Green
The City of London Jack-in-the-Green appears in the City on May Day (but only when May Day falls on a City working day, when it falls on a weekend he may sometimes be spotted elsewhere)
City of London Jack in the Green
Oxford Jack-in-the-Green Sunday 1st May
The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green appears 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.
Oxford Jack in the Green
Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green Monday 2nd May
Jack-in-the-Green was revived for the Whitstable Folk Festival in 1976 and 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.
Whitstable Jack in the Green
Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green 2nd – 3rd May 2011
Ilfracombes Jack-in-the-Green Parades on the first May bank holiday. A procession starts at approximately 11am winds its way through the High Street, along the sea front towards the harbour area. The Ilfracombe Jack finishes with the release of the spirit of summer and the distribution of leaves on Ilfracombe Pier.
Ilfracombe Jack in the Green
Highworth (Wiltshire) has a Jack in the Green that parades through the town in early May each year as part of their Medieval Market.
Beltane Bash Monday
Originally scheduled for Monday 30th May, but sadly due to the passing of one of the organisers it may not go ahead this year. Please check the website for the latest information.
The parade normally starts from the Conway Hall Red Lion Square London WC1 at 10:30 Led by traditional giants, the Jack-in-the-Green, Thor & Holda, Herne and Andred, Naughty Fairies and The Bogies.
Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival
Edinburgh’s Beltane festival traditionally takes place on the 30th of April every year on Calton Hill. The Green Man begins in a dormant and inactive state in the form of the old Horned God, until he ‘dies’ when he touches the May Queen. Her Handmaidens tear his garments from him and he is ‘reborn’ as the young Green Man with a wild exhilarating dance that celebrates his youth and the new summer.
Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival
Clun Green Man Festival
The Clun Green Man Festival is a springtime festival, held over three days usually on the first May Bank Holiday of the year. The Festival takes place in the picturesque town of Clun in South Shropshire and features a modern interpretation of the Green Man
Clun Green Man Festival