Green Men

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 16th June 2012


No not the aliens from outer space but those one sees in churches and Cathedrals.

If one is a Friend of Canterbury Cathedral, there is a Friends’ Day when various delights of our wonderful Cathedral are shared with us – some readily available to the public and some not.

Last year I put my name down for a trip up the Bell Harry Tower – absolutely fascinating. It cannot be a regular for members of the public mainly because of Health and Safety and for once I’m serious about this rule which is usually called upon to destroy the enjoyment of others. In this case, it is a serious concern. The steps are so narrow that were anyone to be taken ill at any of the three levels it would be well nigh impossible to get a rescue team to their aid.

This year I chose the Green Men tour – this is available to members of the public. Patricia Jukes is an expert on the subject and though time only allowed her to ‘scratch the surface’ of the story, it was fascinating.

We started off in the Huguenot Chapel of the Cathedral. I attend services there and, though I much admire the Chantry of the Black Prince, didn’t realise there were so many interesting things to look at including some lovely Green Men.

We then went off to the Cloisters where there were many more – some ‘Spewing and Uttering’ and that is where the vegetation sprouts from the mouth or nose.

Apparently when the Pope sent Augustin over to convert we heathens he was instructed to go easy on us and not banish all the previous pagan artefacts but to incorporate them in the emerging Christianity. Under our pagan ancestors there was much worship of nature and this appears to be where the Green Men come in – either that or on a wet day when they couldn’t work outside, the masons amused themselves (I made that up)

It was a fascinating, albeit too brief, tour and then we went to lunch where I met some very interesting people.

This is a rather lovely Green Man from inside the Huguenot Chapel.  I think he looks very benign and almost as if he's smiling. They aren't all like that - some are quite ferocious or even suggestive - have a look at the Gallery for a few more.


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