The green man appears half hidden on the walls and columns on many of our old churches – you have to look hard to find them. They originate from medieval times. The master masons could speak through their hands, and carving the green man was a way of teaching their apprentices.
Many people search for The Green Man when visiting churches and it becomes a ‘passion’! The Green Men did not appear in England until the twelfth century (in the 1100’s and part of our church is of that Period) you will see that they have foliage sprouting from their mouth and sometimes their ears – some are grotesque, some sad, some humorouss, some quite beautiful and all expressed by the astonishing skill of the Master Masons.
St. Bartholomew’s Much Marcle has 6 Green Men, one of which is very special. He is wearing a cloak fastened with a cross shaped broach – is this ‘The Trinity’ as seen held in the beak of the Dove in one of our beautiful Kempe Stained Glass Windows? You must stand beneath the Green Man and look up to see it!!
We could write endless information on this web site, but for those who would like to know more, we recommend the book called “The Green Man by Jeremy Harte” You will have a wonderful reference book from which to dip in and out. Another good Church to visit would be Kilpeck in Herefordshire where you will see an abundance of Green Men.
(All photographs by David Mocatta)