All things Green Man & the traditional Jack-in-the-Green

The Green Man by Richard Hayman (Reviewed by Dr Colin N Harris)

Reviewed by Dr Colin N Harris from Green Man Forum
Title The Green Man
Author Richard Hayman
Publisher Shire Publications
ISBN 978-0-74780-784-1

THE GREEN MAN

That The Green Man is central to so many carvings and pictures in both religious and secular settings is well known.  His (or indeed her!) ubiquitous presence has been well documented and theorised about in many books, especially since 1939 when Lady Raglan famously coined the original term whilst at Llangwm Church.

Richard Hayman has made an excellent contribution to our wealth and increasing knowledge concerning these curious, lovable and “conundrumic” faces.  His scholarship and knowledge of so many aspects of his research into the architectural history of churches and other buildings have blended together to give his readers considerable insight into the nature, role, background and history of such carved faces.

He has published other books on “Wrought Iron” and “Church Misericords and Bench Ends” which have been widely and popularly acclaimed.  His latest work reflects his keen studious and pragmatic analysis and rationalisation of “The Green Man” phenomenon.

From its origins and working definitions, the book progresses from its presence in Romanesque Churches, Gothic Architecture and Church Furnishings to Post-Reformation appearances in Victorian buildings.  The recent cult and popularity of The Green Man Festival at Clun and many other May-time folkloric events is also covered.

He provides an excellent further reading section but as with so many other Green Man books, there is a huge problem in creating an accurate full set of suggestions of places to visit. Perhaps the bedrock and definitive directory of Green Man sites has been provided by Clive Hicks?

The book is robust, has high quality photographs and easy text to read.  Its size and popularity will be undoubtedly guaranteed. My congratulations go to Richard Hayman.  Long may he provide us with insights into other religious, secular and mythical curiosities!

Dr Colin N Harris 9th June 2010

Editors note: I completely echo Colin’s excellent review. I had been looking forward to this book since last year and had pre-ordered it on Amazon.co.uk. It arrived a few weeks ago and I wasn’t disappointed. Well researched and some excellent photography. The book is priced at £5.99 but if you head to our website www.thecompanyofthegreenman.co.uk and go to the book shop section you can buy it directly from Amazon.co.uk at £4.49 (go for the free delivery option too). The link will be on our home page too for the next couple of months. It wont cost you any more than the usual Amazon price by using our link but will generate a few pence from each sale towards The Company of the Green Man to help us keep everything free. In fact if you go via any of the book links from our website to buy your books or other Amazon goodies you can help generate us a few more pennies with no extra cost to you.

Even if you do buy the book via Amazon do go and visit Shire Publications website www.shirebooks.co.uk and sign up for their newsletter. Shire produce and sell a fantastic range of beautifully created books on a wide and eclectic range of rare subjects.

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