It’s been a great year for sightings of The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green across the UK. My thanks to everyone who has confirmed sightings and sent in some fantastic photographs. I’ll be posting plenty more pictures of this years Jacks in the weeks to come both here and on our Flickr Archive. The picture above of the Fowlers Troop/Deptford Jack in the Green was taken by Ross Parish and the picture below of the spectacular Hastings Jack in the Green was taken by Rose Blakeley.
I have now had confirmed sightings of the following 21 Jacks for 2016:
- Bluebell Hill/Rochester Sweeps Jack-in-the-Green
- Dead Horse Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Hammersmith Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Highworth Jack-in-the-Green
- Oxford Jack-in-the-Green
- Deptford/Fowlers Troop Jack-in-the-Green
- Cheltenham Sweeps Jack-in-the-Green
- Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green
- Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green
- Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green
- Bristol Jack-in-the-Green
- Knutsford Jack-in-the-Green
- Guildford Jack-in-the-Green
- Bovey Tracey/Grimspound Morris Jack-in-the-Green
- Horsley Primary School (Stroud) Jack-in-the-Green
- Hever Castle Jack-in-the-Green
- Kentwell Hall Jack O’Green
- Wythenshawe Hall Jack ‘O’ Green
- Yaxley Jack-in-the-Green
- Brentham May Day Jack-in-the-Green
You can find more detail about each Jack HERE
Whilst this blog remains our main method of communication Twitter has been a great source of information, photographs and videos of this years Jacks. I’ve been favouriting and retweeting over the past week from our Twitter account which you can find HERE
I would love to be able to gather photographs of all of this years Jacks for our free online Flickr archive. Please send any pictures via the ‘Contact Us’ tab at the top of the blog page. All pictures are always copyrighted to the original photographer.
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
There is also a possibility that a Jack will take part in the Pagan Pride Parade in central Nottingham on Sunday 7th August Pagan Pride Parade
Whilst Flicking through Spark Magazine I came across this wonderful image created by the Bristol Based visual artist Tim Floyd for part of the Easton Arts Trail in 2011.
Commenting on this piece in his blog Tim wrote:
“On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Co-operation road in Greenbank and spray-painted an image of a Green Man on one of the bricked up doorways of the old Elizabeth Shaw chocolate factory. The foliage and berries of a Hawthorn tree are forming, and being disgorged by the character. I got my inspiration for this piece from images of traditional Green Man stone carvings and from a row of mature Hawthorne trees that form a border between the chocolate factory and the Bristol to Bath cycle path.”
Tim commented to me:
“I’ve done a number of pieces which have been influenced by green man imagery. I work both in two and three dimensions creating pieces which respond to the cycles of nature, to the processes of decay and regeneration and to the relationships between human beings and the natural world –the image of the green man ties in perfectly with these themes.”
To see more of Tim’s fantastic work visit his website at: www.timfloyd.co.uk
I would like to wish all our members a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.
This wonderful picture was taken by Jennie Miller & Gary Truss and is from St Mary’s in Stafford
The medieval churches of Essex house one of history’s best kept secrets. They are frequently inhabited by a mysterious carving of an ancient male head, with foliage, usually oak leaves emerging from its mouth, ears, nose or eyes. He is surprisingly common in Essex, has many guises and is concealed in nooks, roofs, sometimes barely discernible on fonts, but may also be found lurking on roofs, walls, and hidden niches of churches.
I have one copy of the book hot off the press free to a good home all you have to do is e-mail me at email@example.com and on 21st December I will pull the name of the lucky winner out of the top hat. And the catch! well it’s only open to current members of The Company of the Green Man (except me and the author..sorry Susan!) and whoever wins it must be willing to write a review of the book and get it to me in time for our May/June e-newsletter.
If you want to buy your own copy in time for Christmas it’s available via Amazon.co.uk from our book shop for £7.99 just click on THIS LINK to visit the bookshop.
Suzie Doncaster has added this wonderful early green man to our current entry in the gazetteer for St Peter’s Church in Marefair Northampton. The finely carved Anglo Saxon grave slab dates to the 10-11th Century and shows beasts and birds entwined in some incredible foliage all sprouting from the mouth of a Green Man. It is thought that the grave slab would have been in an earlier church that stood on the same site. The stone was found in a nearby ditch and was used as a door lintel and a mantel piece before finding its way back to the church.
The slab has been attributed to St Ragener an Anglo Saxon prince who was slain by the Vikings in 870. His grave had been forgotten until the mid 11th Century when visions of an elderley man drew a priest of Edward the Confessor to the burial site. Many miracles were said to have taken place at the church and the king had a shrine erected there decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. Sadly nothing of the great shrine remains.
Although the grave slab has been cut down by 3cm on one side the carving is remarkably intact and it is one of the erarliest carved stones in Northampton. St Peters Church is now a redundant Anglican Church and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, it is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is considered to be the most outstanding Norman church in the county.
As May draws closer a quick reminder that the list of events that feature the Jack-in-the-Green and the Green Man during May is growing every year. The list below is our current list for May but we are always extremely grateful to hear of any others that we may have missed including those outside of the UK. Details will always be as up to date as possible on the annual events pages of the website at http://www.thecompanyofthegreenman.co.uk
This blog has a worldwide readership so don’t hesitate to drop us a line. I’ve included links to as many of the below as possible as some have not fixed their dates as yet. If you would like to add details of an event here please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please go out and support your nearest Jack and join in the wonderful and magical event, then send us in your pictures and experiences of the event.
Bristol Jack in the Green Saturday 7th May
The Bristol Jack in the Green appears on the first Saturday in May starting from the historic Harbourside (outside the Arnolfini) and leads a magical procession through the streets of Bristol eventually ending the day on Horfield Common where he dies to release the spirit of summer.
Bristol Jack in the Green
Rochester Sweeps Festival and Jack-in-the-Green 30th April – 2nd May
The Rochester Sweeps festival still has a Jack in the Green Ceremony where the Jack is awoken on Blue Bell Hill on May Morning and is paraded through the streets during the three day festival attended by hundreds of Morris Teams
Rochester Sweeps Festival
Hasting Jack-in-the-Green Festival Monday 29th April – 2nd May
The Hastings Jack-in-the-Green festival was revived by Keith Leech in 1983 and is now one of the biggest annual gatherings of Morris Dancers in the country. The Jack is “released” every year and is central to the festival.
Hastings Jack-in-the-Green Festival
Deptford Jack-in-the-Green Sunday 1st May
The Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green goes out on the streets of South East London or the City of London every May Day
Deptford Jack in the Green
Brentham May Day and Jack-in-the-Green Saturday 14th May
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 Jack in the Green
Knutsford May Day and Jack-in-the-Green
The Knutsford Jack in the Green is probably the oldest continual annual Jack in the Green. Apart from the war years it has paraded every year since 1890. May Day in Knutsford is celebrated over the May Bank holiday weekend..
Knutsford Jack in the Green
City of London Jack-in-the-Green
The City of London Jack-in-the-Green appears in the City on May Day (but only when May Day falls on a City working day, when it falls on a weekend he may sometimes be spotted elsewhere)
City of London Jack in the Green
Oxford Jack-in-the-Green Sunday 1st May
The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green appears 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.
Oxford Jack in the Green
Whitstable Jack-in-the-Green Monday 2nd May
Jack-in-the-Green was revived for the Whitstable Folk Festival in 1976 and is now central to the Whitstable May Day celebrations. The Jack is supported by Oyster Morris who also have their own Green Man who combines the roles of Jester and announcer dressed in white and green.
Whitstable Jack in the Green
Ilfracombe Jack-in-the-Green 2nd – 3rd May 2011
Ilfracombes Jack-in-the-Green Parades on the first May bank holiday. A procession starts at approximately 11am winds its way through the High Street, along the sea front towards the harbour area. The Ilfracombe Jack finishes with the release of the spirit of summer and the distribution of leaves on Ilfracombe Pier.
Ilfracombe Jack in the Green
Highworth (Wiltshire) has a Jack in the Green that parades through the town in early May each year as part of their Medieval Market.
Beltane Bash Monday
Originally scheduled for Monday 30th May, but sadly due to the passing of one of the organisers it may not go ahead this year. Please check the website for the latest information.
The parade normally starts from the Conway Hall Red Lion Square London WC1 at 10:30 Led by traditional giants, the Jack-in-the-Green, Thor & Holda, Herne and Andred, Naughty Fairies and The Bogies.
Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival
Edinburgh’s Beltane festival traditionally takes place on the 30th of April every year on Calton Hill. The Green Man begins in a dormant and inactive state in the form of the old Horned God, until he ‘dies’ when he touches the May Queen. Her Handmaidens tear his garments from him and he is ‘reborn’ as the young Green Man with a wild exhilarating dance that celebrates his youth and the new summer.
Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival
Clun Green Man Festival
The Clun Green Man Festival is a springtime festival, held over three days usually on the first May Bank Holiday of the year. The Festival takes place in the picturesque town of Clun in South Shropshire and features a modern interpretation of the Green Man
Clun Green Man Festival
Green Man Coming!
On March 21st the spring equinox, Exeter will be visited by an old Devon character in contemporary form. From dawn onwards the Green Man will be walking into Exeter centre from his home somewhere in the rolling hills surrounding the city. Members of the public can run into him any time between dawn and noon when he will disappear without trace until next year. Anyone can approach him along his journey – he is courteous, photogenic and has a propensity for hugs said to banish the winter blues and promote change generally. On his way into town, he will leave behind blessings for new life and messages for members of the public to find and keep in the form of original artworks by an Exeter based artist.
Green Man Spotting!
The Green Man’s journey will be followed closely by DJ Sketch and Dr Site during a radio special on Exeter’s favourite community station phonic.fm. Studio guests will provide expert knowledge and discussion about the Green Man’s history and appearances across the centuries. Listeners can also join in the chase by phoning or emailing the station to report sightings of the Green Man throughout the morning. This year Exeter Phoenix have offered free tickets for the best Green Man photograph which will also be exhibited at the arts centre. There will also be prizes offered in exchange for some of the Green Man’s special blessings. Find out more on the phonic.fm website.
DJ Sketch said “ Last year’s visit from The Green Man was really amazing, With the help of the listeners on my Sunday Morning Scribble Radio Show we were able to follow The Green Man’s journey into Exeter City centre. This year will be bigger and better, we want to, with once again the help of the people of Exeter, welcome this very special guest who takes us out of winter and into spring.”
Exeter Artist Volkhardt Müller said “I was honoured to be approached by the Green Man to help him with his work. We have similar figures and traditions in South West Germany where I come from, so I found it easy to connect with this ancient Exeter resident.”
Join in the hunt for the Green Man on March 21st between 5.30am and midday by tuning into phonic.fm 106.8fm in Exeter or via worldwide live streaming on www.phonic.fm.
Report your sightings to the phonic.fm studio on 01392 434577 or email email@example.com. Lines will be open between 5.30 am and 12pm.
To submit your Green Man photo and for more information visit www.vibraphonic2011.co.uk/
This year’s Green Man Coming is being hosted by the Vibraphonic Festival and phonic.fm. The Green Man’s mission is being supported by Exeter Arts Council.
COTGM member Andy Paciorek’s book ‘Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld’ is now available via mail-order. Members might recall Andy’s fabulous illustration of The Apple Tree Man which you can find in this blog under “Wassailing the Apple Trees” It also includes his fantastic Green Man pictured above.
Strange Lands is the fruit of Andrew L. Paciorek’s voyage into the Celtic Otherworld in search of Faeries, Goblins, Monsters, Angels, Demons and much more besides.
Within the 400 pages of the book are descriptions and tales of a multitude of bizarre beasts and weird entities, accompanied by over 170 original pen and ink depictions.
The following is taken from the foreword by Dr Karl Shuker:
Strange Lands is a deeply researched and richly illustrated information guide to the entities and beasts of Celtic myth & legend and to the many strange beings that have entered the lore of the land through the influence of other cultures and technological evolution.
At nearly 400 pages and featuring over 170 original illustrations, Strange Lands is an essential accompaniment for both the novice and seasoned walkers between worlds.
“Right from a child, I have always been fascinated by mythology and folklore, especially the rich corpus originating in the British Isles, and I have read very extensively on the subject. However, I can say in all honesty that Strange Lands is one of the most comprehensive single volumes on British mythological entities that I have ever encountered. Even Dr Katharine M. Briggs’s essential tome, A Dictionary of Fairies, universally acclaimed as the standard work on such beings, now has a rival in terms of the sheer diversity of examples documented.
And where Strange Lands effortlessly outpoints even that classic work is of course in its illustrations, which are truly breathtaking in their beauty, intricacy, and vibrancy”
Andy Paciorek is a graphic artist, drawn mainly to the worlds of myth, folklore, symbolism, decadence, curiosa, anomaly, dark romanticism and otherworldly experience. He is fascinated both by the beautiful and the grotesque and the twilight threshold consciousness where these boundaries blur. The mist-gates, edges and liminal zones where nature borders supernature and daydreams and nightmares cross paths are of great inspiration.
Fellow members will know that as the current caretaker of the Company of the Green Man I try to be impartial when it comes to discussions and issues. But on this occasion I think we all need to stand together to help protect our ancient woodland. I urge you to read on and then sign the petition to support the Woodland Trust in their campaign.
On the 27th January 2011 the Government started a consultation over the future of the forests in England owned by the Forestry Commission, including plans to sell many of them. The Woodland Trust have responded by launching their biggest ever campaign: Save England’s Ancient Forests.
Please support the woodland trust by signing their petition which can be found at:
Ancient woods must be treated as a special case
Ancient woods are the UK’s equivalent of the rainforest: unique, irreplaceable and our richest wildlife habitat. The proposals do not treat all ancient woods as a special case: only some are included in the proposed category of heritage woods.
Stronger protection is needed for ancient woods
In the last decade the Woodland Trust have fought to protect 850 cases of ancient woods threatened by development. This shows that much stronger protection is needed for these precious places before any sales can be considered.
Planted ancient woods must be restored
The Forestry Commission owns over 20,000 hectares of ancient woods that have been damaged by the planting of conifers. Their restoration to broadleaved woodland would be one of the most significant contributions to wildlife conservation in a generation. The Woodland Trust have lobbied passionately for their cause in the media. They have also persuaded government to halt their current back door sales until the consultation is complete. Replanting conifers will smother the life out of these fragile habitats so we need government to guarantee their urgent restoration.
Public access must be maintained
The passionate outcry about the future of public forests underlines how important access to woods and their beautiful surroundings is to millions of people each year. The Government’s proposals to include agreements to maintain existing levels of access to bind future owners are crucial to maintaining this public benefit and we must hold them to account on this.
Transfers to charities must be properly funded
The proposals suggest that some woods could be transferred to charities such as the Woodland Trust. They would welcome the chance to work with government to safeguard the future of planted ancient woods in particular, perhaps through management agreements, but they need substantial and sustained funding from government before they could take over its responsibilities. They are concerned that such funding may be limited in the current economic climate. Stronger protection is therefore also essential.
The Woodland Trust’s Save England’s ancient forests campaign calls for:
- Ancient woods to be treated as a special case in the Forestry Commission’s sell-off plans.
- Restoration of all the Forestry Commission’s damaged ancient woods (defaced by conifers) to their rightful place as jewels in the crown of our native woodland heritage.
- Closure of loopholes in protection for all ancient woods, to guarantee their public access and wildlife value, no matter who owns them.
Please speak up for our much loved woods by signing The Woodland Trust’s petition to government now:
I would love to hear any comments that our members and any other visitors to this blog might have on this issue. Please either add your comment directly to the blog or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org