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

Annual Events 2023

Listed below are the annual events that will hopefully take place during 2023 that feature The traditional Jack-in-the-Green or The Green Man throughout the UK. I shall be watching closely and this list will be regularly updated. If anyone knows of any events that are not listed here or if there are any corrections/amendments/confirmations required please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If an event is listed as CONFIRMED then it is hoped that it will go ahead but of course may be subject to change so please check the website link provided before attending.

For more detailed information about each Jack go to our page on the revived Jack in the Green HERE

Links below each entry will take you to the website or Facebook page of that event where you will be able to get more detail.

Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green – Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green was revived by Keith Leech in 1983 and is now one of the biggest annual gatherings of Morris Dancers in the country. This year is the 40th Anniversary of the Hastings Jack and Keith Leech has formally invited all other existing Jacks in the UK to come and take part in this years celebrations.

“The Jack in the Green Festival is an annual event that takes place in various parts of the gorgeous seaside resort that is Hastings. It’s a four day event and attracts thousands every year. This is a true British May Day celebration not to be missed. The four day event has been described as ‘thee celebration of Morris dancing and traditional merriment, centering on the symbolic figure of Jack in the Green and culminating in a wild costumed parade – one of the most bizarre in Britain.’ The long weekend event includes music of all genres from some of the best local and surrounding areas bands, sun, historic and social events, and is filled with family fun. The weekend is topped off by the main event on the May Bank Holiday Monday, with the Jack in the Green parade itself. The parade begins at 9.45am on the Bank holiday Monday setting off from the Fisherman’s Huts in Rock-a-Nore Road in the Old Town, and finishes on the West Hill, where you will have an opportunity to see traditional folk dancers and music throughout the afternoon. The festival culminates with the slaying of Jack, to release the spirit of summer for this year. So come down, be merry and enjoy the true British festivities!”

The Gathering usually begins at 9:30-9:45am and Jack is “released” from the Fisherman’s Museum in a wonderful, magical ceremony and is central to the festival and the parade. At the end of the day Jack is slain to release the spirit of summer. The festival takes place over the whole bank holiday weekend.

Hastings Jack-in-the-Green Festival

Deptford (Fowlers Troop) Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Fowlers Troop Jack was revived in the early 1980’s by members of the Blackheath Morris Men and friends. It is a revival of a Jack in the Green from about 1900 which was paraded by the original Fowlers Troop. In 1983 Mo Johnson made a Jack-in-the-Green in the back garden of the ‘Dog and Bell’ and Blackheath Morris (a side morphed from the Blackheath Foot’n’Death Men who used to dance at events featuring bands like Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies) revived the Deptford (Fowlers Troop) Jack. Mo was inspired by one of Thankful Sturdee’s photographs c.1900 of the original troop and Jack.

Fowler’s Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green

Bristol Jack in the Green – Monday 8th May – CONFIRMED

The Bristol Jack in the Green usually appears outside the M Shed in the historic harbourside at 10:30am and leads a magical procession through the streets of Bristol eventually ending the day on Horfield Common at approximately 4pm where he dies to release the spirit of summer. A Jack-in-the-Green was recorded in Bristol around 1865 by a lady who remembered seeing him with a sweep and a queen on the outskirts. The revived Bristol Jack in the Green is a descendant of the Hastings Jack.

Bristol Jack in the Green

Blue Bell Hill (Rochester Sweeps) Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Rochester Jack was revived in 1981 by Gordon Newton and Boughton Monchelsea Morris who were inspired from accounts by Charles Dickens. Custodianship of Jack was passed to Motley Morris in 1984 who now wake Jack with various other Morris sides at dawn on May Morning (approximately 5:32am) at the Bluebell Hill picnic area, surrounded by twelve bonfires. Jack is paraded through the streets of Rochester usually on the bank holiday Monday as part of the Sweeps Festival.

Motley Morris

Oxford Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

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. 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.

Oxford University Morris Men

Hammersmith Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May =- CONFIRMED

The Hammersmith Jack, is a wonderful energetic urban Jack, largely covered with artificial foliage, although it does have a crown of fresh flowers or foliage on May 1st. The leaves are made in a variety of materials, some created by children at local schools that the Jack has visited as part of its May Day perambulations over they years. As well as leaves made of paper, fabric and plastic, the Jack has other items attached that have some significance to either Hammersmith, the team, or the person who attached it. The Hammersmith Jack is paraded through Hammersmith accompanied by The World Famouse Hammersmith Morris Men on May 1st, regardless of which day of the week this falls, and wherever else the Jack visits on this day.

Hammersmith Morris

Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

Jack-in-the-Green is central to the Whitstable May Day celebrations. Up until 2019 the Jack was supported by Oyster Morris who also had their own Green Man who combined the roles of Jester and announcer dressed in white and green. Jack is accompanied by two attendants dressed as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The Jack-in-the-Green was revived for the Whitstable Folk Festival in 1976. Dixie Lee, one of the original organisers said in 1992 “ At the time it just seemed like the Jack was looking for a reason to come out again, and I must say that every year when Jack makes his appearance on the street I get such a feeling of power from him that I know it was the right thing to do”

Sadly in 2019 Oyster Morris hung up their bells and closed but Jack will continue to appear.

Whitstable Jack in the Green

Guildford Jack-in-the-Green – Saturday 29th April – CONFIRMED

Known as The Guildford Bush, this Jack was revived by the Pilgrim Morris Men in 1979 and is built from Laurel. For many years the Jack was carried by folklorist George Frampton. The Summerpole parade usually commences at 10:30 outside The Star on the High Street. The Jack processes with the Pilgrim Morris Men to Castle Green where the Maypole is erected and the dancing involving guest Morris sides begins.

Pilgrim Morrismen

Evercreech (Somerset) Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st MayCONFIRMED

Evercreech Jack in the Green is a community, folk revival, celebration. Jack is dressed by volunteers during the morning outside The Old Stores Studio in Evercreech, Somerset. Jack is then brought to life and is paraded along the main street accompanied by wonderful musicians and a Morris Team on the first Saturday of each May

Evercreech Jack-in-the-Green

Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Winchcombe (Gloucestershire) Jack was revived on August 31st 2009 as part of “Marking the Year.” A Jack was recorded as visiting a local school by Emma Dent of Sudeley Castle in the 1890’s. The Jack was then resurrected for May Day 2010 and a local May bank holiday village fete and is now awoken every year at dawn (5:20am) on May Day up on Cleeve Hill by Happenstance Border Morris. The Winchcombe Jack appears at various events over the following days.

Happenstance Morris

Bovey Tracey Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Bovey Tracey Jack-in-the-Green goes out with Grimspound Border Morris. He can often be seen greeting the Mayday dawn up on Haytor and then afterwards putting in an appearance in Bovey Tracey at the Green Man festival dependent on which day May 1st falls.

Grimspound Morris

Highworth Jack-in-the-Green – Saturday 4th May – CONFIRMED

Highworth in Wiltshire celebrated it’s 800th anniversary in 2006 with a Jack-in-the-Green and the Jack is now an annual tradition as part of the May Market. The Highworth Jack-in-the-Green parades each year through the streets of Highworth with the Bang to Rites Drummers.

Bang to Rites

Dead Horse Morris Jack-in-the-Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

Dead Horse Morris have a Jack-in-the-Green clad entirely in Ivy who takes part in the Dawn Rising celebrations on Beacon Hill, Whitstable at 5am on May 1st. The Dead Horse Morris Jack-in-the-Green also usually puts in an appearance at the Whitstable May Day Parade.

Dead Horse Morris

Islington Milk Maid’s Garlands – Monday May 1st – CONFIRMED

New Esperance Morris have paraded the Islington Milkmaid’s Garland through Islington every May Day since 1981 when it was first revived with the help of Dave Lobb’s research and inspiration. The Milkmaids Garlands date back to the 17th Century and were the precursor to The Traditional Jack in the Green. The Islington Milk Maid’s Garland is about five feet tall, and needs two people to carry it. New Esperance also take the Islington Milk Maid’s Garland to Hastings for the Traditional Jack in the Green Bank Holiday each year.

New Esperance Morris

Lantern Pike Jack in the Green – Monday May 1st – NOT GOING OUT THIS YEAR

A Jack in the Green danced at the top of Lantern Pike in the Royal Forest of the Peak in Derbyshire for the first time on May 1st 2022. They were also joined by a masked deer dancer to welcome back the wild – and to sing in the summer and by some of Shovel Dance Collective who led the singing and dancing – and were echoed by a pair of cuckoo’s.

They left Jack on the top of the Pike for a couple of days, to be found and inhabited, before he was dismantled and returned to the woods to be built afresh in 2023.

Shakespeare Morris – Stratford-upon-Avon Jack in the Green – Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

May Day 2022 in Stratford-upon-Avon saw the revival of a tradition last seen in Stratford in c.1870. Shakespeare Morris paraded around the town in the morning with their Jack in the Green.

Shakespeare Morris

Boss Morris Jack in the Green – Monday 1st May – Rodborough Common –  CONFIRMED

The Boss Morris Jacky in the Green usually greets the dawn each Mayday accompanied by Morris Dancers. Boss Morris Jack in the Green is actually a Jacky in the Green. She was created in April 2017 and first appeared on Painswick Beacon at dawn on May Dawn 2017 at an annual hop hosted by Gloucestershire Morris Men with Boss Morris, Stroud Ladies Morris & Miserden Morris attending. She is entirely formed from recycled materials. The Boss Morris Jacky is not slain at the end of the day but instead the Spirit of Summer in the form of petals can be seen emanating from her. Jacky lives at an eco-housing community while she is sleeping throughout the rest of the year.

Boss Morris
Boss Morris Facebook

Chagford (Devon) Jack in the Green – Saturday 30th April – CONFIRMED

The Chagford (Devon) Jack-in-the-Green appeared as part of a May Day revival in 2015 organised by Andy Letcher. It reappeared in 2022 and 2023.

Clun Green Man Festival – Sunday 31st April and Monday 1st May – CONFIRMED

The Clun Green Man Festival is a traditional springtime festival, held on the first May bank holiday weekend of the year. The Festival takes place in the picturesque town of Clun in South Shropshire. The programme is full of live music, drama, colour and medieval malarkey and is fun for all the family. On Monday the Green Man will meet the Ice Queen at the battle of the bridge – If the Green Man loses there will be no summer!

Clun Green Man Festival

Knutsford May Day and Jack-in-the-Green – Saturday 13th May – CONFIRMED

The Knutsford Jack in the Green is probably the oldest continual annual Jack in the Green. Apart from the war years it has paraded almost every year since 1889. May Day in Knutsford is celebrated over the May Bank holiday weekend. The person who plays Jack is chosen each year and is now played by a youngster rather than an adult as it used to be.

Knutsford Royal Mayday

Bradford on Avon Jack-in-the-Green – Saturday 13th May – CONFIRMED

The Green Man festival will go ahead again this year and Jack in the Green will tour the town on May 14th with his Ganderflankers musicians. He’ll be joined by a unique Jill in the Green, two beasts and local Morris sides.

Bradford on Avon Green Man Festival

Brentham May Day and Jack-in-the-Green – Saturday 20th May – CONFIRMED

Brentham has a big celebration every May which includes a Jack in the Green described as a walking talking bush who sometimes parades barefoot. Brentham’s May Day tradition became established in 1919 after the end of the First World War and expanded considerably for 1921 when the first Jack-in-the-Green appeared.

Brentham May Day

Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green – 29th April – 1st May – CONFIRMED

Hever Castle in Kent often have their own Jack-in-the-Green and Green Man over the early May Bank Holiday weekend as part of their May Day play on the castle forecourt.

Hever Castle

Castleton Garland Day – 29th May – CONFIRMED

Castleton Garland Day or Garland King Day is held annually in the town of Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District. The Garland King, on horseback, and covered to the waist in a heavy, bell-shaped floral garland, leads a procession through the town.

The date of the custom coincides with Oak Apple Day and it is said to commemorate the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Presumably the Garland is meant to represent the oak tree in which he hid after the Battle of Worcester. Some folklorists suspect that it is actually a much older custom that transferred from May Day as many May celebrations did after having been banned by the Puritans. The Garland King certainly resembles a kind of Jack in the Green.

Castleton Garland

Oak House Green Man Day – TBC

Oak House Museum in West Bromwich have their own Green Man as part of an annual spring event where they banish the winter and welcome spring.

Oak House

Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green – Sadly CANCELLED this year but hopefully back in 2024

Ilfracombe’s Jack-in-the-Green is a wonderful event. The Muster usually begins from 11am in Wilder Road Car Park they parade through the High Street, Fore Street & St James Place ending at the Clapping Circle above Wildersmouth Beach.
At the Clapping Circle there will be dancing around the May Pole. Children from the audience are invited to join in the dancing, then ‘Jack’ will be stripped of his leafy coverings to welcome the Spirit of Summer.
Everyone is welcome to join or watch the May Day parade – just turn up and if possible wear something green.

The Ilfracombe Jack did not appear in 2015 after the previous committee were unable to continue. Kelly Raveney stepped in to help and Ilfracombe’s May Day Celebrations returned in 2016

Ilfracombe Jack in the Green

Yaxley Jack-in-the-Green – 12th to 14th May – Sadly CANCELLED this year but hopefully back in 2024

The Yaxley Jack-in-the-Green first lead the traditional May parade on May 18th 2013 accompanied by Sap-Engro and Copperface as well as an attendant wearing the original Ancient Order of the Foresters sash, worn in the village’s parades in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and a host of boggarts – the mischievous imps of Fenland lore.

Yaxley Festival


Green Man Day – Pilton Festival (Barnstaple) – Sadly CANCELLED this year but hopefully will be back in 2024

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


The Burryman South Queensferry Scotland – 6th – 12th August CONFIRMED

The Burryman is the central figure in an annual ceremony or ritual, the Burryman’s Parade, that takes place on the second Friday of August. It is sometimes said that the custom was first recorded in 1687 but it is widely believed to be much older. A local man is covered from head to ankles in burrs of two species of burdock that grow locally. The stickiness of his burry covering means that he has to walk awkwardly, with legs apart and arms held out sideways, but he is nevertheless paraded around a seven-mile route through South Queensferry for nine hours or more. Only men born in the village can take on the role of the Burryman. Although local residents must apply annually to the local council for the honour. He supports his aching arms on waist-high poles decorated with flowers. Two attendants (dressed in normal clothing guide him through the town and help him through his ordeal. They visit the town’s pubs, some factories, and the provost’s house, at each of which the Burryman is given a drink of whisky, but because of his sticky facial covering he can only drink through a straw. He is not allowed to speak. By the end of the day he is exhausted.

The Burryman


Carshalton Straw Jack – TBC

A Celebration of Harvest this wonderful event 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. (if you are an organiser or participant at this event please do get in touch with me)

Carshalton Straw Jack


October Plenty – TBC

The Lions part celebrate Autumn with October Plenty on the streets of Lambeth. They process with the Corn Queene the Berry Man (The Autumn incarnation of the original Green Man)

October Plenty


Twelfth Night Celebrations – TBC

Twelfth Night is an annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London. It is a celebration of the New Year, mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity. It is free, accessible to all and happens whatever the weather. The extraordinary Holly Man, the Winter guise of the Green Man appears from the River Thames brought by a Thames Cutter, Followed by wassailing a mummers play and other festivities.

Twelfth Night Celebrations

Whittlesea Straw Bear – TBC

The festival of the Straw Bear or “Strawbower” is an old custom known only from a small area of Fenland on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire. On Plough Tuesday, the day after the first Monday after Twelfth Night, a man or a boy would be covered from head to foot in straw and led from house to house where he would dance in exchange for gifts of money, food or beer. The festival was of a stature that farmers would often reserve their best straw for the making of the bear. The custom died out in about 1909, probably because the local police regarded it as begging, but it was resurrected by the Whittlesea Society in 1980.

The festival has now expanded to cover the whole weekend when the Bear appears (not Plough Tuesday nowadays, but the second weekend in January instead). On the Saturday of the festival, the Bear processes around the streets with its attendant “keeper” and musicians, followed by numerous traditional dance sides (mostly visitors), including morris men and women, molly dancers, rapper and longsword dancers, clog dancers and others, who perform at various points along the route. The Bear is usually accompanied by a regular Morris Green Man. The bear “costume” is burned at a ceremony on Sunday lunchtime.

Whittlesea Straw Bear

Durham Plough Sunday TBC

Traditionally held on the Sunday after Epiphany, the Sunday between 7 January and 13 January. Recently revived in Durham, the plough is taken from Durham Market Place to the Palace Green to be received by the Dean of Durham Cathedral where they welcome in the traditional start of the agricultural year with Morris and Sword Dancing, Music and Ceremony! A Green Man and Lady were see as part of the procession in 2019

The Company of the Green Man cannot be held responsible for any mistakes regarding the dates, times, locations or any cancellations of any of the above events. Please note that The Company of the Green man does not organise any of the above events. If you have any queries please contact the event organisers or go to their own websites.

2 responses

  1. Percy Stevenson

    Any events happening near to the Charnwood forest in Leicestershire?

    Apr 24, 2023 at 11:13 am

  2. Hi Percy, sadly nothing that I’m aware of

    Apr 30, 2023 at 4:48 pm

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