You see them everywhere, leering down with seemingly pagan glee from the height of church naves, or looking down from the broken walls of monasteries such as Fountains.
Often quite fierce of aspect, sometimes more calm and wise, leaves surround them and tendrils of foliage spurt from nose and mouth in riotous abundance.
Green Men–origins unknown, and many a theory on their origins, from prehistoric deities of the forest carved by secret worshippers or by those who wanted to placate the ‘old gods’ as well as the new, to purely Christian figures that represented resurrection with their symbols of returning life from wintry death–Jesus, according to some, was also Lord of the Vine.
A new theory has recently been put forward that has a slightly different slant. Could they really be the spirit of England? A symbol of rebellion as the Saxons fell under the ‘Norman Yoke’ after 1066?
With Robin Hood perhaps being another aspect of the infamous Green Man, there may be something in it….