Green Man of the Month
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