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

Green Man or not Green Man?

Tichfield St Peters copyright © David Williams

David Williams sent me some pictures of this fascinating figure from St Peter’s Church, Tichfield in Hampshire. It is a capital supporting the archway in the west porch. I visited this church myself back in April of this year to photograph this figure and verify it for the gazetteer. It was originally reported as a green man by Clive Hicks in his gazetteer and I must admit I went along with the description…but should I have?
David commented that “it is not a “Green Man” as it is non-foliate, but an interesting version of the genre. The Church literature describes it as a “Sea Monster” but makes no reference apart from that. I believe that this is unusual as carved heads normally physically spew water as part of their function.
Some carvings of Neptune have this feature, but the Titchfield one lacks the beard that is common on Neptune sculptures.”
And so is it time to look again at those few green men who do not feature easily recognisable foliage in any way and  exclude them from the gazetteer? I would love to hear our members views and so have added a poll below..Green Man or not Green Man? I would also love to hear your thoughts via the comments link on this post.
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2 responses

  1. Bruce

    I’m inclined to agree with David that this is not a green man. As to the question as to whether such sightings should be included in the gazetteer, I would say yes but with a caveat in the entry. It may be a bit beyond the remit of COTGM but such figures in churches are part of the same tradition and the same artistic vocabulary. If the COTGM gazetteer has ambitions to be the ‘go to’ source for researching the subject then these ‘not green men’ may help shine a light on the ‘green men proper’. It would also help clarify the entries in other gazetteers which already have these figures listed as green men. Just my tuppence worth.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  2. Rob

    When I first saw this I thought Id seen it before but couldnt think where, I didn’t think it was a Greenman, then thought of a Disgorging Head, but unless its disgorging rhubarb I doubt it.

    After a bit of head scratching I remembered Servered Celtic heads found on Holy Wells, have a look here http://megalithix.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/white-wells-ilkley/ and see what you think.

    They are quite similar.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

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