PILTON'S GREEN MAN 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 after a lapse of some centuries. 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 - is thought to have lived at The Bull Hill House just below the church until the Priory was dissolved at the Reformation.
The Ritual enacted at the Pilton Green Man Day 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 historic 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 other activities in the Church and Church Hall.
A short Super8 film of the 1982 Pilton Festival has been transferred to DVD and is available from The Pilton Story. Please contact The Pilton Story through their website www.thepiltonstory.org.
Recent Green Man Days
The picture above is a compilation of images from Pilton Green Man Days held in the mid 2000s. These show what a colourful event it is - and demonstrate how often the sun shines on the righteous folk of Pilton.