Investigating the Green Chapel in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"


Dr Lily Hawker-Yates

Investigating the Green Chapel in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

Time and Date: Sunday 1 May, 14:00 - 15:00

Ticket price: £10 in person/ £9 online

Location: St Gregory’s Zg01: CT1 1QU

Biographical note

Dr Lily Hawker-Yates has a PhD in History from Canterbury Christ Church University, her thesis explored barrows in the cultural imagination of later medieval England. She currently works as a public engagement archaeologist for L-P : Archaeology.

Event details

The 14th century anonymous poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells the story of Gawain, nephew of King Arthur. In it, Gawain searches for the Green Chapel, where he must meet the Green Knight and, as part of a game played the previous Christmas, be beheaded. In the 2021 film The Green Knight, the Green Chapel is portrayed as simply that; the ruins of a nominally medieval chapel, overrun with greenery. In the Middle English poem, however, the Green Chapel is something entirely different. Described as a mound, a barrow, an old cavern, and a cleft in a crag, Gawain himself cannot recognise what it is. This paper will discuss the nature of the Green Chapel, and how the events which take place there may help define or be defined by it. It explores how themes such as justice, morality and death are tied into the landscape by the Gawain poet.


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Last edited: 16/12/2021 15:46:00