The Green Children of Woolpit: Legendary Visitors from another World

The Green Children of Woolpit: Legendary Visitors from another World

Who Were The Green Children Of Woolpit?

The Green Children of Woolpit were two mysterious siblings who appeared in the village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England, sometime in the 12th century. They had green skin, spoke an unknown language, and ate only green beans. Their origin and identity have puzzled historians and folklorists for centuries. Were they aliens, fairies, orphans, or something else?

The Discovery of the Green Children

The story of the Green Children of Woolpit is based on two medieval sources: William of Newburgh’s History of English Affairs (c. 1189) and Ralph of Coggeshall’s Chronicon Anglicanum (c. 1220). According to these accounts, the children were found by the villagers near a wolf pit, a deep hole used to trap wolves. The children were a boy and a girl, brother and sister, and they had green skin and wore strange clothes. They were taken to the home of Sir Richard de Calne, a local landowner.

The children refused to eat any food except raw broad beans. They also spoke a language that no one could understand. Gradually, they learned to eat other food and lost their green colour. The boy became sick and died, but the girl survived and learned to speak English.

The Story of the Green Children

When the girl was able to communicate, she told the villagers a strange story about her homeland. She said that she and her brother came from a place called St Martin’s Land, where everything was green and where there was no sun, but only a dim twilight. She said that they followed their father’s flock of sheep into a cave and heard a loud noise. They wandered through the cave until they came out at the other end and saw the bright sunlight for the first time. They were blinded by the light and confused by the unfamiliar sounds. They tried to go back to the cave, but were caught by the villagers.

The girl also said that St Martin’s Land was a Christian land and that they had been baptised. She said that they had seen a luminous land across a river, but they could not reach it. She did not know how they had become green or how they had arrived at Woolpit.

The Mystery of the Green Children

The story of the Green Children of Woolpit has fascinated and perplexed many people over the years. Some have suggested that the children were aliens from another planet or dimension, or fairies from a parallel world. Others have proposed that they were children of the forest people, a lost tribe, or a secret cult. Some have even claimed that they were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel or the survivors of Atlantis.

However, most scholars agree that the story is a legend or a folktale, based on some historical or cultural facts, but embellished and distorted over time. The most likely explanation is that the Green Children of Woolpit were two malnourished children from Flanders who spoke Flemish rather than an alien language. They may have been orphaned or abandoned during the turmoil of the 12th century, when England and Flanders were involved in wars and famines. They may have wandered into one of the many ancient mines or tunnels in the area and emerged near Woolpit. Their green skin may have been caused by a condition called chlorosis, which results from iron deficiency and makes the skin look greenish. Their strange clothes may have been typical of their region or social class.

Whatever the origin of the children, we do know what happened subsequently. The girl, whose name was given as Agnes, grew up and adapted to her new life. She was baptised again and married a man named Richard Barre, a royal official. She was said to be "very wanton and impudent", but nothing else is known about her fate. The boy’s name and burial place are unknown.

The story of the Green Children of Woolpit is a fascinating example of how legends are born and how they reflect the culture and imagination of their time. It is also a reminder of how history can be mysterious and intriguing, and how sometimes there are more questions than answers.
To Top