The Green Man
The Green Man carving at Thornton
...There is a gape-mouthed sexuality about such Green Men, a fertility either hinted or boldly displayed. Who is this sinister vigorously attractive figure? Theories abound. Christians have him both as a lost soul in agony and as Christ himself, out of whose mouth issues the words that bear fruit a hundredfold. Certainly, ideas of death and rebirth, decay giving rise to new life, seem implicit in the Green Man's often mournful expression as he produces fresh leaves and fruit from his own body.

Others say he is our forest spirit, perhaps Pan, given a place (often an obscure one) within the church to remind Christians of the ancient woodlands, felled to make way for monastic settlements and earthy pagan religion that was cleared along with the trees.

The 13th century Green Man at ThorntonChristian saviour or pagan druid, old man of the woods or new man reborn - the Green Man seems to be hedging his bets. Maybe he is all of these roled into one: the human spirit, no less, in its light and shade...Christopher Somerville, The Telegraph, Saturday March 25th 2000.

The Green Man and the Oak Leaves are carved into the wood (not pegged) at the apex of the two beams (each made out of one curved branch) - unusual because normally there would be a join.13th Century carved oak leaves at Thornton