Who were the Green Children Of Woolpit?

The Legend Of Green Children Of Woolpit

LOCATION :  Woolpit in Suffolk, England.

During 12th Century, perhaps during the reign of King Stephen an event occurred which is perhaps the most unexplained mystery till today. 


SOURCE : maphill

The account is set in the village of Woolpit located in Suffolk, East Anglia. In the Middle Ages, it lay within the most agriculturally productive and densely populated area of rural England. The village had belonged to the rich and powerful Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.

The ruins of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds

STORY On a Sunny day the villagers of Woolpit discovered two children, a brother and sister, beside one of the wolf pits that gave the village its name.Their skin was green, they spoke an unknown language, and their clothing was unfamiliar.

The pair refused all food for several days until they came across some raw broad beans, which they consumed eagerly.The children gradually adapted to normal food and in time lost their green color. The boy, who appeared to be the younger of the two, became sickly and died shortly after he and his sister were baptized.

  • Two writers, Ralph of Coggeshall (died c. 1226) and William of Newburgh (c. 1136–1198), reported on the sudden and unexplained arrival in the village of two green children during one summer in the 12th century.
  • William states that the account given in his Historia rerum Anglicarum (c. 1189) is based on "reports from a number of trustworthy sources".
  • Ralph's account in his Chronicum Anglicanum, written some time during the 1220s, incorporates information from Sir Richard de Calne of Wykes,who reportedly gave the green children refuge in his manor.


After learning to speak English, the children the surviving girl, explained that they came from a land where the sun never shone and the light was like twilight. She called her home St Martin's Land and adds that everything there was green.

According to William, the children were unable to account for their arrival in Woolpit; they had been herding their father's cattle when they heard a loud noise and suddenly found themselves by the wolf pit where they were found.

Ralph says that they had become lost when they followed the cattle into a cave and, after being guided by the sound of bells, eventually emerged into our land.


  • With regards to the description of the strange land, Paul Harris suggested in Fortean Studies 4 (1998) that the children were Flemish orphans, possibly from a nearby place known as Fornham St. Martin, which was separated from Woolpit by the River Lark. A lot of Flemish immigrants had arrived during the 12 th century but were persecuted under the reign of King Henry II. In 1173, many were killed near Bury St Edmunds. If they had fled into Thetford Forest, it may have seemed like permanent twilight to the frightened children. 
  • In a 1996 article published in the magazine Analog, astronomer Duncan Lunan hypothesised that the children were accidentally transported to Woolpit from their home planet as the result of a "matter transmitter" malfunction. Lunan suggests that the planet from which the children were expelled may be trapped in synchronous orbit around its sun, presenting the conditions for life only in a narrow twilight zone between a fiercely hot surface and a frozen dark side. 
  • Lunan was not the first to state that the green children may have been extraterrestrials. Robert Burton suggested in his 1621 The Anatomy of Melancholy that the green children "fell from Heaven". 
 Besides there a number of other explanations given by various authors in their respective works.

The story of the green children has endured for over eight centuries since the first recorded accounts. While the real facts behind the story may never be known....



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