The Mystery of the Green Children of Vulpit

woolpit children

The Secret of Woolpit … Near the village of Volpit, in the English region of Suffolk, workers were working in a field, when at some point they heard loud children’s cries from one of the ditches dug to hunt wolves – by which this place and got a name. When they approached, surprised, they recoiled from the strange sight. In front of them were a boy and a girl whose skin was green, dressed in unusual clothes of strange colors, made of unknown materials.

Near the village of Walpit, in the English region of Suffolk, workers were working in a field, when at some point they heard loud children’s cries from one of the ditches dug to hunt wolves – after which this place was named. When they approached, surprised, they recoiled from the strange sight. In front of them were a boy and a girl whose skin was green, dressed in unusual clothes of strange colors, made of unknown materials.


The children wandered around in confusion, and when the villagers addressed them, they answered them in some completely unknown language. They decided to take them to the village, where the locals gathered around them and interrogated them, but they could not communicate with them because of their strange language. They were then taken to the house of local landowner Richard de Calne, a few miles away. Here, the children cried and refused for days any food they would be offered, although it was clear that they were starving. Finally, he softly accidentally brought peas in pods, along with the stalks, and the boy and the girl desperately reached for him! However, they did not eat the grains, but vigorously opened the stalks and showed disappointment that there was nothing in them. After being shown how to get peas, the children survived on that food for several months, until they acquired the habit of eating bread.


In less than a year, the boy, who seemed younger, depressed and ill, died, and the girl adjusted to life in her new environment. Her skin gradually lost its earlier green color, she was baptized and learned the neglect language. Over the years, she became a healthy, young woman and later married a man from the nearby town of Lavenham, who was in the service of the new King Henry II. Some sources claim that she took the name Agnes Barre, and the chronicler Ralph of Cogeschal in the ‘English Chronicle’, which he wrote between 1187 and 1224, cites the case of the ‘Green Children’ and says that after a few years she became a widow. as far as offspring are concerned, it is speculated that Earl Ferrers originated from that marriage.


Who the ‘Green Children of Vulpit’ were remains a mystery to this day, although there have been several attempts to explain their origins. They heard loud children’s cries from one of the ditches dug to hunt wolves – which gave the place its name. Name. When they approached, surprised, they recoiled from the strange sight. In front of them were a boy and a girl whose skin was green, dressed in unusual clothes of strange colors, made of unknown materials.

What Agnes Bare told about her origins and the world she came from with her brother, from then until today, has served to develop many theories, often very fantastic, such as that of the Scottish astronomer Duncan Lunan, who claims that the children were aliens who were mistakenly transferred to Earth from another planet, due to a transmitter failure.


Agnes said that she lived with her brother in a world where eternal twilight reigns, and from her homeland one can see the ‘illuminated land’ from which it is separated by a distant river. In her country, all people have green skin. That day when they got lost, she and her brother were guarding their father’s cattle, and in search of her, they wandered into a cave.

In it they heard the loud sound of a bell and followed it through the darkness for a long time, until they saw the exit from the cave. Stepping out of it, they found themselves under strong sunlight, in the fields near Vulpit, and lay for a long time, trembling with fear in the ditch, until the noise of the reapers approaching frightened them. They got up and tried to escape, but they could no longer find the cave opening through which they came.


For the country they come from, Agnes Bare said that it is named ‘St. Martin’, after the saint who is most respected there, which served as an assumption that it is the village of Fornham St. Martin, 16 kilometers walk from Vulpit, but also that it is actually the name ‘Merlin’, associated with Arthurian legends, stories about wizards and fairies and their wonderful world.


According to some, the children somehow came from the underground world that exists in the center of the globe through the mining corridors, which have existed in that area since the Neolithic era!

More recently, researcher Paul Harris has tried, in a study published in 1998, to explain the origins of ‘Green Children’. He started from the fact that both chroniclers who wrote about the event, William of Newburgh (1136-1198), and Ralph of Cogeschal (died around 1228), did not testify first hand, that is, they recorded it many years after played out.


The existence of Richard Calne and his house in Weiks has never been confirmed, and Richard Barre, Chancellor Henry II, archdeacon and royal judge in the late twelfth century, who retired after 1202 to become canon of Leicester, could hardly be Agnes’ husband.


Harris therefore moved the events to the reign of Henry II, who, unlike Stephen, persecuted the Flemings (northern Belgians) – weavers and merchants who had settled in large numbers in England since the 11th century. The culmination occurred in 1173, when thousands of Flemings were slaughtered at the Battle of Fornham.


He theorizes that the children probably lived in the nearby village of Fornham St. Martin, and when their parents were killed in the conflict, two Flemish children fled to a dense, dark forest in Telford. There, they suffered from ‘chlorosis’, ie the so-called green disease, and their skin, due to malnutrition and chlorophyll intake, took on a greenish color. He believes that the children followed the church bells of Barry St. Edmunds and wandered into one of the many mining corridors, left behind by flint mines, about four thousand years old, to finally arrive in Vulpit in that state of malnutrition, in strange clothes and speaking Flemish.


Paul Harris’s hypothesis undoubtedly suggests credible answers to many of the riddles of the vulpit mystery, but as a whole it does not work for many reasons. When Henry II came to power and decided to expel the Flemish merchants and weavers, they had lived in England for generations. In the Civil War and at the Battle of Fornham they were hired to fight Henry’s army, along with the rebellious knights, and there they were massacred, but hardly to take their families with them. The survivors were captured and killed by the local population. However, as for the ‘unknown language’, the landowner Richard Kalne, with whom Agnes worked as a maid, or one of his household or visitors, was certainly educated enough to recognize him as Flemish, as he was widespread in eastern England in that time!


The configuration of the terrain does not fit into Paul Harris’s theory either, because he says that children hide in the Telford forest and hear the bells of Bury St. Edmunds, and then reach Vulpit through the underground corridors. First of all, St. Edmunds is about 40 kilometers away from Telford Forest and children certainly could not hear the bells at that distance. In addition, there are no underground passages in this forest part that would lead to Vulpit, and the distance of about 50 kilometers, for starving children, is too great for walking! Nor can the existence of the ‘distant river’ of which Agnes Bare speaks be connected with the Lark River, which is too narrow to ‘separate the two worlds’, but Harris ’version is nevertheless most widely accepted.

Although the story dates back to the 12th century, it has constantly stimulated the imagination over the centuries, so it was found in Robert Barton’s’ Anatomy of Melancholy ‘, written in 1621, and using original sources, it was edited by Thomas Kajgtli in 1828 in’ Mythology fairy tales’.

What introduces us to perhaps the true story of the folklore and fairy tales of old England from which the legend of the ‘Green Children’ probably originated is the 1595 publication of the ‘Children of the Forest’, published in Norwich, which sets the event in Weiland Wood. near Telford Forest, on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk. It tells the story of a medieval earl from Norfolk who, as an uncle and guardian, was entrusted with two children, a three-year-old boy and a young girl. To get their money, the cruel uncle hired two men to take them to the forest and kill them, but they took pity on them and left them in the forest, where they finally died of starvation and exhaustion. The Vulpit variant, however, says that they survived an attempt at arsenic poisoning – which made their skin green – and then fled to Vulpit where they were found by harvesters.

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