My thanks to Tim Healey for permission to use the great pictures of the 2016 Oxford Jack-in-the-Green that accompany this post. Tims website devoted to May Morning in Oxford can be found at: www.maymorning.co.uk
The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green was revived in 1951. It appears every year in Oxford on May Morning. OUMM (Oxford University Morris Men) introduced Jack-in-the-Green to their May Morning festivities in 1951. At that time they were unaware that a Jack-in-the-Green was a common sight in and around Oxford in the 19th century. The Oxford Jack is usually first seen near Magdalen Tower just before 6am and leads an informal procession up ‘The High’ to Radcliffe Square, where the first dance of the day: “Bonny Green” from Bucknell, starts at about 6.25am. Jack then moves through New College Lane and Broad Street, concluding with a massed ‘Bonny Green Garters’ outside St. John’s College in St. Giles around 8.30am. After breakfast the University & City Men usually take Jack to a display for the children of St. Ebbe’s school when May Morning falls on a weekday.
It has long been my hope to be able to obtain at least one picture of every Jack that goes out across the UK (and beyond) each year to add to our online Flickr archive and provide a visual record of this wonderful tradition for generations to come. At least twenty one Jacks went out this year and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me to gather pictures of thirteen Jacks so far.
I’m still trying to track down pictures of eight Jacks from this year. If you can help and have the copyright owners permission please get in contact via the ‘Contact us’ tab at the top of this blog. Copyright of any pictures added to our archive always remains with the original photographer and pictures are only ever used with permission of the copyright owner.
The eight Jacks I’m still looking for pictures of from 2016 are:
- Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Knutsford Jack-in-the-Green
- Yaxley Jack-in-the-Green
- Brentham Jack-in-the-Green
- Bovey Tracey/Grimspound Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Kentwell Hall Jack O’Green
- Wythenshawe Hall Jack ‘O’ Green
If you haven’t seen a Jack-in-the-Green yet this year there is still at least one more to come. The Carshalton Straw Jack is a celebration of Harvest that 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. The date for this event is still to be confirmed but you can visit the website here: Carshalton Straw Jack