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

The Ruth Wylie Collection

Many of our members will know Ruth Wylie as the extremely talented photographer behind the wonderful images in Mercia MacDermott’s book “Explore Green Men” Others may know that Ruth has built an incredible gazetteer of green men over more than thirty years and that much of it was published in “The Green Man, a Field Guide”, by Clive Hicks.

After much planning, on a slightly soggy day back in October I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Ruth Wylie and her husband Jim to talk green men and to collect Ruth’s incredible collection of green man photographs, documents and correspondence. Ruth has been building the collection since the 1980’s when she stumbled across Kathleen Basford’s book “The Green Man” In Ruth’s own words:

“On cycling tours, it was fun to visit churches, photograph carving, whatever caught the eye! Then, during the 1980s, alerted to Kathleen Basford’s book The Green Man, I became aware of his commanding presence. Henceforward, my attention was concentrated!

Five large, fat albums later, the hunt continues! Home processing of b&w photographs allowed for greater control, but was too time-consuming, so was reluctantly abandoned for colour. Thanks to personal exploration and generous contributions from friends and numerous publications, I have compiled a register of sightings worldwide, regularly updated.”

Ruth contacted me back in June 2020 to ask if I would be willing to provide a safe home for her wonderful collection for the foreseeable future. I was of course honoured and am now custodian of the incredible archive that you can see pictured at the top of this post.

Redundancy after over thirty years in the same industry sees me starting my own business at the moment and so unfortunately I cannot yet spend the time that I would like to digitise and catalogue Ruth’s collection. But when time and finances allow I will do so and will ensure that it is made accessible to all.

I could not of course resist delving into Ruth’s wonderful archive and was delighted at the wonders I have spotted so far, including some fascinating correspondence between Ruth and her friend the late Kathleen Basford.

If there is anyone out there who knows of any funding currently available or would be willing to contribute financially themselves to allow me to tackle this wonderful project on a part time or full time basis please do get in touch.

I have created a section on this website for Ruth’s collection and will do my best to begin sharing it with our followers soon.

And I would like to express my thanks to Ruth for entrusting me with her collection. Please rest assured that it is in very safe hands.

6 responses

  1. Tony Hayward

    Hi Chris
    Thank you for this fascinating post. I had the good fortune to meet Ruth in the late 1990s. She was always so generous with her gazetteer – sending out photocopied copies regularly in the days before the internet was much use at sharing information. I’ve not seen her for ages, although I was just about to write her a Christmas card when I read the post – the kind of synchronicity that abounds when the Green Man is around! She was a great inspiration and encouragement in my early trips to (usually) freezing cold churches in search of faces and foliage. It was her encouragement that prompted me to continue to log the Victorian Green Men in Birmingham and to produce a little booklet, that I was flattered to see among the archive!
    Delighted that her amazing and invaluable work will be available for future generations as they fall under His spell
    Best wishes Tony Hayward
    On Thu, Dec 3, 2020 at 12:48 PM The Company of the Green Man wrote:
    > Chris Walton posted: ” Many of our members will know Ruth Wylie as the > extremely talented photographer behind the wonderful images in Mercia > MacDermott’s book “Explore Green Men” Others may know that Ruth has built > an incredible gazetteer of green men over more than thirty” >

    Dec 4, 2020 at 7:38 pm


    Awesome! It would be lovely to see it on line & browse-able in all its glory.

    Dec 5, 2020 at 8:15 am

  3. All of Ruth’s gazetteer up until it was included in Clive’s book is within The Company of the Green Man’s ridicullously enormous gazetteer which is completely free to download. I have many more entries to add from Ruth and our wonderful members too.

    Your booklet is wonderful Tony and will be kept safe and sound.

    Dec 5, 2020 at 12:48 pm

  4. Thank you Sean, it’s a fascinating collection and I’m going to enjoy exploring it and making it available for all.

    Dec 5, 2020 at 12:49 pm

  5. The easiest funding option might be

    Its allows for scalable regular income in return for a controlled release of benefits to subscribers. In this one assumes a set amount of scanned images, documents or podcasts etc..

    A similar thing can be done within PayPal, but where people can select subscription oackagest/levels you define. This approach lacks some of the tools that patreon gives the creator.

    The down side is it might take some time to prime the pump to get enough money to set aside some time understandably from your primary income generator.

    The upside of this method is it gets around the all or nothing approachbof kickstaryer or indigo go.

    Dec 14, 2020 at 7:32 am

  6. Thank you. I had considered Patreon as a possibility and will be looking into this in the new year. Much appreciated

    Dec 14, 2020 at 1:31 pm

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