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The Green Children of Woolpit
Tue 16 May 2017, 19:30 – 21:00 BST
One summer in the 12th century harvesters in the fields of the Suffolk village of Woolpit were amazed when two children suddenly appeared, as if out of the ground. Their skin was green, and they spoke an unintelligible language. Later, when they had learnt enough English to communicate, they said they came from a land called St Martin’s Land, where the sun never shone.
The ‘Green Children of Woolpit’ have inspired short stories, novels, plays, poems, pop songs, a teaching resource in drama on the theme of ‘Community cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism’, and an opera. They have been identified as fairy-folk, as extraterrestrials, as strays from a family of Flemish weavers, or as descendants of humans once abducted by aliens, returned to earth via a matter transmitter.
John Clark, formerly curator of the medieval collections at the Museum of London, returns to the original texts to disentangle the ‘facts’ of what has been described as ‘a classic of forteana’, and to consider the pros and cons of some of the many ‘explanations’. He does not promise a solution!