Select Green Miscellany

Here are some Green stories and accounts over the years:

The Early Grenes of Buckton

The de la Zouche family is thought to have arrived in England from Brittany sometime around 1160.  Alexander de la Zouche was given an estate and the title of Great Baron by King John in 1202. The estate was that of Grene de Boketon in Northamptonshire.

The line then went to Walter de Boketon who was in the Seventh Crusade in 1244 and his son John who died in the next crusade in 1271.  John left a one year old son, Thomas, who became Sir Thomas de Grene and was followed in the mid-13th century by another Sir Thomas de Grene. 

They lived in high style if this account is anything to go by: 

“The Lords de Grene lived in state.  They wore rich apparel, belted with a gold or silver girdle to which was attached a purse, rosary, pen, ink horn, set of keys, and an elaborately chased and sheathed dagger. These accoutrements showed their rank.  When they rode, they always wore gold spurs, and their armor was brightly polished and magnificent. 

They wore robes in Parliament, hats and plumes at court and at the king's coronation, and a crimson velvet cap lined with ermine and having a plain gold band. Their servants wore the Greene livery, which was blue and laced with gold.“

John Greene the Yorkist

John Greene was reputedly one of the top swordsmen in England and a favorite of the Yorkist Richard III.  In 1483 he was used by the King as a messenger to the Keeper of the Tower of London to give notice that his two nephews, "the little Princes in the Tower," should be put to death.  

When Henry VII came to the throne in 1485 he bore enmity against the House of Greene.  Old Sir Thomas Greene was imprisoned in the Tower on the charge of plotting treason.  John Greene was held in particular low regard because he had played the role of messenger in Richard’s wicked designs.  John fled England lest he be captured by the King.  

It was said that "John the Fugitive" did return to England and for safety reasons assumed the name of John Clarke.  Despite this change of name, his identity was discovered.  He again fled England; and his further history is unknown.

Greene Brewers

The Greene family had been involved in the woollen drapery business in Oundle, Northamptonshre for most of the 18th century.  It was Benjamin Greene, born in 1780 and the youngest of thirteen children in the family, who was to move them in a different direction. 

Benjamin had been apprenticed as a young lad to the London brewing firm of Whitbread in the late 1790’s.  He took that training with him when he started his brewing business in Bury St. Edmonds in 1801 and five years later took over the established Westgate brewery there. 

Benjamin later got sidetracked by sugar plantations in the West Indies that he had inherited from a neighbor. 

It was his son Edward who refocused the Greene attention on beer.  He expanded and transformed their brewery business between 1840 and 1870.  In 1887 he merged it with the King brewery to found Greene King, a major brewery still around today and still based in Bury St. Edmonds

Memorials of Nathanael Greene

There are countless cities, counties, and parks in America that have been named in honor of Nathanael Greene, the Revolutionary War General.  

A large bronze statue of him stands on a marble pedestal by the steps of the Rhode Island State House and, inside, there is a large oil portrait of him.  His statue represents the state of Rhode Island at the National Hall of Statuary in the Capitol at Washington.   And a monument to Greene (under which his remains were interred) stands at Johnson Square in Savannah.

He is also memorialized by an equestrian statue designed by Francis Packard at the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in Greensboro, the city named after him in North Carolina.  Another statue of him stands in the middle of the traffic circle between Greene Street and McGee Street in downtown Greensboro. Greeneville in Tennessee and Greenville in South Carolina were also named after him.

Henrietta Greene, Mother Clare

Augustine and Catherine Greene raised five boys and six girls at Liscannor in county Clare.  Four of their daughters became nuns.

Henrietta was the second youngest of these daughters and she entered the religious sisterhood of Nazareth in London before her 15th birthday in 1881.  Her convent name was Mother Clare. 

Seven years later she left London on the long sea journey for Australia and made her way to the gold mining town of Ballarat.  This was to be her spiritual home for the rest of her life.  She did return to London for a while and in 1929, at the invitation of Archbishop Mannix, opened Nazareth House in Melbourne which she directed for six years. Then she returned to her beloved Ballarat, where she died in 1945.

Green and Greene

Green and Greene are the two main spellings in the English-speaking world.  Greene is now scarce in England, but relatively more common in Ireland and America (and particularly in North Carolina).  The table below shows the approximate number of Greens and Greenes today.

Numbers (000's)
Elsewhere (1)
(1)  Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Return to Top of Page
Return to Green Main Page