Published Apr 15. 2022 - 1 year ago
Updated or edited Apr 18. 2022

Greenwell’s Glory

The Greenwell's Glory is a very old pattern. Its origin story dates to 1854 in Durham County England where William Greenwell came up empty handed after a day of fishing but captured a dun that he believed the fish to be feeding on to bring to his local shop and fly dresser. The owner created a pattern that was so successful the following day, that they held a little celebration at the shop and someone suggested the name Greenwell's Glory and so it was named.

The original pattern calls for a fly tied with yellow silk waxed and the silk as the body. The wing is from the inside of a hen blackbird and the legs or hackle from a hen feather where the center is black and the outer edges red. Today common substitutions are Starling for the hen blackbird. The hen hackle color is typically called "furnace". Some hackle sellers market a "greenwells" as a color which is a furnace with a lighter shade on the edges than the "red" it looks a bit more "golden brown" than "red brown".

There are many variations of this pattern in many books. A common addition is a gold wire rib.

The winging method is often now done with matching slips. I believe, and some very experienced anglers in a soft hackle group I belong to also believe, it was most likely a rolled or folded wing. This means that one primary quill feather is used and a chunk is cut off and folded in half or in 4 and then mounted. Edmonds and Lee specifically mention "bunched" so that is probably more like rolling or simply grouping the fibers together. Some split the wing...I did not bother. Up to you.

Materials used in this video are:

Hook: Partridge SLD fine dry fly hook barbless size 14
Thread: Kimono 301 primrose yellow silk
Wax: cobbler's wax
Wing: Starling primary folded so inside is facing out.
Hackle: Whiting Hen cape - color according to whiting is a brown variant but it has a black center and golden/reddish tinged brown edge.

Adam Rieger

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