The Green Children

One day at harvest time, according to William of Newburgh during the reign of King Stephen (1135–1154), 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 children were taken to the home of Richard de Calne. The pair refused all food for several days until they came across some raw 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 baptised.

After learning to speak English the surviving girl explained that they came from a land where the sun never shone and the light was like twilight. 

William says the children called their home St Martin's Land and everything there was green. 

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. 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.

The girl was employed for many years as a servant in Richard de Calne's household, where she was considered to be "very wanton and impudent". 

She eventually married a man from King's Lynn, about 40 miles from Woolpit.

Based on research into Richard de Calne's family history, the astronomer and writer Duncan Lunan has concluded that the girl was given the name "Agnes" and that she married a royal official named Richard Barre.

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