1Link to Green Man on Rawson St2Link to Green Man on Rawson St
3Link to Green Man on Rawson St4Link to Green Man on Tudor Rd
5Link to Green Man on Tudor Rd6Link to Green Man on Battenburg Rd
7Link to Green Man on Guthlaxton Ave8Link to Green Man on Wolverton Rd
9Link to Green Man on Berners St10Link to Green Man on Keythorpe St
11Link to Green Man on Tudor Rd12Link to bird on Battenburg Rd
13Link to face on Queens Rd14Link to face on Raymond Rd

The Green Man in the City

The 'Green Man' is an image of a face surrounded by or made of leaves, often with foliage coming out of the mouth or ears. While we usually associate these images with churches the Victorians used them in the street as well and for over a hundred years the Green Man has looked down at us from the lintels above the doors and windows of the terraced houses of Leicester.
The faces are to be found on houses either as a single face on a row of houses with ornate details of flowers and leaves on the other lintels, or in pairs, or in groups of 4-8 (Rawson St, Danvers St). However, Green Men are not the only images to be found, there are also images of animals and humans.
1. Green Men
Leaves either surround the face or sprout from the head, the ears, the nose or mouth (1-4). Bushy moustaches sometimes extend into leaves (5-6). The face occasionally has the look of an imp of some sort (7). The images are usually portrayed full face and so far I have found only one profile (8).
2. Animals
On one house in Highfields there are two similar faces, one human and one animal, rather like a werewolf (9-10). Often the animal faces have plant life sprouting from them like the Green Men (11), but there are also straightforward representations (12). Sometimes the animals are grotesque rather than realistic.
3. Humans
Occasionally a human face is depicted without any foliage. The man with the hat has been cut in two (13), while faces are sometimes shown in profile or semi-profile (14).
Having covered almost all of the city's Victorian small terraced housing I have now found around 150 examples of these faces, just over half of which are Green Men. Almost all are on houses dating from 1888-1900, mostly above ground floor doors and windows, and just under half are on the streets off the Belgrave/Melton Road to the north of the city, the rest being fairly evenly distributed to the south, east, and west.
You can find more information about the Green Man at these websites:
The Canterbury Green Man by Nigel Rushbrook
The Mystery of the Green Man by Mike Harding
The Green Man, Variations on a Theme by Ruth Wylie
Heart of Albion Press - books by Bob Trubshaw and others.
This page was last updated on 19/10/07. New images may be added as I find them.
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