Church of St Mary and St Gabriel in the Totnes Mission Community

The Green Man

Visitors to the church sometimes ask “where is the Green Man?” Norman our Verger will show them the pillar by the north door and also by the south door. He will then take them to the choir stalls and show the carvings above in the rood screen which are of birds and flowers. Some appear to show a face with foliage coming from its mouth and other places. But if you look a little closer you will see that these carvings are a stem of a flower or a vegetable put together to look like a mask from a distance. I believe this is the origin of the Green Man. If you stare long enough at fleeting clouds and in the half light, a hedge or patterned wallpaper you can visualise all sorts of eerie shapes or faces.

The Green Man depicted here is of the disgorging type, there are two others. It is an ancient symbol which is found in many of our churches and places around the world. The mask is thought by some people to represent the recycling of nature and to have originated in Roman times. There are many organisations, festivals and articles written celebrating the Green Man and even electronic play stations, but the term “Green Man” was named as late as 1939 by Lady Raglan when she studied images of masks in a church near her home in Wales.

John Cox

January 2010

Upcoming Events

Wed 10

Wednesday 10.00am Holy Communion (BCP)

Wednesday 10th August - 10:00 am - 10:45 am
Thu 11

Thursday Bell ringers practice

Thursday 11th August - 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sat 13

Friday 7pm: Choir practice

Saturday 13th August - 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sun 14

Sunday 8.15am Eucharist (BCP)

Sunday 14th August - 8:15 am - 9:00 am
Sun 14

Sunday 11.15am Choral Eucharist(CW)

Sunday 14th August - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm