The chimney-sweeps' May Day Jack in the Green

In the 16th and 17th centuries in England people would make garlands of flowers and leaves for the May Day celebration. After becoming a source of competition between Works Guilds, these garlands became increasingly elaborate, to the extent that it covered the entire man. This became known as Jack in the Green. For some reason the figure became particularly associated with chimney sweeps

Chimney Sweepers on May-day, 1823

A chimney sweeps' Jack in the Green dances with the
"Lord and Lady of the May" (probably both played by men)
in 18th-century London

Thomas Sevestre: 'Jack in the Green, May Day Celebrations
of the Chimney Sweeps of London', 1850.
Found here: Andrew Graham Dixon - a great place to read about
the chimney sweepers’ May Day Festival in London!


Sara said...

I love this post! Jack-in-the-Green always makes me think of Jethro Tull's song. :-)

Thanks so much for digging all these images up.--I've linked to it on my blog. Happy May to you!!

Aputsiaq said...

Hi Sara! I was thinking of Jethro Tull too...almost posting his song...but I'm so glad you did ;O)

Thanks for linking to my blog ;O)) And Happy May to you too!