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Any info about the green man?

Related thread:
Folklore: The Green Man (104)


GUEST,Sam Pirt 09 Aug 08 - 07:09 AM
kendall 09 Aug 08 - 07:17 AM
kendall 09 Aug 08 - 07:20 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Aug 08 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Amber 09 Aug 08 - 07:38 AM
katlaughing 09 Aug 08 - 07:45 AM
theleveller 09 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM
Snuffy 09 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM
Willa 09 Aug 08 - 09:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 09 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM
kendall 09 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM
Mrs Scarecrow 09 Aug 08 - 10:20 AM
Andy Jackson 09 Aug 08 - 10:25 AM
Andy Jackson 09 Aug 08 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Aug 08 - 12:17 PM
Nerd 09 Aug 08 - 01:16 PM
Nerd 09 Aug 08 - 01:32 PM
katlaughing 09 Aug 08 - 03:10 PM
greg stephens 09 Aug 08 - 05:09 PM
My guru always said 09 Aug 08 - 05:17 PM
Liz the Squeak 09 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM
Jack Blandiver 09 Aug 08 - 06:22 PM
Nerd 09 Aug 08 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Sam Pirt 10 Aug 08 - 01:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Aug 08 - 01:23 PM
Ruth Archer 10 Aug 08 - 01:27 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Aug 08 - 01:56 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Aug 08 - 02:26 PM
Helen Jocys 10 Aug 08 - 03:28 PM
Ruth Archer 10 Aug 08 - 03:49 PM
Jack Blandiver 10 Aug 08 - 04:01 PM
Liz the Squeak 10 Aug 08 - 06:01 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 12:19 AM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 12:27 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Aug 08 - 02:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Aug 08 - 04:21 AM
Ruth Archer 11 Aug 08 - 04:46 AM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 01:36 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 03:37 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Aug 08 - 03:49 PM
Jack Blandiver 11 Aug 08 - 04:14 PM
Liz the Squeak 11 Aug 08 - 04:17 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 06:01 PM
Nerd 11 Aug 08 - 06:16 PM
Peg 11 Aug 08 - 09:49 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Aug 08 - 04:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM
Jack Blandiver 12 Aug 08 - 07:26 AM
Nerd 12 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM
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Les in Chorlton 12 Aug 08 - 12:00 PM
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akenaton 12 Aug 08 - 04:37 PM
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Les in Chorlton 15 Aug 08 - 02:32 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Aug 08 - 05:23 AM
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Jack Blandiver 15 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Aug 08 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Dwile Flonker 16 Aug 08 - 11:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Aug 08 - 12:12 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Aug 08 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Nerd 17 Aug 08 - 01:18 AM
Liz the Squeak 17 Aug 08 - 02:42 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Aug 08 - 05:02 AM
Nerd 17 Aug 08 - 11:01 PM
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GUEST,BigDaddy 18 Aug 08 - 05:59 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Aug 08 - 06:25 PM
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GUEST,Sam Pirt 02 Sep 08 - 12:03 PM
ericjs 16 Nov 08 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Nov 08 - 10:45 PM
Jack Blandiver 17 Nov 08 - 04:29 AM
Stu 17 Nov 08 - 05:03 AM
Paul Burke 17 Nov 08 - 05:06 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Nov 08 - 05:33 AM
Stu 17 Nov 08 - 06:58 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Nov 08 - 07:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Nov 08 - 08:02 AM
Stu 17 Nov 08 - 11:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Nov 08 - 11:55 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Nov 08 - 12:14 PM
Stu 17 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM
Paul Burke 17 Nov 08 - 12:57 PM
Nerd 18 Nov 08 - 11:37 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 Nov 08 - 11:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 Nov 08 - 12:19 PM
Nerd 18 Nov 08 - 03:58 PM
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Nerd 18 Nov 08 - 08:03 PM
Jack Blandiver 19 Nov 08 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,AR 19 Nov 08 - 06:04 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 08 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,stigweard-a-wanderin' 19 Nov 08 - 08:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Nov 08 - 08:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM
Stu 19 Nov 08 - 01:30 PM
Nerd 19 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM
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Jack Blandiver 20 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM
Nerd 20 Nov 08 - 10:46 PM
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Jack Blandiver 21 Nov 08 - 05:48 AM
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Nerd 21 Nov 08 - 02:12 PM
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Nerd 24 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM
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Subject: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:09 AM

Do you know any songs / tunes / traditions etc.. about the green man? Any traditions in the yorksshire area? or your area? Anny info would be greatfuly recived.

Hope you are all ahving a great festival season.

Cheers, Sam


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: kendall
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:17 AM

Far Away Tom by Dave Goulder


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: kendall
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:20 AM

The Corries did one that mentioned the Green Man but it wasn't really about him. It's Scottish and I don't know the name of it.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:32 AM

A knowledge search brings up a lot of threads on this subject, it's certainly a good starting point

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:38 AM

Cloudstreet did a very good one called The Green Man with a good chorus. You can get it if you type Cloudstreet song lyrics, or something similar, into Google

Amber


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:45 AM

Sam, have you seen this excellent little book: "The Hastings Jack in the Green" written by Keith Leech (ISBN 0 9514498 0 X)? Micca sent me over a copy. It is quite interesting and full of history as well as superb photos.

Nice to see you!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM

Mike Harding has done lots of research into the Green Man; have a look on his website. There are Green Man carvings right across Yorkshire, especially in York Minster - there's also one in Rudston Church where the famous Rudston Monolith stands.

Jack in the Green is, traditionally, not the same as the Green Man. It was a tradition started by chimney sweeps to earn money in the lean summer months. You can find info on both in the superb book, Enland In Particular, puiblished by Commn Ground.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM

The term "Green Man" was coined by Lady Raglan, in her article "The Green Man in Church Architecture" in The Folklore Journal.[3] The figure is also often referred to (perhaps erroneously) as Jack in the green.

Most medieval representations of him are in churches and other religious buildings.

So obviously an ancient, Celtic, pagan phenomenon then.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Willa
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 09:02 AM

Hi Sam. good to 'see' you!
These might be of interest http://www.ryedale.co.uk/ryedale/misc/ryedalehistory/greenman.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A353161


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

Clive Hicks did a book a few years ago about the resurgance of the Green Man, but the only songs I'm aware of are specifically about Jack in the Green/JITG Festivals (Rod Sherman, Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson et al).

If you PM Lady Penelope, she might be able to get you a copy of the book, her husband 'Parker' took the photos.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: kendall
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM

Folk Legacy records has the Green Man for a logo.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Mrs Scarecrow
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 10:20 AM

MGAS sins a wonderful green man song I'm not sure who it is by. Other lovely songs about the Green Man have been written by Jon Heslop and Steve Thomasson. I have also written one call Sing to Welcome back the Green Man


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 10:25 AM

And so does Forest Tracks
Actually designed for us by Dave Williams .

Andy


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 10:32 AM

Whoops I seem to jumped over Mrs Scarecrow!!
I was of course referring back one to the Logo.
I thinks MS is refering to the John Thompson/Cloudstreet song which I am sure MGAS sings.
I can recommend the others mentioned as well of course.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 12:17 PM

I'm not prepared to do a whole lot of reading on this matter. But from what I've seen, there is no real evidence that the green man was green.

For all we know, the leaves on the originals might have been the yellow-green of spring, the deep green of summer, the orange and gold of autumn or the sere brown of winter.

In fact, given the human penchant for playing with ideas, there could have been 'green men' with leaves in all four colors.

Seeing that - i.e., a human face with leaves from the four seasons around it - would lead me to conclude that the face represents our old friend the sun, who brings the seasons.

Why not?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 01:16 PM

Snuffy has it almost right...Lady Raglan first applied the term "Green Man" to "foliate head" carvings in church architecture. But she did not actually coin it, Wikipedia notwithstanding. She took the name from a common English name for a pub or inn.

As Raglan herself says,

"I should like to remind you that there is an extraordinary number of 'Green Man' inns all over the country. I have noticed them particularly in East Anglia."

What she was doing in her articles was to argue for historical continuity between "foliate head" carvings and more contemporary phenomena, in particular Jack-in-the-Green enactments at May time, and the common pub name The Green Man.

Many Green Man inns featured signs illustrating a character who looks more like Jack in the Green than like a foliate head.

theleveller may be right or wrong about the Green Man and Jack-in-the-Green being different, depending on whether we accept or reject Raglan's idea. If we reject it, then "foliate head" carvings and "Jack in the Green" enactments are indeed totally different phenomena...and neither one is the same as "The Green Man," which is a traditional name for inns and pubs, and a traditional green-clad character on inn signs. If we accept Raglan's idea, then they are all manifestations of the same tradition.

Interestingly, if we were to partially accept Raglan, it would be easier to accept that "The Green Man" (pub character) and "Jack in the Green" (chimney-sweeper's mayday enactment) were the same; they look very similar, and are also roughly contemporary. "Foliate Head" carvings are from a totally different time period, and look very different from the other two traditions. So I would argue that it's possible that Jack-in-the-Green IS the Green Man, but that the church carvings are something else again.

leeneia's idea is interesting, and applies well to some versions of the foliate head, but not very well to others. I think it was a symbol whose meaning changed over time, and also one that different carvers used to express different ideas.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 01:32 PM

Forgot to say: Deirdre Stuart of the group Shaman wrote a song about the Green Man, which has been recorded by Shaman and by the Maryland group Kiva.

The lyrics:

I was on a hill one day watching all the winter grey, there I met the strangest man,
He said "Call me a fool that's what I am;
But I've got magic I can bring the flowers back make the birds all sing;
I'll bring the light back to the land; I'm the Green Man. The Green Man."

I said, "where' ve you been my friend, the greyness never seems to end;
The winter's been so long and cold, I feel I'm getting ever old".
He said "I've been sleeping beneath the snow gaining strength while the winds did blow;
So I can bring light to your land I'm the Green Man. The Green Man".

Green Man bring the colors back to the land;
Green Man, You're the Green Man, The Green Man.

Can you see the Green Man, rising from his winter sleep?
I can see the Green Man awakening, awakening.

Just then he smiled and he turned around, wonders lay before me on the ground,
All the land had seemed to change, all the colors rearranged.
He said, "All this color doesn't mean a thing unless there's a winter before a spring;
Take a good look at your land------I'm the Green Man. The Green Man".

Green Man, bring the colors back to the land.
Green Man, You're the Green Man. The Green Man.
Green Man, bring the colors back to the land.
Green Man, You're the Green Man. The Green Man.
The Green Man.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 03:10 PM

What a great thread!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 05:09 PM

Obviously plenty of contemporary song-writers have tried to remedy the deficiency, but there are no folksongs in the British tradition that seem to shed any light on this subject, so far as anyone has been able to discover. It would be great if someone could could come up with anything, however tewnuous, to suggest otherwise. The poem Gawain and the Green Knight is obviously of relevance to any discussion of the subject.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: My guru always said
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 05:17 PM

The Green man song I generally sing is 'When the Green Man Walks the Forest' by Graeme Miles (Martyn Wyndham-Read has recorded it), but I also sing a harmony to John Thompson's 'Green Man' song. Maybe one day I'll get to sing Anne Reader's 'Sing to Welcome back the Green Man' too, it's wonderful, but Anne sings it so well!! They're all fabulous songs and of course whatever belief a person holds, Mother Nature has us all in her hands.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM

I've seen folk tales refer to any man who lived in the woods as a 'Green Man', particularly the 'bad man gets lost in the forest, has to wear leaves, turns into a good man with deeply moral story' variety.

Gawain fought a Green Knight who is always portrayed as being actually green, rather than foliate. This is probably where the confusion starts.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 06:22 PM

As has been discussed above, The Green Man has nothing to do the Foliate Head carvings as found in mediaeval churches, and Lady Raglan's somewhat Frazerian approach to the pagan origins of such folklore further compounds such associations, especially as a lot of pubs called The Green Man now sport stylised Foliate Heads on their signs.

The Green Man as we understand the concept today is essentially a modern construct (in academia no older than 1939, in popular culture circa 1970) based on the above confusions and consequent pagan propagandising.

For more see thread http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=104331


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 07:08 PM

Insane Beard,

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the foliate head carvings have "nothing to do" with the Green Man. An article you yourself pointed out in the other thread you link to above has found that such a connection is in fact very likely.

"The Green Man," it turns out, was well-known as a name for "whiffers" [men dressed in green attire carrying clubs, torches, and brooms, who cleared a space in the crowd for actors] at pageants in sixteenth-century England. These figures sometimes engaged in play combat, and are called by the article's author "combatant green men." The author further shows that this type of figure, and the name "green man," went on to become popular as business emblems for several kinds of businesses, including distilleries and inns. So the inn "Green Man" is related to the combatant green man.

Is the combatant green man connected to the foliate head? Turns out, yes. There is one "foliate head" carving from 1534 England that has such whiffers attached to the head, and one ca. 1450 engraving from Germany (where such pageant figures were also known as "green man") that has such a whiffer bearing a shield with a foliate head on it. I'll quote from the article for the next part:

"The connection is made yet again in the spandrel of a choir stall in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, where one William Lyngwode carved the image of a combatant Green Man in 1308. Here the "Green Man" of church architecture and the combatant are a single figure. Unlike the later representations, this one is dressed in conventional clothing and carries a sword and buckler.

It appears that Lady Raglan was right. The name of the foliate head - labelled the "Green Man" by Lady Raglan - was the Green Man."


I think this connection is rather tenuous for suggesting that the two figures were always and everywhere equated...but it does show that as early as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and possibly even the early 14th, SOME people thought of the whiffer figure and the foliate head as connected. Since the whiffer figure was in some times and places called "The Green Man," and since the Green Man as a pub sign did come from this figure, there was already a web of connections among all the meanings of Green Man, including the foliate head, in the late middle ages and Renaissance. The idea did not originate with Lady Raglan. She merely was the first to directly apply the name "Green Man" to the foliate head and have it recorded for posterity.

It is possible, of course, that many people in olden times did NOT perceive a connection among these figures, but this is the kind of thing that tends not to leave much evidence.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:20 PM

Excellent I knew you would come up with some answers.

If I am right in thinking then the 'green man' has existed for many years but only became known as the 'green man' upon Lady Raglan giving it this title.
What did this face represent before this time? was it the spirit of the forest?
What was the significance of the carving on the churches?

Nerd - the whiffers you refer to are these related to the wickerman or was that born out of a film and taken on to become a festival due to its cult popularity?

Does anybody know any sort verses about the green man? and what role it had?

Thanks a lot, it seems to have opened up more questions rather than answered them but thankyou all.

Cheers, Sam


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:23 PM

I know I am wasting my time here but all those amazing heads in churches have nothing really to do with what ever the Green Man is. That's it really


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:27 PM

Les:

Indeedio. It's a topic which has been covered pretty comprehensively here.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:56 PM

Hi, Sam! Good to see you here.
I know a song about the Green Man that my friend Kayti Gilbert wrote; I'd have to dig it out and send it to you somehow. My email addy is animaterra321(at)gmail.com if you want to remind me to get it for you!

Allison

PS- I can't wait to tell you all about my new PA!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:26 PM

True enough Ruth, the heads and other things in churches are truly amazing - Sean /Insane Beard has lots of photos of them on his MySpace well worth a look.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Helen Jocys
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 03:28 PM

I've just written a poem about him.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 03:49 PM

who - Sam Pirt?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 04:01 PM

Is the combatant green man connected to the foliate head? Turns out, yes. There is one "foliate head" carving from 1534 England that has such whiffers attached to the head

A consideration of the Crowcombe bench end carvings in their historical context reveals a rather startling syncronicity completely overlooked by the author of the article, and one which certainly overshadows the somewhat tenuous notions expressed therein. 1534 - there's the key!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 06:01 PM

The wicker man was mentioned by Claudius (or was it another Caesar?) when the Romans invaded Britain in the early first century (possibly AD43?). It has nothing to do with green men unless there is a link in fertility festivals and rites. Even that is dubious and probably modern in origin (where modern is 20th Century).

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:19 AM

Les and Ruth...You are only wasting your time if you assume everyone will agree with you merely because you say it. The latest research at least suggests there may be a connection. It was InsaneBeard, not me, who linked to the article in question, which was published in the oldest and most prestigious folklore journal in the world.

InsaneBeard: I presume you're speaking of Henry VIII's ecclesiastical reforms, certainly the biggest change to hit England in 1534. Why would these naturally lead to foliate heads connected to combatants? (BTW, you can see the bench-end here)

Do you care to elaborate? And what of the other two connections between foliate heads and combatant green men before Lady Raglan?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:27 AM

Liz...it was Julius Caesar who mentioned the "effigies of twigs" with living men inside, which led to the idea of a "wicker man." Caesar was governor of Gaul from 58-50 BC, but he never claims to have witnessed such a wicker man himself....


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 02:47 AM

Well it's mentioned in the writings of one of his Generals then... I recall a definate mention of wicker men burning on the cliffs. I'll try and dig out the reference but I don't want to go off at a tangent here. The Wicker Man (either in fact or film) has nothing to do with the foliate head or 'green man' that we're discussing here, except perhaps, as part of a fertility ritual. I would put forward the supposition that they became the more acceptable face of fertility, rather than toasting the local farm animals and the odd roving constable.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:21 AM

If you have decided that their must be a connection between what ever you think the 'Green Man' is and foliate heads in churches then eventually you may find some evidence.

But a scholarly search of a wide range of evidence seems to show the two to be different phenomena and I think that's what previous threads have concluded.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:46 AM

Indeed. I don't think anything is the case just because I say it, but this is a subject which has been discussed in detail in the past by people who have done a fair old bit of scholarly research, and it seems a bit silly to have to go over the arguments again (although that is a favourite Mudcat sport).


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:36 PM

Les and Ruth, my point is that the last person who actually did any research that was peer reviewed for a scholarly journal, came to the conclusion that there IS a connection. And this was in a scholarly environment that was hostile to the idea. I think it should be taken fairly seriously.

The folks who post on Mudcat take a wide range of approaches, from popular to scholarly, and having previous threads come to a particular conclusion is no guarantee that that conclusion is right. Mudcat is basically like Wikipedia: anyone can have a say, and the more popular idea can often win out even if it's not supported by the evidence. There's a place for that, but I will usually take a peer-reviewed journal article more seriously than a Mudcat thread.

One thing that tends to happen is that people make up their minds about something at a certain point, and if further scholarly research comes out, they more or less ignore it. I think that's been the case with this article. Furthermore, in the best of instances, most scholarly articles take decades before becoming part of popular awareness. The article we're discussing is only about 10 years old, and therefore most people are working in the previous scholarly atmosphere, which was very hostile to Lady Raglan.

Case in point: early on in this thread, we had the idea expressed that Lady Raglan had "coined" the term Green Man, which you will find stated with much authority on Wikipedia as well. As I pointed out, it is not true. In 1578, a stage direction in a play calls for "Two men, apparrelled lyke greene men at the Mayors feast, with clubbes of fyre worke." The term thus goes back hundreds of years before Lady Raglan's birth, in English and other Germanic languages, and refers to a traditional character in pageantry and drama (the Mayor's Feast included a pageant). In 1578, the term was considered well enough known that all one had to do was direct that actors be "dressed like Green Men," and the company would know what to do.

The next question is when the term became associated with foliate heads, and the answer is "we don't know." Sadly, people in previous centuries just didn't mention foliate heads much in English, so we don't have any English name for them that is particularly old. The term "foliate head" is a translation of the French term "tete feuille," not a native name for this phenomenon. (Don't know how to make accents on Mudcat, sorry!)

However, we do know there is an association between the character that was called "Green Man" and foliate heads. The connection is not necessarily one of origin; all we can prove for sure is an association in the minds of some people. Nevertheless, this association is far older than the historians who wish to discredit Lady Raglan give it credit for--14th Century perhaps, 15th with more certainty, 16th without doubt.

So, for hundreds of years, the term "Green Man" has been connected to combatant figures with clubs. For hundreds of years, combatant figures with clubs have been connected to foliate heads. I haven't "decided" there is such a connection, it's been shown by the evidence.

Because of all this, I think Les's "nothing really to do with it" and Ruth's "indeedio" show a breezy lack of concern for the evidence that's been presented--it's just a knee-jerk response, "we've talked about this before." Perhaps, but the last time we talked about it, the discussion ENDED with Insane Beard bringing up this article, and no one seems to have read or addressed it in the further discussion, except me and Insane Beard. I await his response to my last, which I suspect will be interesting and well-informed!

Liz: I believe it was only Caesar who attested to the "wicker man," and that no one in antiquity ever said they saw it firsthand. I'd be happy to have my memory proven faulty, if you can find the reference you remember. You are correct that the putative "wicker man" has nothing to do with "Green Man" figures. It was not green, for one thing, and there is a very good reason it would be made out of twigs that is more practical than symbolic: it had to catch fire.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM

Those combatant figures on the bench ends look nothing like Greenmen, isn't that a bit of a problem?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 03:37 PM

Actually, they look exactly like green men. Their lower halves, in fact, appear to be enshrouded in leaves, so that they emerge from horns filled with foliage. Their upper halves look like hairy men with beards, carrying a club in one hand and a shield in the other. This is what combatant Green Men look like when carved out of wood and left unpainted.

For comparison, see the finial here , from just the same period. The legs emerge from greenery, and the figure looks like a hairy man with a club and shield. The green enamel has places where his elbow and knee show through the greenery, making clear that he is attired in green moss or leaves. Although the Cloisters has chosen to identify this as a "Wild Man" rather than a "Green Man," there was of course no such name on the object itself. It looks precisely like the pageant figure known as a "Green Man" in England.

Now imagine what it would look like if it weren't painted green, and you get more or less our bench-end figures. In fact, the bench-end figures have greener attributes than the very green finial figure, to make up for the lack of paint: eg, leaves grow up from their lower midriffs and down from their heads, meeting in the middle, Their shields resemble flowers, etc.

(Hmmm, don't they look like medieval folkies, though?)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 03:49 PM

They look like people but they don't look much like Green Men of the 18 /19C that appear as sweeps or whatever


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:14 PM

I'm on a sort of holiday right now (Rachel & I celebrating our 5th Wedding Anniversary!!), so I'll get back regarding the Crowcombe bench ends in a day or two. Meanwhile, here's a one to ponder:

A Foliate Moor (?), Chester Cathedral (I call this the Foliate Osama! Even had him featured in The Fortean Times...)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:17 PM

Nerd - the author was Seutonius Paulinus as far as I can find... AD43 invasion.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM

For hundreds of years, combatant figures with clubs have been connected to foliate heads.

I'm all in favour of taking new research seriously, but I missed the part where 'two bench ends' turned into 'hundreds of years'.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 06:01 PM

Liz, the accounts featuring Suetonius Paulinus are from Tacitus's Annals. They are not first-hand, but second and third-hand: Tacitus had them from his father-in-law Agricola, who fought with Suetonius and was present at some but not all of the events.

I am not familiar with any passage from the Annals that features wicker men. You're probably thinking of the famous passage about Suetonius's invasion of Anglesey, in which the Britons used fires, torches, and spooky tactics, but no wicker men.

Tacitus does say that Suetonius's men found altars "slaked with human entrails," though!

Suetonius also put down Boudicca's revolt. He does say of the Britons: "it was not on making prisoners and selling them, or on any of the barter of war, that the enemy was bent, but on slaughter, on the gibbet, the fire and the cross." Again, no wicker men are mentioned in that part of the Annals (Book XIV).


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 06:16 PM

Pip Radish, you missed my post of "09 Aug 08 - 07:08 PM." In it, I pointed out three points of connection, not one.

1) 1308, Winchester Catherdal: a figure who has both a foliate head and a sword and shield, and is thus both a foliate head and a combatant green man, is carved on a choir stall. See this not so good picture.

2) ca. 1450: a combatant green man on a German engraving carries a shield in the shape of a foliate head. I have seen this image but can't provide it (it's in the original journal article, but not the freely available online version).

3) 1534: Bench-end (link is above).

That gives you a two-hundred-twenty-odd year span.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Peg
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:49 PM

XTC also does a song about the Green Man. There are a surprising number of songs about it/him. I wrote a song called "Man in Green."

I've seen the green man carvings in Norwich's cathedrals; beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:11 AM

There is definately a phrase that mentions 'giants of wicker' but I'm damned if I can find it right now... I may have to open a few boxfiles here and find the hard copy.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM

Nerd,

we have, I guess, thousands of churches with a vast collection of foliate heads and indescribable amounts of other features. We have a small collection of 'Green Men' of relatively recent origin.

What connects them? One feature from the end of a pew, something in Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!! and another feature that looks almost nothing like a 'green Man. Is that it?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:26 AM

(Still on holiday, but briefly...)

It was Lady Raglan who first called the Ecclesiastical Foliate Heads after the Green Men / Man of folklore, pub names included - this amounts to a fairly significant coining, I'd say. Not only that, but it introduces a folklorist ideology into a non-folkloric setting. Further, the ideologies of folklorists are not folklore, but a secondary interpretative and entirely academic layer which itself gives rise to a tertiary quasi-religious (wiccan / pagan) layer, which is itself entirely bogus. It is the ideas of this tertiary layer that have coloured (green) our perceptions of The Green Man in every sense - linking the folklore, pub names & Ecclesiastical Foliate Heads to represent a single (and entirely modern) notion of Greenness=Goodness, even to the point where, with a few notable exceptions, Anglican churches & cathedrals heartily promote & encourage a pagan / folkloric / green-as-good interpretation of their Foliate Heads, rather than admit that they are part of the fabric of pre-Reformation Roman Catholic culture and theology (and post-Reformation too if their proliferation in the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich is anything to go by!).

With that idea of Greenness=Goodness in mind, have a look at the examples below:

Salle, Norfolk

Carlise Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

Norwich Anglican Cathedral

Chester Cathedral (Davros)

Maybe it's time we got rid of this daft notion of tree worship and fecundity. In the Ecclesiastical Foliate Heads we are not dealing with jolly Jacks-in-the-Green, rather images of a profound afflicting horror of nature at its most invasive & virulent. It is this, btw, that signifies the relationship the events of 1534 to the bench ends at Crowcombe which would certainly appear to be a bitterly Catholic reaction to the circumstances surrounding The Act of Supremacy, rather than some soppy depiction of carnival figures which makes no sense whatsoever in any sort of Ecclesiastical context. It's an interesting article though, which is why I drew attention to it; all articles & books on the so-called Green Man are interesting, often telling us more about the authors than they do about the subject in hand.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM

Les, you may confidently declare that the "small collection of green men" you speak of are of "relatively recent origin," but in fact you don't know when they originated, because nobody knows. What we do know is that they were well-enough known by 1578 that one could instruct a company of players simply to "dress like green men" and they would know what to do.

You may add a hundred exclamation points after "Germany," but in so doing you reveal only your own parochialism. Neither the foliate head nor the combatant green man are native English traditions; both seem to be pan-European. Therefore, evidence about the origin and development of both the foliate head and the combatant Green Man tradition, and of connections between those traditions, may be (indeed must be) legitimately looked for outside of England.

Finally, you may pooh-pooh all this evidence as completely inconsequential and unworthy of consideration. In so doing you claim that you know more than the editors of the journal Folklore, who thought the article revealed enough new evidence to be worthy of publication. I know the editors of Folklore, and have published a paper there myself. They and their reviewers are pretty tough.

Finally, I've read the paper, and I find the evidence interesting myself. I don't know if you've bothered to read it or not. If so, of course you may disagree. But I find the tone of "is that it?" rather combative, as though you have something invested in the belief that there is no connection between these traditions.

I will repeat my position from above, and you can see if you really find it all that objectionable:

I think this connection is rather tenuous for suggesting that the two figures were always and everywhere equated...but it does show that as early as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and possibly even the early 14th, SOME people thought of the whiffer figure and the foliate head as connected. Since the whiffer figure was in some times and places called "The Green Man," and since the Green Man as a pub sign did come from this figure, there was already a web of connections among all the meanings of Green Man, including the foliate head, in the late middle ages and Renaissance. The idea did not originate with Lady Raglan. She merely was the first to directly apply the name "Green Man" to the foliate head and have it recorded for posterity.

It is possible, of course, that many people in olden times did NOT perceive a connection among these figures, but this is the kind of thing that tends not to leave much evidence.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 11:11 AM

Insane Beard,

It was Lady Raglan who first called the Ecclesiastical Foliate Heads after the Green Men / Man of folklore, pub names included - this amounts to a fairly significant coining, I'd say.

Sorry, but this is not what "coining" means. To apply an existing word or phrase to a similar but different referent is not the same thing as coining the term. It may seem pedantic to point his out, but I think the difference is significant here because to say Raglan "coined the term" suggests that human figures covered in leaves had never been called "green man" before 1931, eliminating the possibility that the phrase was part of medieval or renaissance consciousness. In fact, we now know that the phrase was certainly part of renaissance consciousness, and quite likely part of medieval consciousness too, and that it referred to a human figure covered in leaves. This in turn suggests that all those thousands of people who saw what you call (but they did not call) "ecclesiastical foliate heads," might very well have said, "hmmm...that's kind of like a green man."

As for the rest, I appreciate what you're saying, and absolutely agree that "profound afflicting horror" is sometimes represented in foliate heads. But not always. Traditional symbols, especially ones that persist over time, are always polysemic. Artists are able to express many ideas using variations on traditional symbols.

It's sort of like asking what rabbits meant in the middle ages. Did they mean fertility? Yes. Rampant and perhaps sinful sexuality? Yes. Timidity and cowardice? Yes. Speed? Yes. Succulence and good eating? certainly.

Fecundity or fertility, I would say, is always part of the meaning of the foliate head. Sometimes, this fecundity is seen as sinful, evil, and a prelude to suffering. Certainly the sexual aspects of fecundity were strongly regulated by the church, so it makes sense that this attitude would be expressed there.

But it would be a mistake to assume that the Church was entirely against fecundity, and an even bigger mistake to assume that every stonecarver who ever carved a grotesque or a roof-boss was told by an ecclesiastical authority precisely what to carve and how.

Because churches did not always object to fecundity, and because carvers often put their own spin on things anyway, there are in fact foliate heads that look quite jolly. There are also ones that look threatening, ones that look fierce, and ones that look silly.

So, foliate heads. Fertility? Yes. Sin? Yes. Suffering? yes. Nature? Yes. Fearsome strength and power? Yes.

As to whether stonecarving in churches is folklore...nowadays it is certainly treated as such, and the film on cathedral stonecarvers that won the Oscar for documentary short in 1985 was directed by a folklorist. So whether this is a "non-folklore setting" is open to debate.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 12:00 PM

I have read these threads a number of ties and I think I have a reasonable grasp of the stone heads in churches - they are part of church stone work.

I have to say I have no real understanding of 'Green man'.Perhaps Nerd you could help with this point?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 02:16 PM

The Usenet group alt.folklore.urban used to maintain a voluminous FAQ documenting or debunking the various bits of quasi-folkloric trivia that came through the group. The FAQ was (probably still is) in the form of one-line assertions prefixed 'T' and 'F' (plus some elaborations like 'U' for 'unknown' and 'Tb'/'Fb' for stories *believed* to be true or false but not proven). This kind of thing:

F. The songs in _The Wicker Man_ are all Ancient Traditional Music.
T. Smoe of the music is.

It's quite a good device for sorting out your thoughts on a subject.

Splitting the difference between IB and Nerd, I suggest:

F. The title 'green man' is a modern invention.
T. Figures dressed in green and/or in leaves have been called 'green men' for a very long time.
F. All foliate heads are representations of 'the Green Man'.
T. Some 'green men' have been depicted in conjunction with foliate heads, suggesting an association between the two.
Tb. The idea of a (singular) Green Man is a modern invention.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 02:24 PM

Interesting Phil,

but those hards in churches and Jack in the Green are easy to identify, describe and so on. the Green Man does not seem to be. It seems to be a mobile feast

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:10 PM

Nerd, Les, Phil et al - lovely stuff - keep it coming...

Some 'green men' have been depicted in conjunction with foliate heads

Wild men I'd say...

Wild Man, Misericord, Ripon Cathedral

Disgorging Foliate Head (non-human? inverted!), Misericord, Ripon Cathedral


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:26 PM

Pip has it about right there.

I can try to clarify the Green Man a bit, but I recommend you either get a hard copy of the journal article:

The Name of the Green Man
Brandon S. Centerwall
Folklore, Vol. 108, (1997), pp. 25-33

Or, get yourself to a Library with a subscription to JSTOR and look up the article there. In either case, you'll get to see the pictures, which make it easier to visualize.

To a certain extent you're right that it's a moveable feast. The name "Green Man" has been applied to different figures over the years.

Here goes:

The term "Green Man" has been used since at least the middle 16th century to refer to a man, usually bearded, covered in leaves, and carrying weapons, who functions as part of ritual drama. The functions of the green man in this context seem to have been mock combat and the clearing of space (similar to the whiffer or whiffler and to the "roomer" of traditional mumming). There doesn't necessarily have to be a seasonal meaning, although many of the enactments at which green men performed were themselves annual events held at the same time each year, and it's relatively likely that they derive in some part from seasonal observances. Also, while we only have the name "Green Man" recorded from about 1578 in England, the figure of a hairy man covered in leaves was around long before that. We cannot confirm when he began to be called "green man."

A good visual representation of this kind of "Green Man" would be the so-called Wild Man Finial, which is one of a matched pair belonging to the Cloisters museum in New York.

In the early seventeenth century, we get the first appearance of the "green man and still," an emblem for various distilleries in England. Interestingly, most dictionaries of phrases get this entirely wrong, and claim that the "green man" of the "green man and still" is an herbalist or greengrocer, who provides the herbs made into liquors (such as the juniper for gin, etc.) This is clearly wrong if you look at the early emblem, and the early references to the emblem. The "Green Man" of the early emblem looks exactly like the green man of the pageants, or indeed the wild man finial I linked to above: a bearded man carrying a club and covered in leaves. I can't find a picture to link to but there is one in the article. An early reference to these Green Men in the distilling trade (1680?) says the following:

"They are called woudmen, or wildmen, thou' at thes day we in ye signe [trade] call them Green Men, couered with grene boues: and are used for singes by stiflers of strong watters ... and a fit emblem for those that use that intosticating licker which berefts them of their sennes"

(By the way, anyone who wants to argue that the connection between "The Wild Man," "The Wodewose" and "The Green Man" is a modern invention will be interested to see that it too goes back this far.)

Because the Green Man had become an emblem of liquor (in at least some people's minds because liquor made one wild), it also became associated with inns and pubs where one could drink liquor. Hence the "Green Man and Still" and finally "The Green Man" as traditional names for pubs and inns, still common in the 1930s when Raglan was writing. (The Green Man and Still was a well-known pub in Oxford Street, London, by the way.)

Once again, the direct connections that have been shown between "foliate heads" and "Combatant Green Men," (what I've been describing in this post), are threefold: the bench-end showing two combatant green men emerging from the ears of a foliate head (1534), an engraving showing a combatant green man whose shield is a foliate head (1450), and a combatant green man whose head is a foliate head (1308).

Does this help at all?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:37 PM

I have always assumed that the "green man" represented the force or spirit of nature. Perhaps the leaved figure is in fact a representation of that force?
I first encountered a reference in the song, "Gartan mothers lullaby"

Where the "green man's thorn" (gorse or whin), "is wreathed in rings of fog"
There are other references to various Pagan spirits in the song.

I live in an area where in the very early morning the misty wreaths do walk among the whins all of which are decorated by cobwebs glistening with condensation......Ake


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 05:28 PM

As Bill Clinton nearly said, it all depends what the meaning of 'the' is. There's 'the green man' as in 'the conventional figure of a wild man or man of the woods'. Then there's 'The Green Man', a singular personification of the natural world, who our forebears are thought to have actually believed in.

Am I right in thinking that whether the green man had any association with foliate heads is a separate question from whether The Green Man did?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 05:48 PM

Insane Beard:

Indeed, and as we've seen, by the 1600s "wild man" and "green man" were interchangeable terms, applied to the exact same figure. When this came to be the case we have no way of knowing. What the carver of what you call a "Wild Man" at Ripon called his creation, I suspect, is equally unknown, so we may choose to call it "wild man" or "green man." But the point is that the connection between this figure (called "Green Man" by the 1570s and maybe before) and foliate heads (whose medieval name, if any, we do not know) was made in the middle ages, not in the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 06:47 PM

But the point is that the connection between this figure (called "Green Man" by the 1570s and maybe before) and foliate heads (whose medieval name, if any, we do not know) was made in the middle ages, not in the 1930s.

I disagree. The Green Man / Wildman is a very different creature from the foliate head. Those few Foliate Heads shown with bodies, certainly aren't in any way wild or green. It is precisely the otherwise normal nature of the heads depicted as being foliate (both disgorging or otherwise) that makes them so compelling.

Norwich Cathedral, Cloister

Southwell Minster, Misericord


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:10 PM

The figure disgorging the greenery can be traced back to the Biblical story of Seth and the seeds - mentioned in the other Green Man thread that's knocking around here, so that at least is in place in a church (note - most of our cathedrals were built before 1534 so were all Catholic - til Henry VIII "invented" the Anglican church, so to call it 'Norwich Anglican Cathedral' when it was rebuilt between 1297 and 1430, is erroneous).

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:56 PM

Insane Beard,

I'm not sure we actually disagree. I did not say that they were the same figure, and I certainly never said they were always the same figure, so foliate heads with bodies that aren't covered in leaves don't contradict what I'm saying. Obviously, one of the remarkable things about the "green man/wild man" figure is that he almost never has a foliate head--so obviously, even if there is some overlap between the figures, the overlap was the exception and not the rule.

I have pretty consistently spoken about a "connection" between "two traditions." This does not contradict your statement that "The Green Man / Wildman is a very different creature from the foliate head."

What I have said is that the connection was made in the middle ages between two traditions, that of the foliate head, and that of the combatant, wild, leaf-clad figure. The latter figure was certainly known as "green man" by 1578, and probably considerably earlier. So, there has been a web of connections among all the contemporary items we call "green man" that stretches back into the past, probably about as far as the name "Green Man" itself. These connections did not originate in 1939, or with neo-pagans, although they were repopularized on those two occasions.

Again: the two traditions are associated from an early date, and probably share some of the same meanings, but are not the same thing.

To go back to the symbol of the rabbit, I can offer the following analogy: rabbits and deer. In medieval iconography, they are often shown together. They share some meanings (speed, quarry to be hunted, cowardice). They do not share other meanings (Harts are symbols of love and of the "heart of the matter" (heart/hart). Rabbits are symbols of female sexuality (coney). So, these are two symbols that are associated from an early date, for pretty common-sense reasons (both are tasty woodland creatures), but they are not the same.

I think there are good, common-sense reasons to associate the green man and the foliate head (both are made up of human body parts and leaves), and I see evidence that they were in fact associated in the middle ages. I don't think that means they are the same thing.

This is different from Lady Raglan's claim, which was that they ARE the same thing. And it's also different from Centerwell's, which is that they both were CALLED "green man" in the middle ages.

Raglan's claim was over-generalized, a trait she shared with her whole era of romantic scholarship.

Centerwell's strikes me as overly speculative. We don't know what the "foliate head" was called in English in the Middle ages, and it doesn't make much difference to me, either way.

But what both Raglan and Centerwell seem to have realized is that there was a longstanding connection between these two different figures.

Does this clarify my position at all?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 01:40 AM

So, do I have this right? 'The Green Man' and the foliate heads were around at the same time around 15 / 16 C. they are not the same thing but they do look alike.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:25 AM

OK, I have read:

The name of the Green Man
by Brandon S. Centerwall

and he seems to argue that their is enough evidence to connect the foliate heads with the Green Man of plays and pageants. I do not have the academic background to judge how sound this conclusion is.

Since their are so many foliate heads in churches it is tempting to conclude that some foliate heads are bound, by chance, to look like something or other.

If the foliate heads came out of the churches and into the plays what does it suggest? Anything or nothing?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:28 AM

Sory, I should have given my source:

The name of the Green Man
Folklore, Annual, 1997 by Brandon S. Centerwall


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:31 AM

Which comes from a link provided by Sean in the other thread:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_v108/ai_20438232?tag=artBody;col1


http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_v108/ai_20438232?tag=artBody;col1


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:34 AM

Green men, Jack-in-the-Green, Wildmen have a history which is summed up by Sir Gawain's adversary: a magical figure, cosmic joker, riddler. He has something in common with Mediterranean quizzical myths and, purely imho, representations of Jesus from the gospels.

I think foliate heads are a more immediate figure, possibly Liz's Seth and the Beans that have fallen from common knowledge, on the basis that diverse church builders are unlikely to popularise paganism (or whatever the contemporary equivalent was) and Devils are shown differently.
There is a tradition of metaphorical heads in the medieval period showing toothache, migraine, lust, plenty, etc., which have no bearing on Rome's teaching and may be have local significance but no dominant transferable motif other than the foliate heads.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 06:10 AM

so to call it 'Norwich Anglican Cathedral' when it was rebuilt between 1297 and 1430, is erroneous

LTS - I call it Norwich Anglican Cathedral to differentiate it from the Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral. My belief is that the Foliate Heads known as Green Men (or rather The Green Man!) are an integral aspect of the culture & theology of Pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism which, as you say, built the cathedrals in the first place. I am alarmed by the Anglican proclivity to promote the Foliate Heads as being pagan, though at Gloucester Cathedral there is a charming leaflet pointing out that this is most certainly not the case.

I visited the Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral (consecrated 1873!) for the first time back in June as was delighted to find a plethora of fine Foliate Heads throughout.

Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral, Column Base


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 06:27 AM

For a long time after the Reformation, Catholicism was labelled as pagan by Protestants and almost certainly still is in some quarters!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 06:54 AM

"To go back to the symbol of the rabbit, I can offer the following analogy: rabbits and deer. In medieval iconography, they are often shown together."

Rabbits were introduced along with a lot of other things, by the Romans, but they didn't roam wild about the country until much later than the mediaeval images mentioned. The 'rabbit and deer' image is more likely to be the hare and hart.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 07:20 AM

It seems a fair assumption that nobody would mess with the early church by putting pagan symbols in the walls.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 12:32 PM

My feelings entirely, Les - but the other problem comes in trying to establish any sort of clear pre-Christian precedent for who the pagans think their Green Man might be. There is a famous example in which an exquisite foliate head is daubed with the graffiti SYVANUS; many assume the carving & the graffiti to be contemporary, but the disparity of execution is quite remarkable, rather like the pre-historic cup-and-ring carvings in the Rothbury Hills upon which someone has inscribed the legend 'Rock Map'. The book worth looking at here is Marcia MacDermott's Explore Green Men (Heart of Albion), hardly the most promising of titles, and some of the other books in the Heart of Albion Explore series have been panned, but this one is perhaps the clearest work to date on the Green Man / Foliate Heads, especially given the plethora of bogus pagan / folkloric studies currently on the market. A recent book, self-published, attempts to prove that all Foliate Heads derive from The Legend of the Rood, discussed here and on the other thread. This is interesting, but in terms of iconographic consistency it falls at the first fence given the sheer diversity of physiognomy on offer even in the most naturalistic of carvings, as well as the paucity of triple disgorgers, but as pet-theories go it's interesting, and the only one so-far that attempts to account for The Green Man (so-called) in a Christian context.

I might add that only culturally I am a Christian, but only in the sense of Christ being the first Communist, as I was brought up to believe. To me, the Foliate Heads are a manifestation of the socio-psycho dichotomy of Material Dialectics, the Nature-Nurture Debate & a generally Marxist overview of human struggle in general. This essentially dualistic view of things, whilst heretical in the middle-ages (Gnosticism) is remarkably entrenched into the theology of the time in which nature, particularly human nature, was increasingly seen as the work of the devil. Contradictions abound of course, such as Hildegard of Bingen's concept of Viriditas, but none of Foliate Heads would appear to embody this transcendental spirituality...

Enough! We're off to Lymm! See you there??


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 02:06 AM

Liz,

Good point. Rabbits were, as you say, introduced to England by the Romans and again by the Normans in the 12th century. Rabbits were being bred for eating in England by the 1220s, their skins were a profitable enterprise there by 1305, and in 1555 a Swiss naturalist wrote: "There are few countries wherein coneys do not breed, but the most plenty of all is in England." Depending on when in the period we are talking about, rabbits may or may not have been running wild in England.

Whether they were or no, rabbits still were well known to the English. Many English people traveled to the continent, and many read--primarily, of course, in French and Latin. To many English people rabbits would always have had the meanings I was talking about, just as lions were understood to mean strength even though there were no native lions in England.

More generally, I have (as you can see from the above) been including the continent in my comments. Rabbits and deer were commonly used on tapestries and paintings throughout Europe to express some of the meanings I mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:16 AM

Rabbits to me have always meant food... we bred them ourselves to eat. It was something you did in the country, and a habit picked up from when my grandfather supplied half the village with rabbit meat during the war. They've always been a food stock, not a hunting pursuit - no-one ever wrote a song about 'hunting the hare' or 'the bonny black bunny' did they? (I'm happy to be surprised).

I still reckon the pictures depict hares, both in England and mainland Europe. Hares have a much more ethereal folklore about then... moon gazing and boxing matches, that sort of thing. But we're digressing. Again.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:36 AM

Liz,you have opened new possibilities.

The White Rabbit of Howden awaits as does the Bonny Black Rabbit - just too good to miss!

L in C


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:57 AM

That was supposed to be 'hunting the rabbit', there IS a song called 'hunting the hare'...

The Bonny white Bunny has possibilities.... as does The Laidley Coney.... just don't sing them on Portland, Dorset. They don't like bunnies there.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 05:24 AM

The book to look out for is The Leaping Hare by George Ewart Evans & David Thomson - a fine overview of the hare in folklore, mythology, natural & oral history etc. One of my many bibles!

On the subject of hares & green men, check this out:

Three Hares Project.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 05:51 AM

Liz,

There's "my last farewell to Stirling":

"No more I'll wander through the Glen
Nor Disturb the roost of the pheasant hen
nor chase the rabbit frae his den
when I am far frae Stirlin'-o"

There are two different songs called "The Broomdasher," which is a gypsy word for a rabbit-catcher; the better known has been collected several times from the Levi Smith family.

Getting back to the middle ages, the animals on, for example, the Lady and Unicorn Tapestries in the Cluny are certainly rabbits and not hares. There is a late medieval tapestry called "Rabbit Hunting with Ferrets," which I've seen in the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco. The Unicorn tapestries in NY have the juxtaposed deer and rabbit I was speaking of, visible here.

At this page, they positively identify that as a rabbit--it's too chubby and short-eared to be a hare!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 06:16 AM

Sea,

trust you had a good time at the Saracens Head?

The Hare Project is amazing. Does it have a lot to do with Cathederel builders?

sorry my computer is playing up - must close

Les


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,JT
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 06:23 AM

[Rabbits have] always been a food stock, not a hunting pursuit

Not sure about that, Liz. See www.rabbithuntinginfo.com, for example


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 07:45 AM

Excellent night at the Saracen's Head - Rachel's birthday too, so it was nice joining in with celebrations for Bernard's 60th! Has Thousands or More ever sounded so melodious?

Otherwise; Three Hares / Tinners Rabbits... interesting stuff, though they have altered their earlier ideas on the green man since I contacted them, prior to this they were pushing the usual Raglanite line of pagan folkloric fertility emblems. I instinctively baulk at the mention of archetypes in any context however. Jung seems to be the cornerstone of a lot of new age claptappery that I find irksome in the extreme... Otherwise, yes - fascinating stuff, though I've not seen many in my travels, though there is a mediaeval tile of such a design reported in Chester Cathedral.

The area of the north Fylde now occupied by Fleetwood was, as recently as 1836, a rabbit warren...


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 01:56 PM

Les,

haven't you heard of the ancient Celtic fertility gods known as the green hare and the big green rabbit?

(Pull the other one, it's got leaves on...)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 02:32 AM

Nerd, you are communicating with one who has been Dwile Flonking!

Wassail, so to speak


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 05:23 AM

I too have Dwyle Flonked - was disturbed to see on Channel 5 TV last Wednesday that in Gloucestershire they do it without a blindfold... it's much more fun when the flonker can't see.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 07:00 AM

Pre-Christian - certainly pagan or what Liz?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM

Okay, Les - reluctant to trust Google on so obviously significant a subject as Dwile Flonking, and being of a folkloric bent with regard to getting things from horses mouths... Enlighten me!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 03:03 AM

I competed in a team in the "All Cheshire Finals" around 1971 or 2 at the Chester Festival. It's all a haze now.

I seem to remember two sides, one "In" as in cricket the other "Out". Each member of the "In" team came forward in turn to "Flonk" and had a stick with a beer soaked rag or Dwile in the end. The "Out" team formed a circle around the "Flonker" and moved around holding hands.

The "Dwile" was "Flonked" at members of the "Out" team and points were given - something like three for a head, two for a body, one for a leg. If the "Flonker" missed S/he had to drink a pint of beer in one go.

I suspect the "game" has evolved since. I have this vague memory that it came from the Goon Show in the 19 50s or at least from Michael Bentine but I am not certain about that.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Dwile Flonker
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 11:45 AM

Interestingly, Dwile Flonking is mentioned in the annals of the Roman Historian Taciternius in the context of Pagan Celtic Druidic ritual, He mentions the competitors as wearing masks made of oak & holly leaves, with branches of same clutched between their teeth. In his own words barbarus presencia illorum viridis foliatus stipes os ludio ludius...


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 12:12 PM

Really?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 01:47 PM

Dwile Flonking - sounds kind of early Romano British as 'ell as like

Good try though os ludio ludius...


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 01:18 AM

Dwile flonking is a fascinating topic in its own right, and probably deserving of its own thread. Any dwile flonking songs?

Back to foliate heads, one thing that is surprising is the extent to which this tradition still exists. For example, in New York where I was born and raised, there are many foliate heads carved into buildings, primarily between about the Civil War (1860s) and the Great Depression. I have a book that's got about 50 foliate head photos from NYC, and no doubt there are more.

The question that occurs to me is: was there a "gap" of several hundred years when no one carved foliate heads, or have stone carvers continued to use this motif in an unbroken line from the middle ages?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 02:42 AM

There are changes in fashionable architecture, just as there are in fashionable clothing.

Foliate heads on buildings were probably seen as old fashioned at some point, but like the mini skirt and flared jeans, they come storming back into fashion every now and then. Some, like mini skirts are welcomed, others, like flared jeans, should be left to the annals of history and never ever seen again.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 05:02 AM

I have a book that's got about 50 foliate head photos from NYC, and no doubt there are more

Would that be Nightmares in the Sky? I picked it up in a charity shop in Lytham St Annes for 50p! A truly amazing book. I'm looking at Foliate Heads in a secular / municipal context too, and the North West of England seems particularly well served. Here's a few of my favourites:

Blackpool (Hotel?)

Preston (Waterstones)

Chester, Lanes

One the puzzles here is that whilst the Victorians were evidently very fond of Foliate Heads, they seem to be a feature of the Neo-Classical rather than Neo-Gothic, where one might expect to find them. As I mentioned above, the Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich is replete, but, in general, the buildings of the secular Neo-Gothic seem a tad bereft. In Manchester, for example, one might scour the magnificent Gothic Town Hall in vane, whereas the surrounding Classical buildings are particularly well served. This is just an observation of mine by the way, if anyone can provide examples to the contrary I'd be interested to know about them.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 11:01 PM

No, Insane Beard, it's a brand new book called Faces in Stone, by Robert Arthur King. It's got pictures of many, many faces on NYC buildings, only some of which--50 or so--are foliate heads.

You can see more about the book here.

Although the description of the publisher says "one hundred architectural details," they really mean details from one hundred buildings. In fact, I estimate there are about 200 details, about fifty of which are foliate heads.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 11:03 PM

To clarify, Insane Beard seems most fond of disgorginf foliate heads. Only a few of the NYC ones in this book disgorge leaves. Most are faces made of leaves.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 01:02 AM

Oops. That should have been "disgorging..."


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 06:06 AM

I'll have to think about that, Nerd. Meanwhile, here's a ingenious Victorian leaf-mask (in a neo-Classical context!) from Waterstones in Preston, Lancs:

Leaf Mask, Preston


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 04:35 PM

I just got to have a look at the "Three Hares" project above...that IS amazing!

Les, I'm sorry no one answered your posts of

13 Aug 08 - 02:25 AM (My paraphrase: did the green man emerge from the churches into the plays, and if so, so what?)

and

13 Aug 08 - 07:20 AM ("It seems a fair assumption that nobody would mess with the early church by putting pagan symbols in the walls.")

Both good questions/points which deserve further mention.

As to the first one, I don't think most people would say the green man entered the dramatic tradition from the church walls. The "wild man of the woods" who by the 16th Century seems to have been covered with leaves and called "green man" is actually an ancient literary character type (we'll avoid the baggage of the term "archetype," which I agree is problematic). As such it goes back to Gilgamesh, one of the very first literary plots we have, so it is old indeed. Although Enkidu of Gilgamesh did not use leaves, at some point the idea of the wild man reached countries that were heavily forested, where this would be a natural thing for a wild man to do. At some point prior to the 1570s, the character type started to be called a "green man," after the leaves he was wearing.

Characters like this existed in literature and folklore all over Britain and Ireland (Lailoken in Scotland, Myrddin in Wales, Suibhne in Ireland). So the wild man/green man of the plays may be derived simply from such literary and folkloric figures. Certainly such figures exist in European literature and folklore before the foliate head begins appearing in cathedrals.

The question, then, is: was the "Foliate Head" derived from such figures, or were some of the same ideas being expressed by both? This is hard to answer, because people who carved foliate heads didn't comment much on them. But the connections that Centerwell points to suggest that the two traditions were associated by some people as early as the high middle ages.

On to your second point: I don't necessarily agree that no-one would "mess with" the Church by incorporating pagan elements into the design. In fact, practically everything in the Jewish- Christian- Islamic complex of religions WAS based on earlier polytheistic elements. Furthermore, it was a policy of the early Church to adapt elements of local pagan practice in order to facilitate the assimilation of pagan groups.   

For both of these reasons, it's certain that items with pagan origins were indeed featured in churches. Baptismal fonts, censers, and other elements of Church architecture and furniture were surely adapted from pagan predecessors. Churches themselves were often placed directly on the sites of previous pagan worship.

As a good example, angels and demons, which came to Christianity through Jewish tradition, were based on the gods of Judaism's pagan antecedents, especially those of Canaanite mythology. So every angel you see in a stained glass window is, in fact, a medieval imagining of a Christian interpretation of a pagan god.

Those who claim the foliate head may also be a medieval imagining of a Christian interpretation of a pagan god therefore aren't making a wildly extraordinary claim. It's just never been proven. And, as Insane Beard would point out, the people who make this claim often then ascribe meanings to the pagan god they imagine is being represented, which are hard to square with reality.

To connect your two points, most pagan gods who seem to have had a meaning anywhere close to the one that New Agers try to ascribe to the Foliate Head, such as Sylvanus, resemble the wild man/green man of the plays much more than the foliate head. For this reason, a strong connection between the Foliate Head and the Wild Man/Green Man would lend a little much-needed support to the idea of a Foliate Head as a pagan deity.

More cautious observers like Insane Beard try guard against the new agers' glibness in interpreting these traditions. Therefore, they emphasize the small amount of evidence that exists for such a connection.

For myself, I do not dispute that there is a only small amount of evidence. I don't have any particular attachment to the idea that the Green Man has some connection to pagan deities, and I haven't seen any compelling evidence of it. But I do think it should be recognized that

(1) the evidence that we do have is not all recent, and some of it may date back right to the high middle ages.

(2) There is no particular reason NOT to think there is some connection between the Foliate Head and pre-Christian religion, as there is with almost all other elements of Christianity. But this is no reason to jump to conclusions about the meaning of the Foliate Head in general, or about the meaning of any individual example of the Foliate Head.

and

(3) if the Foliate Head is somehow connected to pagan mythology, his appearance in churches is not particularly anomalous or unusual--although specifically Celtic pagan elements are rare.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 05:59 PM

"The Green Man" by Martin Donnelly is lovely.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 06:25 PM

specifically Celtic pagan elements are rare

That's an important point. I think 'pagan' in this context usually means, or at least implies, 'survival from local religions predating the Roman imposition of Christianity', so the importation of pre-Judaic gods into Judaism & hence Christianity isn't really relevant here.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 08:08 PM

Actually, it may be relevant..."leaf masks" and "foliate heads" turn up in Mesopotamia and Lebanon by the first and second century AD. So I would argue that if they are pagan, foliate heads are more likely to be either middle-eastern pagan, or classical pagan, and brought west as part of Christianity--just like angels, etc.

I agree with you, though, Pip, that that isn't what most new age green man fans want to believe...they mostly want to believe in a Celtic pagan provenance, which is very tricky to prove.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:03 PM

Wow great info all, I think I have plenty of info about the histor of the green man etc.. BUT

Have you any actual song words, mummers play words, dances & rituals linked to the to the green man and when these occur??

Thanks again all, Sam


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: ericjs
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 05:33 PM

The greenery emerging from the mouths of many of these foliate heads looks distinctly to me like grape vines. Note the leaf shapes, and in a few cases, the presence of actual grapes (such as on the bench end). Might there be a connection between these figures and alcohol?
This might explain why, if there were connection between these heads and the term "green man", the term was appropriate for pubs and distilleries.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 10:45 PM

Forgive me if I already said this, but the heads may not be 'disgorging' the leaves. They could be eating the leaves.

What artist wants to stir up associations with somebody barfing?

Perhaps the ancient images of a creature eating leaves was an acknowledgement of our dependence (and the dependence of our flocks) on plants for survival.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 04:29 AM

They could be eating the leaves.

Let me assure you, the foliage is always issuing from the mouth, or other facial orifices, not so much disgorging (as is the accepted term but growing therefrom in terms of vigorous affliction. See Norwich Cloiser for an example of a multiple orifice disgorger.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Stu
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 05:03 AM

"although specifically Celtic pagan elements are rare"

I would suggest the whole notion of Celtic paganism as a the defining influence on pre-Christian religion is a red herring anyway. Although it undoubtedly plays a part, I wonder if the ideas and concepts it introduced were simply absorbed into the indigenous culture similar to the way the Bon religion has been assimilated into Tibetan Buddhism.

George Ewart-Evans championed the idea that traces of our pre-Roman society remained in the folklore, customs and rituals of ordinary working rural people as a cohesive belief system up until the First World War when so many were slaughtered on the battlefields of Europe. The industrialisation of agriculture led to the demise of working horse teams, the change in agricultural practices and the subsequent loss of beliefs and customs that went with them. When we lost this continuity, we lost a "cast of mind" (to quote Ewart-Evans) that provided a context for the old magic and lore to exist in. Perhaps that is why we struggle to see the truth of Green Men and foliate heads; we need to be looking back at a our old folklore to gain insight into these intriguing figures.

The Three Hares link was brilliant - how fascinating is that?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 05:06 AM

One tradition from the 1970s was "Don't cross now- the Green Man's flashing"


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 05:33 AM

we need to be looking back at a our old folklore to gain insight into these intriguing figures.

The folkloric context for the Green Man is a bit of a red herring as what we are dealing with here is a didactic icon integral to the architecture and theology of pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism. Any folkloric associations are the result of a much later Zeitgeist - certainly no earlier than 1939 when Lady Raglan first put the name to the face - a fashionable sort of wishful thinking that misconstrued such imagery to the extent where now it is seen primarily as being somehow pagan. The tide is changing on this, however so slowly, and not before time....


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Stu
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 06:58 AM

I realise we can't deduce anything about the Green Man from simply trying to imagine ourselves back into our ancestors shoes, but conversely I think we struggle to understand him because we don't have the outlook of them either; it's becoming an alien way of thinking when faced with the vacuous nature of modern society and the cynicism towards all things spiritual this generates. I personally am not really religious at all, although I do believe birds are dinosaurs and I do occasionally raise a glass to all those souls who have contributed to Kid on The Mountain over the years.

". . . didactic icon . . ."

Hmmm, I'm not so sure about this. I might be missing something in the thread but what is he teaching us again? The Southwell Minster image you posted is very intriguing. The fellow sitting there does not seem in distress, his pose suggests authority or confidence. He could be teaching, certainly.

"integral to the architecture and theology of pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism"

Are all foliate heads in English Churches pre-reformation then? Do they exist in Welsh, Scottish or Irish Churches? Do they exist in Protestant churches built after the reformation (or is there a continuing tradition of them being made for Catholic churches built since?)

IB have you been to se Lindow Man at Manchester Museum - I hope you left an offering if you did!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:08 AM

"George Ewart-Evans championed the idea that traces of our pre-Roman society remained in the folklore, customs and rituals of ordinary working rural people as a cohesive belief system up until the First World War"

Most if not all serious scholars think their is almost no evidence whatsoever for this.

Wassail

L in C


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 07:57 AM

I realise we can't deduce anything about the Green Man from simply trying to imagine ourselves back into our ancestors shoes, but conversely I think we struggle to understand him because we don't have the outlook of them either

We do have the context however, which is the fabric of church architecture & the theological perspectives which they serve, otherwise they wouldn't be there in such profusion, nor would they be so stylistically consistent in their depiction of figurative human physiognomy however so stylised. The Southwell Minster misericord is pretty exceptional as a full-bodied GM, but it appears to be part of a narrative sequence made up of the images on the adjacent misericords - see Here for more. What that narrative is, isn't too clear, though in other tableaux we see the same figure liberating himself of the fronds, and other figures sprouting similar fronds from their backsides! It's worth bearing in mind here that misericord imagery operates on a similar level to the marginalia of (say) the Macclesfield Psalter (lots of green men there!) which at first glance would appear to represent something quite different to the text, but wouldn't be there without it.   

Are all foliate heads in English Churches pre-reformation then? Do they exist in Welsh, Scottish or Irish Churches? Do they exist in Protestant churches built after the reformation (or is there a continuing tradition of them being made for Catholic churches built since?)

Pretty much yes they are, certainly the significant ones anyway, which is to say an overwhelming majority that would indicate that there is a didactic purpose to such things, though the tradition of the image carries on to a lesser extent after the reformation. They certainly exist in Wales (indeed Lady Raglan's seminal thesis was inspired by those at Llangwm, in Monmouthshire), Ireland and Scotland (both St. Giles cathedral in Edinburgh and nearby Rosslyn Chapel are remarkably abundant). The post-reformation work on the exterior of Manchester Cathedral features a fair few Green Men, albeit styled on the pre-reformation ones found on the column capitals within; the 19th century bosses of Blackburn Cathedral are very fine too (though the real treasure there are the misericords from Whalley Abbey). The Roman Catholic Cathedral at Norwich (1910) is full of Green Men, many of which are on the column bases - see Here. One can't say for sure if the didactic tradition is embodied in these carvings or if their purpose is merely decorative / imitative of earlier imagery in the context of Gothic Revival - you certainly don't find them in other modern RC architecture, but in these carvings we find the same sense of everyman as we do in the medieval images, rather than the folkloric figure of the Green Man. Whatever the case these remarkably vivid carvings are certainly worth a look if only by of contrasting & comparing with those of the middle ages in the now Anglican cathedral.

IB have you been to se Lindow Man at Manchester Museum - I hope you left an offering if you did!

Manchester museum?? Never heard of it! The cultural dimension of our recent visits to Manchester have been taken up with the Holman Hunt at the gallery (all three Lights of the World, Isabella and more besides) but next time I'll be sure to check it out. What's acceptable as an offering these days?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 08:02 AM

George Ewart-Evans

Whatever the case, I'm a great fan of George Ewart Evans. I think the documentation of such things is a good deal more important that their interpretation and in this respect Mr Evans's work is more than worthy. One accepts his conjectural flights of fancy as par for the course, an aspect of subjective genius which is welcome in any context.

Now, won't somebody post on my In Appriation of Dolly thread???


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Stu
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 11:19 AM

"Most if not all serious scholars think their is almost no evidence whatsoever for this."

Ah, but then I'm not a serious scholar. Ewart-Evans has a unique perspective on this subject given that he actually collected the material himself, first-hand from working people. His interpretation is as valid as any other; indeed more so if they didn't collect themselves. I would like to read some of these arguments countering Ewart_eveans interpretation of his material though Les, if you could provide links or refs I'd be grateful.

Ewart-Evans' work appeals to me as I don't share the view that there is a total lack of continuity from pre-Roman to now, especially with regard to belief systems and customs. Of course much of the study of this sort of thing relies on tales that are probably apocryphal or so altered from the original as to be useless, but much may survive.

IB: Thanks for the info and links. The Southwell sequence is fascinating, and perhaps illustrates well your argument about understanding the context (er, that was my argument too albeit from a different viewpoint) and misinterpreting the evidence, which must be why you enjoy the Pre-Raphelites so much; plenty to misread in those paintings for the uninitiated, which is nearly everyone born after 1900 in their case.

I can't say I'm too much of a fan. I was when I was an art student in Macclesfield (whose Psalter seems to have been misplaced by the townsfolk) and we had a good long look at the Pre-Raphelites, but they don't do it for me any more: I much prefer Rothko.

The Museum at Manchester is excellent (for a provincial institution). The Lindow Man exhibition is small but quite good (you'll especially enjoy the modern druidesses input), and the whole subject has been dealt with sensitively. It's nice to see the oft-forgotten affirmation that like our neighbours England is a country with Celtic roots, and some of the artefacts you can handle are wonderful.

Whilst you're there, nip into the Palaeontology hall and see the cast of the T. rex Stan, brought over by Phil Manning from the Black Hills Institute. It's a wonderful cast in a controversial running position but has a real wow-factor too, due to being a big skeleton in a small hall.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 11:47 AM

Take a look at this:

Reveiws of The Sations of the Sun

Sorry that should be the Stations but I think it will get you to some book reviews on Amazon of that remarkable book.

I can't sum up the book very easily but he provides an amazing amount of evidence around the "Ritual Year". The idea that any kind of coherent collection of beliefs and/ or practices have survived hundreds and hundreds of christian domination seems a bit unlikely.

!9C "scholars" made up all sorts of stuff and because they could read and write rather well people thought they might know something. If they think beliefs and/ or practices have survived they should give evidence of the inbetween. They generally don't

Chiz

L in C


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 11:55 AM

which must be why you enjoy the Pre-Raphelites so much

I hate the fuckers to be honest, though exceptions do prove rules; and it is nice to see Isabella and the Pot of Basil, whom I've grown up with (she generally lives at The Laing in Newcastle) & the lesser Light of the World, which resides in the chapel of Keble College, Oxford, where it took on a particular significance for me, once and long ago. The rest of it I could live without, though I do have an odd fondness for Mr Waterhouse's Hylas and the Nymphs which is worth a jaunt to the gallery alone - just ask my long suffering wife!   

Looking forward to the museum - sounds the bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 12:14 PM

It is. Du Chien.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Stu
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM

"I hate the fuckers to be honest"

That got a belly laugh!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 12:57 PM

Do they exist in Protestant churches built after the reformation (or is there a continuing tradition of them being made for Catholic churches built since?)

Relatively few churches were built in England from Edward VI's time until the Restoration, by which time the building style had changed from the Perpendicular style- the nice clean update of the "Gothic" or Decorated style which is the one commonly associated with mediaeval churches- to the rather florid "English Baroque" style in which niecties like gargoyles and green men had no place.

Catholic churches were of course not built until the 19th century emancipation, by which time they wouldn't want to be associated with the mediaeval stuff- though they took that up again, as did the CofE, with later Victorian romanticism, like the Oxforn Movement.

So I thgink you can be pretty certain any Green Men are either mediaeval or toy.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 11:37 AM

Sigh. I think Insane Beard has muddied the waters here.

Stigweard suggested that "Perhaps that is why we struggle to see the truth of Green Men and foliate heads; we need to be looking back at a our old folklore to gain insight into these intriguing figures." He was clearly treating "Green Men" and "foliate heads" as separate entities, and suggesting that both of them could be understood with reference to folklore.

Then Insane Beard leaps to the rescue, once again asserting the folklore has nothing to do with it: "The folkloric context for the Green Man is a bit of a red herring as what we are dealing with here is a didactic icon integral to the architecture and theology of pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism."

Insane Beard has it kind of backwards, though. What he meant to say, I think, is that applying the folkloric context to the FOLIATE HEAD is a bit of a red herring. The GREEN MAN proper is not any kind of didactic icon of church architecture, but a folkloric character, specifically one from ritual drama and pageant, as I've pointed out above. The character is a very, very old feature of folklore and literature, and the name "Green man" was common for the character in English by 1578.

Insane Beard does not think there are shared meanings between the Foliate Head and the Green Man proper. Thus, he thinks the folkloric context (which includes the Green Man) is inapplicable to the Foliate Head.   

IB also discounts as wishful thinking the idea of Lady Raglan, that the foliate head is in fact a manifestation of the same character as the "green man." However, current scholarship suggests that Lady Raglan was at least partly right. In several artworks created between the 1300s and the 1600s, such a connection is implied (it's all detailed in the thread above).

My own position: while the jury is out on the strength of the connection, there is indeed a connection between the Foliate Head and the Green Man.

Thus, I think the jury is out as to whether looking to folklore can shed light on the Foliate Head. But looking to folklore can surely shed light on the Green Man proper, as Stigweard suggests. There's no need to leap on his comment and discount it immediately, as IB seems eager to do.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 11:57 AM

Relatively few churches were built in England from Edward VI's time until the Restoration,

Many of the pre-Reformation Green Men are to be found on the choir stalls, rood screens, bench-ends, misericords etc. which were being made right up to the reformation, and certainly valued thereafter as indicated by the survival of the many fine sets that remain in churches and cathedrals throughout the country. Mention has been made of the Whalley Abbey misericords to be found in Blackburn Cathedral (which include a particularly fine depiction of The Fall - see Here). These date to around 1430 and are the work of a Mr Eatough. They were moved upon the dissolution of Whalley Abbey and split between churches at Whalley, Blackburn and Cliviger. It is rare to find words on such carvings, but here we find the lustful wild-man accompanied by a moral proverb - Penses molt et parles pou - (think much, speak little) (see Here) and a warning against folly in the shoeing of the goose (see Here). Here too are two of the finest Green Men carvings of this (or of any) period (see Here and Here) set with sure purpose into this unambiguously moral gallery, however so wordly, however so decorative the execution and however rustically charming to us today. Thus, their didactic nature becomes clear when considering the work as a whole, rather than viewing them in isolation, which of course was never the intention.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 12:19 PM

Sigh, indeed.

Yes, Nerd - for the sake of clarity I'm using Green Man to mean Foliate Head, though that clarity obviously does not extend so far as to the vague notions of the Green Man as pageant figure, which have little (or nothing) to do with the extant folkloric figures Lady Raglan was thinking of when she named the foliate heads Green Men.   

As you've indicated, the link is indeed very fine - so fine as to be barely perceptible, being based on a notion that links the Green Man to the wild-man carvings, which in any case would appear to serve a definite didactic purpose other than depicting carnival figures (see my previous post for an account of the wild-man figure at Whalley which is depicted in terms of animal lust) and those few (two?) Foliate Head carvings where shields / clubs are present, which are historically and stylistically miles apart.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 03:58 PM

Insane Beard,

I don't know what you mean by "vague notions" of the green man as a pageant figure. They aren't vague at all, but very well described in stage directions from the 1570s on. The earliest of these suggests that everyone will know what a Green Man looks like, the later ones describe the costume more fully, and the latest suggests that the term Green Man is going out of vogue, replaced by woudmen or wild-men, except among sign-makers. This suggests that the term has some currency before 1578:

"Two men, apparrelled, lyke greene men at the Mayors feast, with clubbes of fyre worke." (1578)

"Comes there a Pageant by, Ile stand out of the greene mens way for burning my vestment" (1594)

"Two disguised, called Greene-men, their habit Embroydred and Stitch'd on with Ivie-leaves with blacke-side, having hanging to their shoulders, a huge black shaggie Hayre, Savage-like, with Ivie Garlands upon their heads, bearing Herculian Clubbes in their hands" (1610)

"men in greene leaves set with work upon their other habet with black heare & black beards very owgly to behould, and garlands upon their heads with great clubs in their hands with fireworks to scatter abroad to maintaine way for the rest of the show" (1610) [describing the same pageant as the above stage direction, hence referring to a character explicitly called Green Man]

"In the front of all before these, twenty Savages or Green Men, with Squibs and Fire-works, to sweep the Streets, and keep off the Crowd" (1686)


"They are called woudmen, or wildmen, thou' at thes day we in ye signe [trade] call them Green Men, couered with grene boues: and are used for singes by stiflers of strong watters." (late 17th century)

It's clear that by this time, the Green Man is perceived to be the very same figure sometimes called Wild Man, Wodemen, or Wodewose, as the above makes clear. This was apparently not always true, but it was true by the late seventeenth century.

Now, this figure is also certainly the same as one of the two folkloric figures Lady Raglan talked about, the Green Man of the inn sign; indeed by the seventeenth century, as we see from the quote above, it was primarily in the sign trade that the figure was called Green Man, and it was used mostly to represent liquor, hence it was a natural sign for both distillers and pubs.

The question as to whether this character in renaissance and restoration pageantry is closely related to the leaf-colored figures of later English folk drama (the ones Lady Raglan observed) is an open one. Your assertion that the one has "little (or nothing) to do with" the other doesn't make it so. It is often the case that a familiar element of earlier folklore and popular culture is retained and adapted in later years. (e.g. Pulcinella of 17th Century Neapolitan Commedia becoming Punch of early twentieth century English puppet theatre.) Were the leaf-covered figures of early twentieth century folk drama derived from the leaf-covered figures of earlier English drama? Many people think so, both within the scholarly world and outside it. You may disagree, but you shouldn't present your guess as an established fact.

Finally, your assertion that the link is "very fine" because it requires "a notion that links the Green Man to the wild-man carvings" is more or less nonsensical, as the quotation above shows pretty clearly that many people understood "the Green Man" and "the Wild Man" to be two different names for the same character--the hairy man with leaves and a club. This is exactly the character depicted in the "wild-man carvings" you mention. "Wild-man carvings" is of course a name imposed on these carvings later; they might just as likely have been called "green-man carvings" in 1534 when they were made. We simply don't know. Whatever the case, the "wild-man" carvings depict two figures that were already by 1578 called "Green Men," and they are emerging from the ears of the Foliate Head.

This link to the Green Man may not be the primary meaning of the Foliate Head, but it is there all the same, creeping uncomfortably out of the cracks in your certainty.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 06:05 PM

Whatever the case, the "wild-man" carvings depict two figures that were already by 1578 called "Green Men," and they are emerging from the ears of the Foliate Head.

Well something is emerging from the ears of the Foliate Head, Nerd - but Green Men? Either way this is but one (see Here) of a number Foliate Heads on the Crowcombe bench ends made on the very cusp of the reformation, and quite possibly in reaction to it. One is depicted with dolphins spouting from his ears (Here) - what are we to make of that I wonder? In fact, a closer look at these (so-called) Green Men reveals that they too would appear to have rather fishy tails... I actually like Mr Centerwall's idea - I wouldn't have linked to it otherwise; I also like the idea of The Legend of the Rood as written about by James Coulter in his The Green Man Unmasked (Author House, 2006) but neither Coulter nor Centerwall cover nowhere near enough bases given the variables involved. Indeed, Mr Centerwall's Pageant Hypothesis barely covers one - thus, once again, it remains easier to say what they most certainly aren't.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:03 PM

Well, the "fishy tails" hypothesis only works if you also assume that the Foliate Head itself is covered in scales rather than leaves. The bad photo you linked to doesn't show it well, but it's clear that whatever is covering the midriffs of the emerging club-wielders is the same as what covers the head of the "foliate head" (i.e. leaves). It's much more visible in the clearer picture Here. Particularly in the more-visible figure on the right, you can see that the vein structure in the leaves at his midriff is identical to the vein structure in the leaves on top of the the foliate head: each leaf has a strong central vein, and consequently looks not much like a fish scale.

In addition, you can see that their shields are flowers, and each has a big leaf growing out of his head and one growing out of his midriff.

I grant that their bottom parts below the leaf-skirts do not look like legs. What it looks like more than anything is that there is some kind of seed-pod, trumpet or tube growing our of each ear of the foliate head, and standing in each tube is a Green Man. (Note the marked absence of scales on the tubes, as well) But those are definitely leaves, as the foliate head's head-foliage demonstrates.

The fact that a different bench-end features dolphins is irrelevant. It's like me telling you that Santa Claus is associated with elves in popular culture, and you making the retort that he's really associated with reindeer. I'm not drawing any conclusion from the fact that the foliate head is connected to the wild man/green man except that the connection exists, and existed in 1534, which is 405 years before 1939. All manner of other connections also existed, without negating this one.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 05:05 AM

Mr Centerwall's Pageant Hypothesis depends on a particular interpretation of the Crowcombe image in isolation from its immediate neighbours - much less its historical context. If the caving existed in isolation, then fair enough, but it does not, and must, therefore, be taken in the context of the other Crowcombe bench-ends, which is why a comparison between the two images is important. If one of the carvings features dolphins emerging from the ears of a Foliate Head, and the other what could well be a depiction of mermen, then that is a far clearer, and more immediate link, than that which Mr Centerwall is proposing. Note, if you will, that Dolphins do not have scales, and that the bodies of those depicted are identical to the tails of the figures Mr Centerwall would have us believe are Green Men. So not in the least bit irrelevant, Nerd - rather crucial to our overall appreciation of the Crowcombe sequence.   

Mr Centerwall has set out to establish a connection between Foliate Heads and the name Green Man which existed in relation to a carnival figure found in post-reformation pageantry. What he has given us, fascinating though undoubtedly it is, is in no way conclusive, although, rather tellingly, he clearly believes it is - even going so far as to state quite categorically that Lady Raglan was right in calling Foliate Heads Green Men. This is one hell of a leap even assuming that we can think of these ear-emerging-mermen to be depictions of the Green Men of renaissance pageantry, which, all things considered, looks unlikely for the reasons I've pointed out above.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 06:04 AM

DIGRESSION:

I always thought there might be a connection between the Three Hares motif and the Sicilian symbol of the Tricania, which was in turn imported to the Isle of Man where it became the Triskelion. Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 07:27 AM

the Green Man festival in Clun (Shropshire) is recent. Within 20 years.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,stigweard-a-wanderin'
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 08:35 AM

I've traced my family back to the area of Clun, which is my favorite part of England. The whole area has a quite different feel to it from any other part of the country, it simply feels unlike like 'England' at all.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 08:59 AM

Wales


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM

the Green Man festival in Clun (Shropshire) is recent

One thing I'm trying to establish is at which point the Raglanite Orthodoxy of 1939 entered the popular consciousness. Kathleen Basford's seminal - however so circumspect with regards to Lady Raglan's conclusions - work on the subject is 1978, though Anne Ross had all the Raglanite bases covered by 1975 in her Grotesques and Gargoyles. The pub in The Wicker Man is, as we've seen, The Green Man, indicating a certain awareness, though in popular books on Mythology, Folklore and Witchcraft from that time (your local Wetherspoons is a good place to look!) the Green Man is conspicuous by his absence.

In more specialist scholarly works, such as the King Penguin volumes Medieval Carvings of Exeter Cathedral (Cave, 1953) and Misericords (Anderson, 1954), we find the Raglanite Orthodoxy firmly in place, though oddly enough both volumes avoid the term Green Man when naming the plates, preferring Foliate Mask and Head-with-Leaves respectively.   

Am I naive to imagine the average Mudcatter's bookshelves to be bending down with all manner of folkloric reading matter? If not, then please be so good as to cast an eye over your precious tomes and see what you come up with...


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 01:30 PM

"Wales"

Except it isn't. At the moment. And apart from the place-names, I'm not sure it's that Welsh at all, just very different. Wales, which is where they mostly came from on that side also doesn't feel like England.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 19 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM

Insane Beard,

I see what you mean, but I do not think the bodies of the dolphins look identical to the bottom halves of the wild men/green men in the other bench-end. I think they look similar, but not identical.

Whether Dolphins have scales is, of course, irrelevant. Mermen do have scales, and if these are mermen, they should have scales covering their tails. At best, then, these are "men with dolphins' tails."

As I've pointed out, those leafy bits around the wild men's midriffs are clearly leaves, as they are identical to the leaves on the head of the foliate head. Other photos, such as the one in Basford's book, make this even clearer. They are also carrying clubs. So even if these figures were considered to be men with dolphins' tails, they would be a specific kind of men with dolphins' tails, that is, wild men/green men with dolphins' tails.

Mermen do not carry clubs (not an effective weapon under the sea!), but wild men/green men do. Mermen do not wear leaves, but wild men/green men do. These figures do. At the era in question (or at any rate, by a few decades later), a partly naked, hairy man with a club, wearing leaves, was understood as a "green man," and that's what we see in the bench-end, whether merged with a dolphin or not.

I also note that you yourself referred to these figures as "wild men," until I pointed out that at the time "wild men" and "green men" were synonymous. Then suddenly they weren't wild men anymore, they were mermen. (With clubs. And leaves.)

I don't dispute that the crowcrombe sequence has meaning as a sequence. But each individual bench-end also has meaning, and each individual element in each bench-end has meaning too. That's how meaning works. If you want to ask "what did the Green Man figure mean in the sixteenth century," you look for examples of a figure that conform to sixteenth-century descriptions of "green men," which these do, and you look at the contexts in which they appear, of which this is one. If you want to ask "what did the Crowcombe bench-ends mean," you look at each of them individually and all of them as a sequence. They are two different questions and require two different approaches.

I appreciate your combing your folklore books. The question of tracing the "Raglanite orthodoxy" is an interesting one. I'll see what I can find out, when I have time to look.

To really look into folklore that had vanished by the time antiquarians and folklorists began collecting the stuff, of course, we need to look into various primary sources. You won't find evidence in books on "folklore" per se. And, sadly, the primary sources are very unlikely to say "we see this figure as a nature deity," even if people did! But in any case, it was never my contention that people saw the Green Man OR the Foliate Head that way....


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 02:13 PM

In my haste yesterday (I had to run to a rehearsal), I forgot to explain WHY I didn't think the bottoms of the wild men/green men on one Crowcombe bench-end looked like the dolphins' tails on the other bench-end. For some reason, the medieval European idea of the dolphin usually gave its whole body a kind of saw-shaped character, with sawtooth fins all along the body, as visible here.   These sawtooth fins are clearly visible in the dolphin bench-end here. But the tails or tubes on the "wild man/green man" bench end, here, are completely smooth, until you come to the leafy sheath around the midriffs of the figures, which as I pointed out, are purposely made identical to the leaves on the foliate head.

Furthermore, in the dolphin bench-end, the dolphins are not, as Insane Beard said, emerging from the Foliate Head's ears. They are, rather, positioned above the head, so that they appear to be sitting atop it. Thus, the tails' flukes are plainly visible in the center above the head, and the tails appear to be bound together below the flukes (in the center above the foliate head), with a human figure arising out of the tails.

Note that the Foliate head that has dolphins on it, however, does have SOMETHING coming out of its ears, which is unconnected to the dolphins. That something looks like a leaf, trumpet or seed-pod, and is essentially smooth. THAT's what the human figures seem to be growing out of in the wild man/green man bench-end, a smooth-sided leaf, trumpet or seed-pod that emerges from the Foliate Head's ears, just as one does in the dolphin bench-end.

I agree that these are all matters of interpretation. Both the dolphins' tails and what I am calling a leaf or seed-pod have an abstract design of circles and lines on them that is very similar, which I am sure is one of the things that made Insane Beard see them as identical. But, as I've pointed out, there are other reasons to think the tubes on the wild man/green man bench end are neither dolphins' tails nor fish tails. The fact that they don't look like the medieval idea of a dolphin's tail (as do the tails on the other bench-end), or have scales like a fish tail, is one reason. The fact that they are growing OUT of the foliate head's ears, like the leaves on the other bench-end, is the other. That makes me think they are meant to represent vegetation, not an animal feature.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM

Furthermore, in the dolphin bench-end, the dolphins are not, as Insane Beard said, emerging from the Foliate Head's ears.

Take a closer look, Nerd.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 10:46 PM

If you're telling me that that's another set of smaller dolphins, you'll have to provide a better photo...


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM

Insane Beard,

On the other question of when the Raglanite idea was emerging into popular consciousness, I'd say the books you cite, Anderson et al, are the first step. It picked up speed in the 1960s, and was firmly entrenched by 1967. In that year, Ronald Johnson, the American poet, was able to write The Book of the Green Man. He described the poem as an English seasonal poem, and gets in everything from Robin Hood to Tolkien. In the notes, he wrote the following passage. Note that, although Raglan might not have been aware of the seventeenth-century figure from processions, Johnson was.

Note also the reference to Grigson. Though he doesn't specify, I suspect this is Grigson's 1948 work An English Farmhouse and its Neighbourhood. If I were you, I'd track that down. If Grigson made direct reference to "The Green Man" in this regard, it's an important and very early link in the chain from Lady Raglan into the popular imagination.

Johnson also mentions Nikolaus Pevsner elsewhere in his notes. This important writer on architecture was an early adopter of the name "Green Man" for the Foliate Head. I'd look at his 1945 book The Leaves of Southwell.

Anyway, here's Johnson, followed by some more notes.

"The Green Man" of the title is not a poetic metaphor, merely, but is still to be seen in England. It is not uncommon for pubs or inns to be called by his name, a hold-over from times when he was a current legend and was deeply associated with Robin Hood, and the Green Knight in Gawain and the Green Knight. But he is most often to be found, today, as the face with sad, heavy-lidded eyes occupying the corbel of an arch in churches. There, he has branches growing out of either side of the mouth, or is bearded in leaves with more foliage springing from the forehead, or is garlanded.

    As King of the May, or Jack-in-the-Green, he has a persistent history that can be traced back to May Day celebrations throughout Northern and Central Europe. Geoffrey Grigson writes that traditionally "on May Day in the village plays and ceremonies he was sacrificed dying for all the death of the plants in winter." In former times he was also marched in the London Lord Mayor's Day Parade enclosed in a wooden framework on which leaves were clustered and from which came explosions of fireworks. Chimney sweeps paraded beneath the same pyramidal frameworks on May Day until the nineteenth century. One imagines them coming like small boxwood topiary, crackling and sparkling through the streets.

    Lewis Spence adds a less typical, later variant: "I have seen him at South Queensferry, on the southern shores of the Firth of Forth, where he is know as the 'Burry Man', a boy on whose clothes large numbers of burrs or seed-cases have been so closely sewn that he presents the appearance of a moving mass of vegetation."

    He is also seen, of course, in the guise of Arcimboldo's "portraits" of the seasons or as the fanciful Seventeenth Century Gardener pictured in herbals and gardening books in a finery of flowers and of vegetables. Or, the reverse side of a coin, as the Mandrake - a plant forming itself in the shape of man. The hand that seems to sprout leaves at its wrist and is used in this book is a pseudo-mandrake - actually a radish. Its nineteenth century engraver, copying a seventeenth century painting of this miraculous radish, was, perhaps, both over-credulous and over- exuberant. Not only are there illusionistic finger joints, but a thumb-nail as well. The World of Wonders, No. 3, also mentions "another radish, exactly resembling a human hand, in the possession of Mr. Bisset, secretary to the museum at Birmingham, in 1802. He declared in his letter that the fingers were quite perfect, and that a large sum had been offered for it and refused."


After Johnson, I wonder if the 1969 Kingsley Amis novel The Green Man, which links the pub name to a sexually sinister spirit called "The Green Man," and further links all that to seventeenth century occultism, suggests that Raglan's idea was known to (and being turned on its head by) Amis.

By the 1970s Raglan's firmly entrenched in the Pagan community...for example Bob Stewart said in Pagan Imagery in English Folksong(1977):

"As a fertility-power, George is known as Jack-in-the-Green, or the Green-man, or Green George...."

The Children's book "The Green Man" by Gail E. Haley (1979), which is said to be based on a mythical English figure of the same name, seems promising, but I don't have it.

That should give you some books to chase down!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 04:15 AM

"The hand that seems to sprout leaves at its wrist and is used in this book is a pseudo-mandrake - actually a radish."

You say that like it's a bad thing.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 05:48 AM

you'll have to provide a better photo

Somewhere, I've got a disk of the complete Crowcombe bench-ends in stunning clarity. Somewhere, as I say - but after two complete house moves in 9 months (the joys of relocating during a recession) complete with various degrees of storage & related chaos means that things have still to turn up! So - would that I could oblige, but even from Steve's picture (mypsace always compress images anyway) you can see dolphins emerging from the ears. You can even see they're quite smooth and that they don't have the circle markings of the tails of the mermen - but they are emerging from the ears of a foliate head, and they are rather fishy; possibly four in all, two going up, two going down.

Mermen do have scales, and if these are mermen, they should have scales covering their tails.

You seem to know an awful lot about mermen, Nerd - having never seen one myself I couldn't really comment ;-]. Otherwise - who might second-guess the intentions of the Crowcombe Master who goes to such great trouble to show us the date of his great work (see Here)? And what are we to make of the other, often quite savage, imagery found in this context, dolphins and mermen notwithstanding (see Here and Here for the detail)? And given such an obviously aquatic association, might not those leafy fronds just as easily be be sea-weed? Whatever the case, I'm sure it wasn't the intention of the Crowcombe Master to be in any way figurative at all.

It is invariably the case for Foliate Head Theorists to view their pet subjects in isolation even from the fabric of the buildings which are their sole context, let alone the theological purpose of those buildings, or else their place in history. Whatever the case, Mr Centerwall's thesis rests entirely on the rather impossible notion that would link the intention of the Crowcombe master of 1534 to the sculptor (which he names as one William Lyngwode) responsible for the Winchester spandrel figure of more than 226 years earlier (see Here). It is thus that Mr Centerwall feels justified in making the statement: It appears that Lady Raglan was right. The name of the foliate head - labelled the "Green Man" by Lady Raglan - was the Green Man. This is the sort of reasoning that, in the words of the good doctor, must, I fear, be dismissed as ineffable twaddle, hatched as it is by isolating the facts to fit a rather threadbare theory born from the pure coincidence that certain carnival figures of the English Renaissance had the same name as that chosen by Lady Raglan for Foliate Heads in 1939. As Mr Centerwall sagely points out any leaf-covered figure is bound to be called the "Green Man" sooner or later. Well if not the "Green man", then certainly a "Green Man", which is a crucial distinction in discussing the The Green Man as most understand the term today, pagan associations and all.      

As for wild men - we see a lot of hairy feral club-wielding types in the art of the middle ages. I've already mentioned one in an indisputable moral context on an important Lancastrian misericord from 1430 (see Here) which not only predates the earliest post-reformation Green Men as referenced by Mr Centerwall by 150 years, but places the figure very firmly in the moral & theological context of the time (the inscription reads Penses molt et parles pou - think much, speak little). Thus, the dialectical nature of such imagery becomes apparent - which is central to their didactic purpose. In the medieval Bestiary, or Physiologus, we find him named as the Satyr - hairy, club-wielding, symbolic of evil in general and of lust in particular. Well we might speculate on whether or not the club-wielding Satyrs served as the inspiration for Mr Centerwall's carnival Green Men of the English Renaissance, and to what extent, if any, their symbolic purpose survived the journey from the solemn to the frivolous if this is, indeed, the case.

I'd look at his 1945 book The Leaves of Southwell.

I'm skimming through The Leaves of Southwell as I write, a book remarkable in its omission of the obvious contenders from the chapter house - though we do see one of the lesser figures on plate 28. On p32 he mentions the de Honnecourt text-book, but his discussion is more to do with the manifest disparity between botanical and physiognomical realism. The Foliate Heads of St. Frideswide's Shrine, Oxford are illustrated, but passed over completely in the discussion of their foliate context! Just a skim, as I say, but no mention of the Green Man. Of course, a publication date of 1945 doesn't mean it was written in 1945, and even if it was, considering world events between the publication Raglan's seminal thesis and that of Pevsner's account of Southwell it's not inconceivable that he wasn't aware of it. Now there's a question - what's the earliest indication that he was?

Thanks for the other stuff, Nerd - invaluable!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 11:13 AM

Hello, pip radish. Thanks for your post; it gave me a chuckle.

If the mandrake is the radish, then you have made it into the poetry of John Donne.

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

===========
In the past I've wondered whether 'wind' (in the sense of moving air)ever really had a long i sound. I think from this we can conclude that it did.

Note the reference to mermaids singing. So they must have scales, otherwise they couldn't sing, only wail.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 02:12 PM

Insane Beard,

I still can't see the smaller dolphins. They look like leaves in that picture. However, I will take your word for it, since you have seen the better pictures, and I imagine, the bench-ends themselves, and I haven't. I would say that most likely, if there are fishy things coming from his ears, they are probably fish. The ones on top of his head look like medieval north-European dolphin iconography, the others look quite different. Still, that makes little difference to your overall argument. Or to mine, which was really about a different bench-end.

I think we're at an impasse, where you will continue to give reasons why the bench-end figures on the other bench can't be "green men," and I will continue to give reasons why they can. The same evidence that makes you think it's impossible makes me think it's possible!

I will point out that the leaves on the "wild men" in the other bench-end cannot be seaweed, again because they are identical to the leaves on the foliate head.

I will also point out that your introduction of a spandrel with a wild man and a foliate head from 150 years before we have a literary reference to a "wild man" as a "green man" does not at all invalidate my argument. The fact that wild man figures were associated with foliate heads, and that such figures were sometimes called "green man," merely shows (as I have been arguing) that these two traditions (the foliate head and the wild man/green man) were connected long before 1939. The earlier you show me the two figures connected, the earlier I will believe the connection was made.

I have not given this the interpretations that either Centerwell or Raglan gave for it, but you continue to argue against me as though I had. But even for Centerwell's argument, your picture is not an impediment. Indeed, as you say, the figure you showed might well have inspired the pageant "Green Man." What bearing does this have on whether people might have called the leafy head "green man" as well? "Think much, say little" was already a common proverb at the time, and continued to be for hundreds of years. I don't see how its occurrence with the figures relates to whether they represent a connection between leafy heads and a figure that looked like what people called a "green man." I've never argued that these figures DON'T occupy "the moral & theological context of the time," and neither has Centerwell. You seem to think one of us made that argument somewhere.

The person you're REALLY arguing against is Raglan. Which is fine, but both Centerwell and I agree with you on all that.

So let's move to your other question, as to when the Raglan Orthodoxy took over.

I haven't seen the Pevsner book I recommended, but it is the one cited by Johnson in his notes to the Green Man poem, which is why I thought you should look there. However, I had another reason for recommending him in general. In Simpson & Roud's Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, in the entry on "The Green Man," they say:

Despite the fragility of Lady Raglan's argument, her term was adopted for foliate heads in several books on church art by M. D. Anderson in the 1940s and 1950s, in the authoritative series of Buildings of England guides by Nickolaus Pevsner, and finally...by Kathleen Basford.

So, I guess if you want to find out when he started to use the term, you'll have to line up his books from earliest to latest, and look through them! Sorry I can't be more help there...

The same may be true for Grigson. Johnson says elsewhere in his notes that he'd read all of Grigson's books, and he specifically cites An Englishman's Flora as well as Farmhouse. So I'd look in those two first.

Because of the way Johnson quotes him in my post above, it's hard to tell whether Grigson uses the name "Green Man" or not, but the quote about him being sacrificed annually and the name "Green George" indicates that, either he had read Lady Raglan's take on Frazer, or he had read Frazer directly.

Another thing to keep in mind: a good deal of "The Raglanite orthodoxy" preceded Raglan's 1939 article, even the connection between foliate heads and "Jack-in-the-Green." The only piece of the puzzle that she adds in 1939 is applying the name "The Green Man" to the Foliate Head. But the connection of the Foliate Head itself to the whole complex of pagan nature-myth had already been accomplished.

I'll quote from Lord Raglan's 1936 treatise The Hero, in the bit about Robin Hood:

"It is probable, as we have seen, that Robin Hood is Robin of the Wood. Now according to Skeat the original meaning of 'wood' was 'twig', and hence a mass of twigs or 'bush'; if this is so, then Robin Hood is Robin of the Twigs, or the Bush, which suggests connections with another well-known figure of the Spring festivities, Jack-in-the-Green, and with the carved faces, with twigs protruding from their mouths, which are a feature of so many of our old churches."

I hope that's helpful!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 03:25 PM

if this is so, then Robin Hood is Robin of the Twigs

Blimey O'Reilly. There should be a name for this style of writing, where an argument is built out of a disorderly stack of wild speculation and free association, held together only by the will to find something really old to believe in.

According to the OED (yes, he made me look), in the oldest usages of the word 'wood' (9th century CE) it variously means the stuff people make chairs with, the stuff people burn on fires and the places where trees grow. There don't seem to be any usages of 'wood', past or present, to mean 'twig'.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 03:27 PM

Actually, that was ungenerous. Let's say, a disorderly stack of wild speculation, free association and flashes of genuine erudition, held together only by the will to find something really old to believe in.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 07:13 PM

Update on two issues.

1) I have checked the Lady Raglan article, and she doesn't mention "Green George." So Johnson didn't get that from her. Either he had read Frazer's Golden Bough, or one of his other sources, such as Grigson, discusses "Green George."

2) Leeneia: Yes, interestingly, while listening to field recordings of a sailor born in the 1860s, I realized that he pronounced the word "wind" (as in "wind and weather") with a long i, to rhyme with "mind." He did this not only in songs, but in regular speech. He was born either in Maine or in Nova Scotia, but spent most of his life in British colonies such as Sudan, Rhodesia and India, so I don't know exactly where he picked up this pronunciation. But it was apparently normal for some people as late as the late 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 10:47 PM

Insane Beard,

An even earlier statement of the full "Raglan Orthodoxy" came in John Speirs's 1957 book Middle English Poetry: The Non-Chaucerian Tradition, in the chapter on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Speirs says that the Green Knight is none other than the "Green Man...the Jack in the Green or the Wild Man of the village festivals of England and Europe," and also "descendant of the vegetation or nature god...whose death and resurrection mythologizes the annual death and rebirth of Nature."


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Nerd
Date: 24 Nov 08 - 10:56 PM

Sorry to keep refreshing this, but I just realized the quote I gave was not from Speirs's book chapter, but from his even earlier (1949) article in the journal Scrutiny. So the orthodoxy was fully operational in literary criticism at about the same time that architectural writers began to use "Green Man" for the foliate head. Seems it took over pretty fast!


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:01 AM

Cheers, Nerd - I'm sort of holiday right now, so no time for responses, but I'm checking in - and much appreciative!

Whalley (altered)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 04:58 PM

When I was doing Middle English at university, some friends happened on Speirs' stuff about Gawain & found it highly amusing. Apparently he places great emphasis on the Green Man's lair, considered (by Speirs) as a mystic gateway to the chthonic mysteries of the old religion and described (by the Gawain poet) as "nobbut an old cave".

(It's Spiers as in "and Boden", isn't it - so no relation.)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 05:18 PM

Gods, wish I'd done something more interesting at Uni Pip Radish!

This whole thread is way too scholarly and well-read on t'subject for me to engage in any sensible way in, but your comments on the Green Mans Lair, seem to strikingly echo classic Shamanic Otherworld gateway themes. Sounds like your lecturer was using some kinda comparitive study maybe, from which he drew that conclusion?

I'm afaid I get a little Gnostic and resultantly academically lazy regards a lot of this folk-lore stuff (or of course just plain lazy and resultantly Gnostic, which is possibly rather more correct).

Just stare at it with an empty brainbox for long enough... And see what it does to your head. It's so much easier that way, and it aches much less grey-brain-gloop ;-)

Just playing fool here, no intended offence to those discussing the topic in seriousness.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 05:31 PM

But that's just the trouble, isn't it - if you read the text in the light of your own assumptions, you may end up just reading your own assumptions right back out of it. In which case you might as well save yourself the effort and cut out the reading.

A couple of years after I read Gawain I read Moby-Dick, which demonstrates that everything can have a deeper symbolic meaning - and then goes on to show that, if everything Means Something, then nothing Means any more than anything else, so to all intents and purposes nothing means anything. Now that really blew my mind.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 05:50 PM

*smile*

Oopsy, you did take me more seriously than I really intended. I was being somewhat throw-away and self-deprecatory there you understand.

Okay, as to the way to glean meaning, I think that there is a *necessary* place for both approaches. Both the purely inspirational and the strictly empirically verifiable. And indeed all blurred edges inbetween, which is possibly the way that it all actually works...?

I do think that the point you make regards the meaning of things perhaps fails to consider that the *meaning* of anything is itself embedded within an intricate relationship of meanings.

Perhaps just like *words*? Is any one word more 'wordful' than any other?

Ie: perhaps all meanings are meaningful only in in relation to something else, and indeed most importantly as you say, in relation to the conscious participant in that interplay.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Effsee
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 10:06 PM

All this reminds me of what me ould Dad used to say....
"The more you know, the more you know you don't know." ;-)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 03:12 AM

Your Dad's Daevid Allen?

I'll get my kaftan.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:03 AM

perhaps all meanings are meaningful only in in relation to something else

Trouble with that is, you could be imagining the connections which you think make two things meaningful.

Alternatively, you could say that you've got a better chance of deriving meaning from an established pattern of symbolism than from a single symbol. But the trouble with that is that you're the one identifying the correspondence between the stuff you've seen and the pattern of symbols - and, once you've 'got' one bit of the pattern, you've got a strong motivation to look for others and make the evidence fit. Go down that route and you end up quite openly and deliberately adding two and two to make five (see the Lord Raglan quote above).

Maybe we need mystics and visionaries; we definitely need historians - and we need to keep the two separate.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:46 AM

Fair enough, just rambling nonsense really, and throwing the thread off topic..


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,kaytig
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 11:47 PM

Hey, I wrote a song about the Green Man [see Animaterra thread august]
If anyone is interested, I can post lyrics, how do I do dots & lines? Maybe a bit of mp3 would be more practical..........Song written as a gift to a morris team.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 10:03 AM

Just joined The Company of the Green Man - which is well worth a look I'd say...

Otherwise, nothing much to report - spotted a couple of newies (to me) on the choir stalls in Lancaster Priory on Saturday:

Lancaster Priory 1

Lancaster Priory 2


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: RTim
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 10:36 AM

GREEN JACK (Jehanne Mehta)
Wind to North East, snow on the crest
Winter takes a longtime to be gone.
Lambs in the fold, safe from the cold,
April past & May coming on.
But pray lend an ear, this music to hear,
Cold winds be gone give Jack but a chance.

Hey come along, hey come along
Come along & join in the dance.

O have you seen Jack in the Green
Footing it so lightly on his toes.
Buds in the trees, blossoms & leaves,
Springing out where ever he goes.
For he who was slain with the harvested grain
Is born anew & bids summer advance.

Bird song at dawn, up with the morn,
Throwing off the years two & three.
Old Mrs. Jones stretches her bones,
And put the whistling kettle on for tea.
Then she sweeps up the dirt & gathers her skirt
And away with Green Jack she does prance.

Morris men all, Squire & the fool
Cut a merry caper on the green.
Come maids & young men Let the dancing begin
For the living Earth our fair queen.
Then footing it still, make a ring round the hill
And light up the sky with your chants.

Repeat 2nd verse.

Tim Radford (Jehanne is my son's God Mother)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 02:42 PM

Something that may be vaguely related: there is a mediaeval anecdote about the Green Children of Woolpit, two children with green skin who were found speaking a language nobody could understand and who didn't live very long. The idea was taken up by Herbert Read in his novel "The Green Child" - the child comes from a subterranean utopia. Obviously no relation to the foliate heads, but maybe some connection with green-garbed performers.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Suibhne (Astray)
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 02:14 PM

Two things:

1) Shire Publications have lately issued The Green Man by Richard Hayman - see Here - and a charming little volume it is too; beautifully written, lavishly illustrated and telling it like it is without resorting to the usual folkloric / pagan / neo-pagan poppycock. Highly recommended!

2) All you Tyke / South Yorks folkies check out your new Stirrings for my own wee polemic on the subject, featuring colour title page & a selection of braw pics. You also might like to know that a wee snippet of The Green Man Processional Musicke (for Black Sea Fiddle & frame drum) is currently playing at Rapunzel & Sedayne's myspace page - Here.

S O'P / Sedayne


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 10:41 AM

I vaguely remember in the late '70s running into a movie on TV about The Green Knight. Don't know if that was the title. Majorly costume epic about various Arthurian-timed myths. The fella in question had certain magical properties. Can't remember much else...Tw


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Green Horn
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 07:41 PM

I'm actually writing a novel which draws on the Green Man. Can you recommend any decent horned - pre-Reformation - foliate heads...preferably around the Norwich, Nottingham area.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 08:04 AM

Generally speaking horns aren't a feature of green men / foliate heads - in fact, the only one that springs to mind is the Romanesque head in the church of St. Miuchael's, Garway in Herefordshire (which features significantly in Phil Rickman's novel The Fabric of Sin) though I have seen others. Moving eastwards, whilst similar disgorging heads might be seen on the capitals at Southwell Minster, I wouldn't say they were horned as such, likewise the typical cat-heads found on a Romanseque doorway at Ely Cathedral. Norwich is bending down with pre-Reformation Foliate Heads, some quite devilish, such as misericords in the Cathedral & in St. Stephen's, but whilst the foliage strikes upwards in a suggestion of horns, I wouldn'd describe them as being horned as such. Others, such as the arm rests in St. Nicolas, King's Lynn present foliate brow growths which are certainly horn-like - likewise those found in Norwich Cathedral cloister who is similarly afflicted. Worth mentioning in this context is a very fine disgorging Foliate Stag on a misericord in the church of St.Agnes, Cawston not far from Norwich which is worth a look, as is the rest of the church for some fine angels and heads, foliate & otherwise. If you do go, check out the amazing SS Peter & Paul at Salle which is a mile down the road.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Old Vermin
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 09:08 AM

Green Horn - might be worth you contacting Karen and Colin Cater of hedingham fair


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 09:27 AM

From Hedingham Fair : ...Green Man image, which revealed both a market and a much deeper British mystical culture and heritage underlying contemporary folk customs - centuries of strife ridden Christianity superimposed on more ancient nature religions, mythologies and deities.

Which is, of course, 100% hogwash, though you can't argue there is certainly a market for it! It's this sort of thinking that generally obscures any true perspectives on The Green Man by miring it in an ersatz spirituality which is, alas, a complete fantasy fabricated on the back of some very wayward thinking indeed - the stuff we've been exploring in this thread. I'm heartened of late by the Shire Library's publication of Richard Hayman's The Green Man, but still, sadly, the ill-founded Fakeloric fake-paganism proliferates.


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: GUEST,Tug the Cox
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 02:55 PM

This is a powerful Green Man song

The Green Man
Words & Music: Steve Thomason
Chorus:
Til the Green Man walk
s again
Til the Green man walks again
Bird and beast will sing no more
Til the Green Man walks again
1.
Once the earth was fair and fine once the earth was whole
Soft rain fell and rivers ran, a web of life unfolds
Where now are the rivers, where the teem
ing seas?
Where now is the web of life, torn by mankind's greed?
2.
Seasons came and seasons went, cycles of the earth
Autumn brought the harvest, springtime brought rebirth
Mankind honoured nature, old gods turned the wheel
Time enough for friendship, ti
me enough to heal
3.
Yes once man walked with nature part of nature's plan
'Til he stole the reins of power; at the centre, man
Mankind now the conqueror covets all he can touch
Touches all of nature turning her to dust
4.
But deep beneath the surface se
asons they still pass
Patience waits forever, tyrants fall at last
Earth herself far older, wisdom like the sea,
Time will wash away the wounds setting nature free
5.
When the Green Man walks again
When the Green man walks again
Bird and beast will sing o
nce more
When the Green Man walks again
Copyright Steve Thomason
(2007)


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 12:38 PM

You been reading this thread, Tug???


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Subject: RE: Any info about the green man?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 12:45 PM

On a more positive note, here's a picture I took in the Chapter House of York Minster a few weeks back. The point of the composition, I suppose, is to get make the context as obvious as the subject:

York Minster Chapter House, February 2014

*

Also on a positive note, it's been nice to see Richard Hayman's Shire Book of The Green Man displacing more fanciful notions of pagan archetypes & rebirth in Cathedral bookshops of late. Sadly, as Tug's song demonstrates, the old (well, 1939 at least!) fakelore persists.


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