Gawain and the Green Knight


Project Information


From 01 March 2013

Until 31 July 2013

Artists: Creeping Toad, Ruth Evans and Hannah Jones


Read the project blog by Creeping Toad.


Read the poem Five Children created by the pupils and Creeping Toad.


Read extracts from the evaluation by David Smith.


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Gawain and the Green Knight

From the manuscript of Gawain and the Green Knight

“Deep in the woods

there is a wonderful palace.

A wild, woven willow hall

with windows looking out onto the world…”

We were delighted to win an award from the Clore Foundation’s Poetry and Literature Programme. Our Creative Learning team introduced three practitioners to work with two Pendle schools: Roughlee Primary and Whitefield Infants. Children developed ideas for writing from the poem, Gawain and the Green Knight, by working with storyteller Gorden Maclellan a.k.a. Creeping Toad. Gordon has led the children from Roughlee & Whitefield to rework the narrative poem Gawain and the Green Knight based on their collective experience working in Wycoller Country Park.

They also explored the poem with musician Hannah Jones, creating new songs which pick up the alliterative quality of the original poem. At the same time they created a Bayeux-type tapestry, with artist Ruth Evans, to form a storyboard which can be used by other teaching groups in their school. Much of this work has taken place in Wycoller Country Park.

The programme is about developing the children’s writing skills as well as introducing them to high quality literature.

There was a magnificent climax to the project in the Wycoller sunshine on July 15th 2013.  Against a backdrop of the ruined hall, the greenery of the shrubberies and lawns, 54 children sang and retold their own version of Gawain and the Green Knight. Throughout, their work was reflected by four huge tapestries hung in the ruins which provided a story-board for the narrative of the poem. Many thanks for the excellence of our artists: Gordon McLellan of Creeping Toad for the recasting of the poem, Ruth Evans for the tapestries, and Hannah Jones for her music.

Five Children is the wonderful response to a reading of the narrative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Wycoller Country Park. The project involved 27 children across all ages from Roughlee Primary School and 27 children from a Year 2 class at Whitefield Infants in Nelson.  Their version of the story reveals a real understanding of how alliteration works, the picaresque tradition in literature and a high quality response to the original. It is long… but persevere, because it is a high quality piece of work which deserves to be read FIVE CHILDREN

Quotes from the children:

  • I've learnt to be more imaginative about storytelling.  I've had more ideas for my stories.
  • The visits to Wycoller were brilliant!  We heard magic sounds, saw creepy ruins and smelled different smells which made me feel that the story we made was real.
  • The Sir Gawain and the Green Knight project has made me read aloud more.  The next time when I do a project I'll be really confident at reading to other people.
  • I learnt lots of interesting things from the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight project - more about musical instruments that sounded like creatures, instruments I hadn't heard before.  I'm more confident now I have done all of the things we did together.
  • I feel I enjoyed every bit of the experience and I learnt that you can make the most unlikely creatures ever!
  • I think the Sir Gawain project has helped me to be more confident and has made me more responsible in what I do.