These 12 Green Men (and beasts) adorn the 12th Century Tympanum of St Peter’s Church in Charney Bassett Oxfordshire. The church is extremely old and would have been originally built in what was a remote marshland settlement. It is probable that the existing Norman church was erected on the site of an earlier wooden Saxon church. Although early Saxon churches were commonly of wood they were not necessarily wholly of wood. It is possible that the Saxon church at Charney may have had some stonework in it, possibly evidenced by the enigmatic carved tympanum now over a side doorway in the chancel. A mysterious figure between two gryphons, possibly ascending to heaven has been identified as Alexander the Great in a Christian manifestation. Although probably Saxon it is also possible that it may be Norse, as this area came much under Norse Viking influence during the reign of Cnut (Canute). There is also an ancient legend that Cnut had a palace at Cherbury.
Our twelve Green Men are part of another (I think equally fascinating) archway over the south (Main) door to the church. and is also undoubtedly very old, and may indeed be twelfth century Norman work.
To see more pictures of this arch visit the COTGM flicr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecompanyofthegreenman
We’ve recently updated the Company of the Green Man flickr site to pro status to give us unlimited space for all our pictures which are coming in fast (please keep them coming!) It also enables us to organise them more efficiently and I hope you’ll like what we’ve done.
There are now over 268 pictures on our own site and the Company group pool is now showing over 425 pictures!! They have been organised by county as well as various other sets including: Green Women, Green Animals, Green Skeletons and a group I’m hoping everyone will have a look at and give us feedback on: Green Man or not Green Man. These are all those images that we would like some help deciding whether they should be included as Green Men or not, something that is not always that easy to decide. Please feel free to have a look at them and either comment on the flickr feedback, on this blog or you can always e-mail me at email@example.com
But the most fascinating thing has to be six more capitals where the carvings appear to have been sawn off! The pillars date from late 13th/early 14th century, according to the guide book. The question is were these all Green Men or similar foliate figures? If so why were these ones removed and the other ones left intact? and of course when and by whom were they removed?