THE FESTIVAL STORY
Pilton was granted a charter to hold an annual market by Edward III (left) who reigned from 1327 to 1377. This market is a major feature of the Festival (see Stalls & Crafts) and enables craftsmen and women to show and sell their work, and also provides charity workers with the opportunity to raise money for worthy causes in an atmosphere of fun and spectacle.
The association with the Green Man dates from the recent revival in 1982 after a lapse of some years. The Green Man is an ancient symbol of nature and fertility, frequently depicted in carvings in old churches as a face sprouting foliage. A splendid green man carving is present on the screen between the Chancel and the Raleigh Chapel in the ancient Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Pilton. The Prior of the Benedictine Priory of Pilton - a cell of Malmesbury Abbey - lived at The Bull House just below the church until the Reformation.
The Ritual enacted at the Pilton Festival is believed to represent the initial antagonism of the two characters, Prior and Green Man, and the subsequent inclusion of the pagan figure within St Mary's Church. Indeed it was the Rector of St Mary's Church in 1982 - Rev. Anthony Geering - who was instrumental in the revival of the Festival as part of a month long programme of events in June and July with an historic pageant, stalls along Pilton Street and a Flower Festival and Summer Concert in the church.
A short Super8 film of the 1982 Pilton Festival has recently been transferred to DVD and was shown in Pilton Church Hall in January 2012. It will be shown again on 4th June 2012 as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
The picture above is a compilation of images from Pilton Festivals held in recent years. These show what a colourful event it is - and demonstrate how often the sun shines on the righteous folk of Pilton.