Owston Abbey 'Green Man'
Approx 15th century AD
During the Middle Ages - also known as the Medieval period - around 800 years ago (AD 1066 - 1539), religious centres such as monasteries, abbeys, friaries and priories were important parts of society. As well as being places where people devoted their lives to the worship of God, they were also centres of learning and culture. Many of them became important economic centres and their leaders were often involved in the political life of the country.
Different religious Orders set up their own centres. For example, the Augustinians had a priory at Ulverscroft, a nunnery at Grace Dieu, and an abbey in Leicester. The Cistercians had an important abbey at Garendon near Loughborough. There were three friaries in Leicester. Owston Abbey was also an Augustinian foundation, beginning in the late 12th century.
This wooden 'Green Man' carving came from the screen in the Abbey church. It was cut out during renovations in the 19th century. The 'Green Man' has a long and interesting history as it appears in both non-Christian and Christian traditions. The Green Man has been associated with seasonal rebirth and renewal and as such transferred easily into Christian imagery.
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Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013