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

Posts tagged “greenman

ANNUAL EVENTS 2011

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 greenman@virgin.net

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 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.
Beltane Bash

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


Exeter Green Man Coming March 21st

Exeter Green Man

Green Man Coming!

On March 21st the spring equinox, Exeter will be visited by an old Devon character in contemporary form. From dawn onwards the Green Man will be walking into Exeter centre from his home somewhere in the rolling hills surrounding the city. Members of the public can run into him any time between dawn and noon when he will disappear without trace until next year. Anyone can approach him along his journey – he is courteous, photogenic and has a propensity for hugs said to banish the winter blues and promote change generally. On his way into town, he will leave behind blessings for new life and messages for members of the public to find and keep in the form of original artworks by an Exeter based artist.

Green Man Spotting!

The Green Man’s journey will be followed closely by DJ Sketch and Dr Site during a radio special on Exeter’s favourite community station phonic.fm. Studio guests will provide expert knowledge and discussion about the Green Man’s history and appearances across the centuries. Listeners can also join in the chase by phoning or emailing the station to report sightings of the Green Man throughout the morning. This year Exeter Phoenix have offered free tickets for the best Green Man photograph which will also be exhibited at the arts centre. There will also be prizes offered in exchange for some of the Green Man’s special blessings. Find out more on the phonic.fm website.

DJ Sketch said “ Last year’s visit from The Green Man was really amazing, With the help of the listeners on my Sunday Morning Scribble Radio Show we were able to follow The Green Man’s journey into Exeter City centre. This year will be bigger and better, we want to, with once again the help of the people of Exeter, welcome this very special guest who takes us out of  winter and into spring.”

Exeter Artist Volkhardt Müller said “I was honoured to be approached by the Green Man to help him with his work. We have similar figures and traditions in South West Germany where I come from, so I found it easy to connect with this ancient Exeter resident.”

Join in the hunt for the Green Man on March 21st between 5.30am and midday by tuning into phonic.fm 106.8fm in Exeter or via worldwide live streaming on www.phonic.fm.

Report your sightings to the phonic.fm studio on 01392 434577 or email studio@phonic.fm. Lines will be open between 5.30 am and 12pm.

To submit your Green Man photo and for more information visit www.vibraphonic2011.co.uk/

This year’s Green Man Coming is being hosted by the Vibraphonic Festival and phonic.fm. The Green Man’s mission is being supported by Exeter Arts Council.

Exeter Green man


“Strange Lands”

Green Man © Andrew L. Paciorek

COTGM member Andy Paciorek’s book ‘Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld’ is now available via mail-order. Members might recall Andy’s fabulous illustration of The Apple Tree Man which you can find in this blog under “Wassailing the Apple Trees” It also includes his fantastic Green Man pictured above.

Strange Lands is the fruit of Andrew L. Paciorek’s voyage into the Celtic Otherworld in search of Faeries, Goblins, Monsters, Angels, Demons and much more besides.
Within the 400 pages of the book are descriptions and tales of a multitude of bizarre beasts and weird entities, accompanied by over 170 original pen and ink depictions.

The following is taken from the foreword by Dr Karl Shuker:

Strange Lands is a deeply researched and richly illustrated information guide to the entities and beasts of Celtic myth & legend and to the many strange beings that have entered the lore of the land through the influence of other cultures and technological evolution.

At nearly 400 pages and featuring over 170 original illustrations, Strange Lands is an essential accompaniment for both the novice and seasoned walkers between worlds.

“Right from a child, I have always been fascinated by mythology and folklore, especially the rich corpus originating in the British Isles, and I have read very extensively on the subject. However, I can say in all honesty that Strange Lands is one of the most comprehensive single volumes on British mythological entities that I have ever encountered. Even Dr Katharine M. Briggs’s essential tome, A Dictionary of Fairies, universally acclaimed as the standard work on such beings, now has a rival in terms of the sheer diversity of examples documented.

And where Strange Lands effortlessly outpoints even that classic work is of course in its illustrations, which are truly breathtaking in their beauty, intricacy, and vibrancy”

Andy Paciorek is a graphic artist, drawn mainly to the worlds of myth, folklore, symbolism, decadence, curiosa, anomaly, dark romanticism and otherworldly experience. He is fascinated both by the beautiful and the grotesque and the twilight threshold consciousness where these boundaries blur. The mist-gates, edges and liminal zones where nature borders supernature and daydreams and nightmares cross paths are of great inspiration.

You can have a look at a limited preview and order Andy’s book at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1957828 and find out more about Andy’s work at http://www.batcow.co.uk/strangelands/


Save England’s Ancient Forests

Fellow members will know that as the current caretaker of the Company of the Green Man I try to be impartial when it comes to discussions and issues. But on this occasion I think we all need to stand together to help protect our ancient woodland. I urge you to read on and then sign the petition to support the Woodland Trust in their campaign.

On the 27th January 2011 the Government started a consultation over the future of the forests in England owned by the Forestry Commission, including plans to sell many of them. The Woodland Trust have responded by launching their biggest ever campaign: Save England’s Ancient Forests.

Please support the woodland trust by signing their petition which can be found at:

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/save-ancient-forests/Pages/fc-disposals-act-now.aspx

Ancient woods must be treated as a special case
Ancient woods are the UK’s equivalent of the rainforest: unique, irreplaceable and our richest wildlife habitat. The proposals do not treat all ancient woods as a special case: only some are included in the proposed category of heritage woods.

Stronger protection is needed for ancient woods
In the last decade the Woodland Trust have fought to protect 850 cases of ancient woods threatened by development. This shows that much stronger protection is needed for these precious places before any sales can be considered.

Planted ancient woods must be restored
The Forestry Commission owns over 20,000 hectares of ancient woods that have been damaged by the planting of conifers. Their restoration to broadleaved woodland would be one of the most significant contributions to wildlife conservation in a generation. The Woodland Trust have lobbied passionately for their cause in the media. They have also persuaded government to halt their current back door sales until the consultation is complete. Replanting conifers will smother the life out of these fragile habitats so we need government to guarantee their urgent restoration.

Public access must be maintained
The passionate outcry about the future of public forests underlines how important access to woods and their beautiful surroundings is to millions of people each year. The Government’s proposals to include agreements to maintain existing levels of access to bind future owners are crucial to maintaining this public benefit and we must hold them to account on this.

Transfers to charities must be properly funded
The proposals suggest that some woods could be transferred to charities such as the Woodland Trust. They would welcome the chance to work with government to safeguard the future of planted ancient woods in particular, perhaps through management agreements, but they need substantial and sustained funding from government before they could take over its responsibilities. They are concerned that such funding may be limited in the current economic climate. Stronger protection is therefore also essential.

The Woodland Trust’s Save England’s ancient forests campaign calls for:

  • Ancient woods to be treated as a special case in the Forestry Commission’s sell-off plans.
  • Restoration of all the Forestry Commission’s damaged ancient woods (defaced by conifers) to their rightful place as jewels in the crown of our native woodland heritage.
  • Closure of loopholes in protection for all ancient woods, to guarantee their public access and wildlife value, no matter who owns them.

Please speak up for our much loved woods by signing The Woodland Trust’s petition to government now:

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/save-ancient-forests/Pages/fc-disposals-act-now.aspx

Thank you.

I would love to hear any comments that our members and any other visitors to this blog might have on this issue. Please either add your comment directly to the blog or e-mail me at greenman@virgin.net


COMPANY OF THE GREEN MAN T-Shirt


I’m very pleased to announce that the official Company of the Green Man T-Shirt is now available to purchase in a variety of colours, styles and sizes (along with some other unique green man merchandise) from our new Zazzle shop which can be found at: http://www.zazzle.co.uk/companygreenman

Zazzle do all the hard work for us and 10% from every sale comes our way and helps to keep membership free. I tested the system by ordering my own T-Shirt a short while ago and it arrived quickly, well packaged and is excellent quality. It features the fantastic logo that Rob Stephens designed for us.

Go on….you know you want one!


The Green Man by Lauren Raine

I have included this poem before in the early days of this blog, but it is so beautiful and apt for the begining of the year and our blog is so regularly discovered by people entering it in search engines, that I feel it is time to publish it again. You can find Lauren’s website full of wonderful masks (like the one above) at: http://www.rainewalker.com/catalog3.htm.

“Remember me, try to remember.
I am that laughing man with eyes like leaves.
When you think that winter will never end,
I will come.
You will feel my breath,
a vine caressing your foot.
I am the blue eye of a crocus,
opening in the snow,
a trickle of water, a calling bird,
a shaft of light among the trees.
You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
and the shining leaves of tomorrow.
I’ll come with daisies in my hands –
we’ll dance among the sycamores
once more.”
–  Lauren Raine, The Green Man


The Green Man (A Carol)

I recently discovered Clive Andersons wonderful poem “The Green Man” has been put to music by Lynn Noel and is now sung as a Yuletide Carol by the Paperbag Mummers of Waltham Massachusetts. It seems a perfect way for the poem to evolve and hopefully wind its way into future generations.

A Merry Yuletide and Happy Christmas to all members of The Company of the Green Man

THE GREEN MAN

William Anderson arr. L. Noel 1990

Like antlers, like veins of the brain the birches
Mark patterns of mind on the red winter sky;
I am thought of all plants, says the Green Man
I am thought of all plants, says he. (REFRAIN)

The hungry birds harry the last berries of rowan
But white is her bark in the darkness of rain
I rise with the sap…

The ashes are clashing their boughs like sword-dancers
Their black buds do trace a wild face in the clouds
I come with the wind….

The alders are rattling as though ready for battle
Guarding the grove where she waits for her lover
I burn with desire….

In and out of the yellowing wands of the willow
The pollen-bright bees are plundering the catkins
I am honey of love….

The hedges of quick are thick with May blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King
It’s off with my head….

Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms his mask and its leafage his features
I speak through the oak….

The holly is flowering as hayfields are rolling
Their gleaming long grasses like waves of the sea
I shine with the sun….

The hazels are rocking the cups of their nuts
As the harvesters shout when the last sheaf is cut
I swim with the salmon…

The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way’s stardust
I am crushed for your drink….

The aspen drops silver of leaves on earth’s salver
And the poplars shed gold on the young ivy heads
I have paid for your pleasure….

The reed beds are flanking in silence the islands
Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits
I have kept her secret….

The bark of the elder makes whistles for children
To call to the deer as they rove over the snow
I am born in the dark….


The Apple Tree Man

A Carol arranged by Lynn Noel (From a traditional Somerset tale)

In Somerset there lived two sons of a farmer who passed away
The elder son was vain and mean, the younger merry and gay
The elder son was left the farm, to his brother naught gave he
Save a tiny plot with a feeble ox, a donkey and apple tree.

(chorus) Old apple tree, we’ll wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear
The Lord doth know where we shall be to be merry another year
To blow well and to bear well and so merry let us be
Let everyone drink up a cup, here’s health to the old apple tree.

Good husbandman was the younger son, he tended the ox and ass
He patched their stable walls and roof and he led them to sweet grass
And he poured the cider round about and a wassail song sang he
To the spirit guard of the orchard wood, the Man of the Apple Tree.

(insert chorus after every first, second or third verse as audience & time permit)

On Christmas Eve the rent from him his brother did demand
And at midnight the elder should summon him to where treasure lay on the land
To the farmer spoke the Apple Tree Man in a voice so rich and rare
“Go dig beneath the apple tree, the treasure awaits you there.”

The younger son went to the tree and he dug as he was told
And there beneath the roots he found a wooden chest heavy with gold.
Hide it away, it now is yours,” said the voice from out the tree
“And your brother call to the stable door as he bids you, merrily.”

The elder son came silently, to the stable door did creep
And the ox and ass, as was foretold, of the treasure they did speak.
“He thinks to learn, the greedy fool, where the treasure lies from me,”
Said the ox and then the ass replied, “Twas taken long since from the tree.”

The Apple Tree Man spoke not a word as he stood in the orchard good
But shook with mirth and an apple rolled to his feet where the farmer stood.
So the greedy son he went without while the wise one prospered free
And each Christmastide for all his days he wassailed the Apple Tree. (chorus)

Merry Yuletide to all members of  The Company of the Green Man

WASSAIL!


New Company Artwork

I am extremely grateful to COTGM member Rob Stephens for creating this fantastic fan art for The Company of the Green Man.  I am  proud to adopt this as our new logo. Watch this space for the official COTGM T-Shirt incorporating Rob’s design coming soon.

You can find out more about Rob and his work at http://mildinthecountry.tumblr.com/ or www.satansbrand.co.uk.

Thanks Rob!


Green Man Encounter

Sean Breadin drew my attention to a letter in the July 2010 edition of Fortean Times written by Nick Skerten from London:
One summer afternoon in 2007, I was returning from central London and my train had spent a few too many minutes idling at the platform in New Malden station. Lost in thought, I had been looking out of the window at nothing in particular when I suddenly saw something that made me gasp out loud. At the far end of the London-bound platform is a thick bank of trees and shrubs behind a fence. I was astonished to see what appeared to be an enormous face made up of the surrounding foliage looming out at the opposite platform and looking very similar to the typical appearance of the ‘Green Man’, as seen in church carvings. The face was about 5ft (1.5m) in diameter and about 7ft (2m) or so from the ground.
I was amazed how perfect the face seemed to be-though at the same time I knew it was just my brain demonstrating its knack for face recognition in random patterns. I probably gazed in wonder for 20-odd seconds before the most shocking thing happened.
Suddenly, and with tremendous velocity, the entire face withdrew backwards into the vegetation, which caused the surrounding bushes and trees to sway violently. Most strikingly of all, a branch that must have been under the ‘face’ swung upwards with immense force-as if a huge weight had been lifted from it-before smacking into the surrounding greenery and, I suppose, reassuming its original position. This whole motion took about a second and the face had completely disappeared! I could accept that a fox or even a human might have been sitting on the branches and had jumped off, causing them to bounce back into position, but this would not easily account for the very distinct retraction of the face, as if it was wrenched backwards into a tunnel.
The face in no way looked constructed or man-made and seemed to consist of a natural, though utterly remarkable, arrangement. The features of the thing were clear to see and I was particularly struck by the grinning mouth and staring eyes. Quite how the verdant visage was sucked backwards I have no idea. I have often wondered how, or indeed why, anyone would have achieved this bizarre effect for bored South West Trains passengers. The train drew away and I sat back in my chair feeling strangely unnerved. On all my subsequent journeys through the station I have never seen anything like this again.

I managed to get in contact with Nick to ask his permission to reproduce the letter and to see if there was anything else he would add. Nick commented that: “There was no-one near me when I saw this weird thing, which is slightly frustrating! I was travelling back from town after doing some shopping. It was a very sunny day and I suppose the train had been waiting for a good two minutes before I noticed the face in the leaves. I hadn’t been staring out of the window all of that time and it was, as I recall, the moment I looked at the bushes that I saw the face. I’ve always had a good look at that bank of trees whenever I pass through New Malden station on the train, but it’s always looked like a rather standard bush and nothing else. It was, though, the terrific suction that seemed to be exerted on the face as it was wrenched back into the shrubbery that I found so inexplicable. The violence of the exit and the massive swaying of branches and foliage was quite spectacular and just left me feeling really surprised and shocked. I only wish now that I had got out of the train and gone to investigate the opposite platform, but, alas, I didn’t, so I’m left with the mystery.”
Nick was also kind enough to sketch the drawing which is included on this post. Nick’s description is fascinating and I must admit that I can offer no rational explanation for his experience. This is the only record that I can find of a sighting of this kind, ghostly figures dressed in green and the children of woolpit don’t even come close, and the only image that I have seen that partially resembles this is of a brilliant piece of topiary in a garden in Wiltshire. If anyone else has heard of a sighting of this kind either present day or historical we would love to hear from you.