Saint-Germain, Barneville-Carteret, Normandy
On a recent family holiday in Normandy we took some time out from sandcastle building duties and sampling the excellent local cider to indulge in a spot of Green Man hunting. Without doubt the highlight was the small Romanesque church of Saint-Germain in Barneville-Carteret. We knew we were in for a treat when we saw the rows of grotesque corbels around the outside of the church. The pillar capitals that support the dog-toothed Norman arches of the nave were fascinating. They featured, amongst other things, multiple examples of Green Men of the ‘face generating foliage’ type, a figure holding two serpents which seem to emerge out of his anus, a wrestler throwing his opponent to the floor whilst being attacked by a serpent, a possible Christ figure with knotwork dogs, abstract knotwork patterns and a probable Sheela-na-Gig (although the ‘lady’s area’ has been attacked with a chisel at some point in the carving’s history). The parish priest, when interrogated by my father-in-law, claimed that the oldest parts of the church date to the tenth century. Clive Hicks, in his excellent field guide, dates the capitals to the twelfth century. I would tentatively suggest an eleventh century date, but am happy to stand corrected. Photographs of the capitals have been added to the COTGM Flikr site so that you can make up your own minds.
I had been aware that the master masons who supervised the building of England’s twelfth century churches had largely been recruited in France (most famously the Herefordshire School), but until visiting Normandy I had not fully appreciated that, as well as bringing their expertise, these master craftsmen also brought with them a complex artistic vocabulary, of which Green Man designs form but one element. This style did not develop in isolation and many of the carvings at Saint-Germain seem to bear more than a hint of Scandinavian influence. This is unsurprising given that the deCarteret family claim direct descent from one of the henchmen of Rollo ‘the Dane’, the founder of Normandy.
 Hicks, C. 2000 The Green Man – A Field Guide COMPASSbooks p75
 Bailey, J. 2000 The Parish Church of St Mary & St David at Kilpeck Berrington Press p23
More of Bruce and Eleanor’s pictures of Normandy Green Men can be viewed on our Flickr Site http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecompanyofthegreenman
Saturday 31st July – Saturday 14th August 2010
Kate Lynch will be using her time as Artist in Residence to develop her work which looks at The Green Man. The Green Man can be seen in many forms on some of the town’s buildings. Throughout the residency the public will be introduced to the Green Men of Stoke Town through artwork, maps and sightseeing trails.
CREATE YOUR OWN GREEN MAN FREE
Wednesday 4th August all day (10:30 am – 4:30pm)
Create your own Green Man face using a range of locally sourced materials including clay, discarded ceramic lithographs and found wallpapers from around the city.
Other drop-in workshops will take place daily. Please check opening hours available online or at SHOP
To find out more pop in for a cup of tea anytime to:
116 Church Street, Stoke Town. ST4 1BU Next to the Spode Works archway.
More info at www.shop-stoke.co.uk
Kate’s fascinating Blog: A Conversation with the Green Man can be found at: http://aconversationwiththegreenman.blogspot.com/
Lots more pictures of this years fantastic Hastings Jack-in-the-Green on our Flickr pages at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecompanyofthegreenman
At the time this post appears, as the sun rises just after 5:30 on May 1st 2010 a number of Jack-in -the-Greens will be awoken across the UK. They will parade around towns, villages and cities bringing the summer and “Jacks Magic” with them.
A Merry May Day and a Happy Beltaine to one and all!
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
Jack in the green am I and master have I none
for whilst there are trees upon this land the woods shall be my home
To the season’s kings I bow my head as they do bow to me
for my faces are as many as the leaves upon a tree
Green man spotters might like to look out for the Greenman in Trafalgar Square on the 24th April when The Lions Part celebrate St George’s day. The Greenman in his spring manifestation will be born out of the dragon. There will be six performances from midday until 6pm.
These amazing green men were created by our featured artist this month:
Fidelma Massey studied at the School of Art, Dun Laoghaire majoring in Fine Art/Sculpture (Stonecarving, Claymodeling, Drawing and Ceramics). She was engaged in commercial ceramics until 1986, after which time she returned to her original interest in pure sculpture, working with bronze, stone and ceramics. She also makes drawings and stained glass. Fidelma has shown work in many group exhibitions: Royal Hibernian Academy, Sculpture in Context, Iontas, L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. She shows work regularly with a number of galleries including the Origin, Hallward, Gormleys and Designyard Galleries in Dublin; the Lavit in Cork; Greenacres in Wexford, the Greenlane Gallery,
Dingle ( and Paris ), the Kilrealig Gallery, Ballinsceligs, both in Co. Kerry, and Strassacker Gallerie, Sussen, Germany.
You can find more about Fidelma’s magical work on her website at: http://www.irishsculpture.com/
Kew gardens main gate (off Kew Green) boasts four green men. The gates were designed by Decimus Burton in 1845 and completed in April the next year. The central double gates were made for carriages, and are flanked by two single gates for pedestrians. The elaborate wrought iron work is in Jacobean style. The Main Gate is one of four of Kew’s gates that are Grade II listed. The other three were all built during the second half of the 19th century. The Lion Gate and Lodge, and the Victoria Gate are still used as public entrances, but the Unicorn Gate in Kew Road is used only by staff.