An illustration of the Green Children of Woolpit.

10 Things you probably didn’t know about the Green Children of Woolpit

English folklore is full of myths and legends, and one of the most curious is that of the Green Children of Woolpit.


Have you heard of one of the most mysterious legends in English medieval history – that of the green children of Woolpit?

According to medieval sources from the 12th century, two orphans appeared in a village called Woolpit, but these were not ordinary children. As I guess you understand from the title, the children had green-hued skin.


In addition to the unusual skin color, the children differed in all possible ways such as language, nutrition, and demeanor.

There is no way not to mention that there is no practical evidence of these events but since it is part of English folklore, it deserves our attention. Plus, every legend or myth starts from some kind of truth!

1. The Green children spoke an unknown language and had no knowledge of English

2. The only food they accepted was raw green beans

According to the official tale, the children refused all kinds of food until they found raw green beans in a garden and ate them from the ground.

3. The green children lost their greenish skin color once they were introduced to a normal diet

Modern outlooks on the myth suggest that the greenish skin was caused by the poor diet of the children. One scientific explanation could be that they suffered from Hypochromic Anemia which causes a green shade on the skin and could happen in the case of a terrible diet.


4. The boy passed away but the girl grew up and was integrated into the community

Months after the green children appeared, the brother died from a serious sickness. The girl, however, lived long and prosperous in her new home.

5. The girl was taught to speak English

6. Once she knew how to express herself in English, she described her home and story

According to the girl’s story, they came from an unknown underground world called “St. Martin’s Land”. Life was in a way similar to the world we know but at the same time, completely different.

7. There was no sun in the underground Land of St. Martin but a perpetual twilight

According to the girl, their homeland did not have a sun. Instead, they lived in perpetual twilight although she also mentioned that her family was herding cattle and had an active way of life which seems impossible if there is only darkness.

All in all, if we assume that an underground world exists, it would be logical that there is no light beneath the ground.

8. The girl explained that her entire homeland was green

Another curious part of the story besides the fact that St. Martin’s Land was underground is that all beings and the environment were green.


9. According to the girl, they did not know how they ended up in Woolpit

The original story told by the girl suggested that the two green children were herding the cattle when they fell in some sort of a trance. When they woke, they were no longer in St. Martin’s Land but instead, in a wolf pit near Woolpit where a local found them.

10. The girl was later baptized and married one of King Henry’s ambassadors

Historical accounts vary and the legend of the green children of Woolpit has many approaches but the most common version is that the girl was baptized and lived a long life as part of the English community. She allegedly married one of King Henry’s ambassadors although other versions suggest that she never successfully found her way into the new world and lived miserably.

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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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