The Green Children of Woolpit

The Green Children of Woolpit: the 12th century legend of visitors from another world

(Read the article on one page)

The Children of Woolpit is an ancient account dating back to the 12 th century, which tells of two children that appeared on the edge of a field in the village of Woolpit in England.  The young girl and boy had green-hued skin and spoke an unknown language. The children became sick and the boy died, but the girl recovered and over the years came to learn English. She later relayed the story of their origins, saying they came from a place called St Martin’s Land, which existed in an atmosphere of permanent twilight, and where the people lived underground.  While some view the story as a folk tale that that describes an imaginary  encounter with inhabitants of another world beneath our feet or even extraterrestrial, others accept it as a real, but somewhat altered account of a historical event that merits further investigation.

The account is set in the village of Woolpit located in Suffolk, East Anglia. In the Middle Ages, it lay within the most agriculturally productive and densely populated area of rural England. The village had belonged to the rich and powerful Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.

The ruins of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds

The ruins of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds ( Wikipedia)

The story was recorded by two 12 th century chroniclers  - Ralph of Coggestall (died c 1228 AD), an abbot of a Cistercian monastery at Coggeshall (about 26 miles / 42 km south of Woolpit), who recorded his account of the green children in the Chronicon Anglicanum (English Chronicle); and William of Newburgh (1136-1198 AD), an English historian and canon at the Augustinian Newburgh Priory, far to the north in Yorkshire, who includes the story of the green children in his main work Historia rerum Anglicarum (History of English Affairs).  The writers stated that the events took place within the reign of King Stephen (1135-54) or King Henry II (1154-1189), depending on which version of the story you read.

The Story of the Green Children

According to the account of the green children, a boy and his sister were found by reapers working their fields at harvest time near some ditches that had been excavated to trap wolves at St Mary’s of the Wolf Pits (Woolpit). Their skin was tinged with a green hue, their clothes were made from unfamiliar materials, and their speech was unintelligible to the reapers. They were taken to the village, where they were eventually accepted into the home of local landowner, Sir Richard de Caine at Wilkes. 

The children would not eat any food presented to them but appeared starving. Eventually, the villagers brought round recently harvested beans, which the children devoured. They survived only on beans for many months until they acquired a taste for bread.

The boy became sick and soon succumbed to illness and died, while the girl remained in good health and eventually lost her green-tinged skin. She learned how to speak English and was later married to a man at King’s Lynn, in the neighboring county of Norfolk. According to some accounts, she took the name ‘Agnes Barre’ and the man she married was an ambassador of Henry II, although these details have not been verified. After she learned how to speak English, she relayed the story of their origins.

Artist’s depiction of the Green Children of Woolpit

Artist’s depiction of the Green Children of Woolpit ( Image source )

A Strange Underground Land

The girl reported that she and her brother came from the “Land of Saint Martin”, where there was no sun, but a perpetual twilight, and all the inhabitants were green like them. She described another ‘luminous’ land that could be seen across a river.

She and her brother were looking after their father’s flock, when they came upon a cave. They entered the cave and wandered through the darkness for a long time until they came out the other side, entering into bright sunlight, which they found startling. It was then that they were found by the reapers.

Explanations

Over the centuries, many theories have been put forward to explain this strange account. Regarding their green colouring, one proposal is that the children were suffering from Hypochromic Anemia, originally known as Chlorosis (coming from the Greek word ‘Chloris’, meaning greenish-yellow). The condition is caused by a very poor diet that affects the color of the red blood cells and results in a noticeably green shade of the skin. In support of this theory is the fact that the girl is described as returning to a normal color after adopting a healthy diet.

Comments

I am going to say this article is really well written by the author ad filled with informative stuff which I will like to pass through to my family after my<a href="https://www.goldenbustours.com/yosemite-tours" rel="nofollow"></a>yosemite bus tours

The Greek philosopher Anaxágoras mentioned in his work "Sobre la Naturaleza" the existence of intelligent beings very similar to humans who lived in a parallel world to our own. This other world also had characteristics we would find familiar such as mountains, lakes, rivers, woods, communities etc.

A parallel world without sun is suggested in modern times by the official report on the mysterious disappearance of Five Avenger aircraft flying a navigation training mission from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The base was in contact with the aircraft by radio throughout the five hours of their last known existence when they appeared to have entered the parallel world. They were told to fly West but were unable to do so because "the compasses didn't work" and they could not find the sun. Although they flew and flew for five hours at low level and saw many islands, they never once saw a merchant ship, fishing vessel, yacht or sign of life.

I find it not difficult to believe that there are portals between this world and the parallel world, and that both by accident, as happened with the Woolpit children, or by design, it is possible to make the transit. The learned explanations never accept this possibility: every academic that ever was has to find the alternative explanation, no matter how complicated and bare of proof it may be.

Thanks for a good introductory article. Just a few points if I may: 'chlorosis' is now considered to be 'a disease that never was', a catch-all name for a variety of nervous conditions suffered by young women in early industrial society, including what we now call anorexia. None of the details fit the Green Children case. There is no record of any Flemish community in the area. There was a Flemish invasion of East Anglia in the winter of 1173, but both chronicles agree the children appeared in summer. Being Flemish doesn't explain why the children were green, nor why nobody understood them: Woolpit was an aspiring market town on what was then the principal pilgrim route in England, and the children were taken to Richard de Calna, who is hard to trace, because it seems he was the head of Henry II's secret service. Nor, if they were only Flemish refugees or runaways, why would the case have interested any of the 'witnesses of such quality' cited by William of Newburgh - apparently including the king, de Calna, the head of the Knights Templar in England, the bishop of London and the ambassador Richard Barre, who married the girl if my thesis is correct - not to mention the Pope!

Analog has a long tradition of publishing cutting-edge or controversial science articles, and as a frequent contributor at the time, when I went to Woolpit I didn't think I would find more than some local background for another article. I went armed with a set of questions supplied by a historian friend, and the trail that I uncovered was so detailed that by the time the article was accepted, it was clear there would be enough material for a book. That was published as "Children from the Sky" by Mutus Liber in Edinburgh in 2012, and I would recommend anyone who's interested in the story to read the investigation in full. It is a fascinating story and although I can scarcely believe what I'm looking at, it really looks like ET abductions, for experimental purposes, with the knowledge if not the connivance of at least some of the terrestrial authorities - the X-Files in the 12th century!

The wolf pits, from which the village of Woolpit took its name, hint at the elemental root of the myth.  Two children emerging from a wolf pit.  One diagnosis is lycanthropy.  The odds are, they were Flemish.  Flanders sits next to France.  When the floods came, the Flemish migrated to the British isle.  The loup-garou came with them.  That is why the children did not eat.  Peasants would not have been offered meat.   Then the childrens' canine senses, with heightened smell, detected in beans the nutrient and amino acid profiles, that approximate those of fresh meat.  It even explains the boy's death here: https://youtu.be/Hcp_Y6tcTTk

If we ,truly, live in a 4-dimensional world,time being one of them,then i guess people can travel through time.If we can really travel through time and change the past or the course of history then there is no such thing as truth in this life.

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Ancient Places

Some of the Mitla mosaics.
Unique and curious designs plaster the walls of the most popular Zapotec archaeological site in Mexico. They are called the Mitla mosaics and are unrivalled in their precision and quality of workmanship. But a mystery surrounds the carved symbols as some researchers suggest they contain a coded language just waiting to be deciphered.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article