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

Archive for Jan, 2010

West Country Lead Green Man

West Country Green Man

This wonderful Green Man is a recent metal detector find in the West Country. If anyone can shed any light on possible age or use of this lead green man we would be most grateful.  The size is 6.4cm high and 6.5cm wide.

It has been reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme but it is a bit of an enigma and they have not been able to hazard a date for it!

Kath Stonedog has suggested that it might be a vessel mount.

You can contact us at

Photograph Copyright ©  Bob Minton

Green Man of the Month (January 2010)


Green Man of the month for January is from  The Church of St John the Evangelist in Northington, Berkshire.

This wonderful church was built through the generosity of the 4th Lord Ashburton and his wife Leonora. It replaced a church built in 1832 by Edward Hunt which in turn stood on the site of a Mediaeval church,. Unusually the modern day church does not stand on the site of these two churches, they stood in what is now the car park and material from both the buildings was used as aggregate for the concrete during the construction of the modern building. The architect was Sir Thomas Graham Jackson a pupil of Sir Gilbert Scott.

The church boasts seven Green Men and one Green Women all of exceptional quality. The Green Man pictured takes pride of place for January in The official Company of the Green Man calendar for 2010. All the photos have been taken by me over the last year and include some less well known green men that I’ve come across in my journeys. It’s available worldwide from our Cafepress shop at :

Please be aware that holidays marked in the calendar are US holidays, we will be producing a full UK version for 2011

Sotheby’s Green Man Sale update by Kath Stonedog

Just before Christmas came the opportunity to buy a green man or two. Or three. Although even if I’d added a decade’s worth of Christmases and birthdays together I’d still have come up well short!

Covetable pieces were offered by Sotheby’s as part of an Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art auction. and described in the catalogue as “Richard Wiseman’s comprehensive collection of fantastic medieval architectural fragments of beasts, gargoyles and grotesques.”

Looking at the prices achieved the green men items all seem to have sold except for Lot 3 – a C12/C13 pair of full-face foliage beard and hair examples, perhaps from Rheims. Multiple item lots make it hard to pick out a trend in the prices achieved except for the obvious: later, wood, and less detailed costs less!

The whole catalogue is well worth a look but if you are pressed for time then I think the green men are Lots 3, 6, 8, 19, 24, 26, 27, and possibly 31.

Richard Wiseman’s collection has been noted for its breadth and quality – as well as his skill and generosity in privately publishing a catalogue raisonnée so that other people can enjoy and study the pieces. I recommend this catalogue (IOTA Bibliography #604) for its excellent photographs and scholarly descriptions. I can’t find it on Amazon but I think that copies are available from Celia Jennings at 

“The sale is concluded by a magnificent set of Roman mosaics acquired by Lord Kinnaird during his Grand Tour in 1823.” Two of these are the (restored) second century “Heads of Tritons” which clearly show the seaweed hair and beards which are often said to be the artistic ancestors of the green man, especially the foliage hair and leaf mask  forms. From the catalogue discussion it seems that the C19 restoration
didn’t involve these splendid heads. It also seems that a third from the same original mosaic is currently in the entrance hall floor at Woburn Abbey! Does anyone have a photo of this one so it can be compared with the auction catalogue pictures? 

Editor’s addition: 

Obviously these pieces are extremely important and The Company of the Green Man would love to be able to keep a track of their whereabouts. If anyone who purchased any of the pieces would like to get in touch with us (we are happy to provide anonymity where requested) we would be most grateful. We would just like to put a note against them in the archive detailing where they currently are. You can contact me at

Brent Knoll Wassail (Words by Bruce Eaton, Pictures by Maddy Aldis-Evans)

Any COTGM members thinking of attending the wassail in Brent Knoll (see post below) or who just fancy a day trip, should make sure that they get to the village with plenty of daylight to spare.  Not only are the views from the top of the Iron Age hillfort stunning (Wales to the NW, the Mendip hills to the N and E, the Quantock hills to the S and Glastonbury Tor to the E) but St. Michael’s Church, in the heart of the village, is well worth a visit.  Highlights include a gargoyle/hunkypunk on the tower with legs and a bare bottom hanging out of his maw, a rare plaster bust of local Civil War hero John Somerset and the famous medieval pew ends featuring greenmen.
Three of the pew ends, topped with intricate greenmen, date to the late 15th century and form an allegorical cartoon.  The first pew end depicts the figure of a fox dressed in the robes of an abbot preaching to a flock of birds, probably geese. Above the fox a chained ape holds a bag of money aloft. Below the abbot’s feet two monkeys roast a pig on a spit. In the second pew end, the fox has been placed in leg irons and is imprisoned in the stocks, while a monkey stands guard over him. In the third pew end the geese have hung the fox, while dogs bark triumphantly.
So what’s all that about then? 

The fox is thought to represent an Abbot of Glastonbury who was taxing his tenants (the geese) particularly hard.  The third pew end, then, is a revenge fantasy on the part of the parishioners.  The reason the church could get away with such scandalous pew ends is because it was under the control of the Diocese of Bath and Wells, another powerful and influential landowner in Somerset and the Abbey’s only real rival.  Another example of this one-up-manship can be seen in the village of Pilton where the grand Abbey owned tithe barn (recently restored by Michael Eavis) and the impressive Bath and Wells run parish church seem to scowl at each other across a narrow river valley. 

Pictures produced with the kind permission and copyright © Maddy Aldis-Evans

Wassailing the Apples at Westcroft Cider 16th January 2010

West Croft Cider is a traditional cider farm, located at the foot of  Brent Knoll. They will be holding a Wassail on 16th January 2010. There will be Morris Men, Belly Dancers and music from The Fallen Apples.  Mulled Cider and Refreshments will be available.  The entrance fee is £8.00 to include a glass of mulled wine and free samples from a selection of Westcroft Ciders.  Admission is by ticket only.  All profits will be going to the Sargent Cancer Care for Children Trust. 

Tel: 01278 760762/ 01278 760259 for more details

John Harris has been making cider since 1992 but his grandfather made it here at the same farm with the same apples. He sells Janet’s Jungle Juice, Dry, Medium and Morgan Sweet and has won many awards.

West Croft Cider
John Harris
West Croft Farm
Brent Knoll

Annual Events

I’m pleased to say that the list of events that feature the Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green etc is growing every year. The list below is our current list but we are always extremely grateful  to hear of any others that we may have missed. I’ve included links to all of the below 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

Bristol Jack in the Green Saturday 1st May 2010
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. For pictures of the 2009 Bristol Jack in the Green visit our flickr site
Bristol Jack in the Green

Rochester Sweeps Festival and Jack-in-the-Green
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 April 30th – 3rd May 2010
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 May 1st 2010
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
Brentham has a big celebration every May which includes a Jack in the Green
Brentham Jack in the Green

Knutsford May Day and Jack-in-the-Green
May Day in Knutsford is celebrated over the May Bank holiday weekend. The main focus is the May Queen but there is a Jack in the Green
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
City of London Jack in the Green

Oxford Jack-in-the-Green
A Jack in the Green who appears in Oxford on May Day
Oxford Jack in the Green

Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green
Oyster Morris organise the Whitstable Jack
Whitstable Jack in the Green

Beltane Bash 30th & 31st May 2010
The parade in 2009 (Sunday 24th May) started 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 

Green Man Day—Pilton Festival (Barnstaple)
The Green Man Day includes a stilt walking Green Man resplendent in foliage. The ritual enacted at the festival is believed to represent the initial antagonism of the Prior of Pilton and the Green Man and his subsequent inclusion within the church (The church of St Mary has it’s own Green Man) The festival is usually held on the third weekend in July
Pilton Festival

Clun Green Man Festival 1st – 3rd May 2010
The Clun Green Man Festival is a springtime festival, held over three days 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

Carshalton Straw Jack 4th September 2010
A Celebration of Harvest this 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
Carshalton Straw Jack

Happy New Year