Greenwell’s Glory - step by step

The Greenwell’s Glory a fly invented in 1854 by Canon William Greenwell of Durham on the Tweed at Sprouston and originally tied for him by local well known fly tyer, Jimmy Wright.

The original dressing as given by Greenwell to Wright was “the inside of a blackbird's wing, with a body of red and black hackle, tied with yellow silk”.

In 1903 the first variation appeared, though the variation is the more accepted standard dressing in use today and is similar to the dressing I use. It was by E M Tod and is as follows.

"Body: Yellow tying silk, waxed with cobbler's wax, to impart to the body a greenish-yellow hue. This is ribbed over with yellow gimp, or finest gold wire."
"Hackle: Coch-y-Bonddhu."
"Wings: Blackbird, tied in a bunch and split"

You can read some of the history and see more variations here....

Whichever version or variation you use, fish with confidence whenever Olives are on the water.

This is a split wing dry version. I have used Widgeon for the wing. You can, of course, use any similar grey wing slip or Blackbird as in the original.

Instructions assume right-handed tyers

Materials list
HOOK – Dry Fly 10-16
SILK – Pearsall’s Yellow, Waxed with Cobbler’s Wax
BODY – Silk
RIB – Fine Gold Wire
TAIL – Coch-y-Bonddhu Hackle fibres (optional) (Or Greenwell’s Cock)
HACKLE – Coch-y-Bonddhu Cock. (Or Greenwell’s Cock)
WING – Widgeon (or any Grey wing slip)


STEP 1 Mount the hook in the vice, attach the silk and wrap to the one quarter point as shown.
STEP 2 Mount the paired wing slips as you would for a wet fly.
STEP 3 Then lift the slips to the upright position and pull the butts, one each side round the base of the wings.
STEP 4 Tie down the butts close the base of the wings. This will hold the wings in the upright position.
STEP 5 Finally, trim the butts and over-wrap with the silk.
STEP 6 Continue wrapping the thread towards the hook bend, catching the rib in as you go.
STEP 7 Tie in the tail fibres (optional) and wrap the thread to a position just before the wings - three thread wraps.
STEP8 Wrap the rib in even turns and tie off. Do not cut the wire, instead rotate it until it breaks.
STEP 9 Mount the hackle.
STEP 10 Wrap the hackle, here I have used three turns behind and three turns in front of the wings, and tie off.
STEP 11 Finally whipfinish, and if you wish, varnish for the completed fly.
Canon Greenwell with a few of his progeny

Dennis Shaw was born into a fanatical fishing family at Dalbeattie in Southwest Scotland. He graduated from the local "Barr Burn", with the proverbial cane, wool and bent pin for eels, to fishing the local rivers and lochs. Now married with a son and daughter and fishing the chalkstreams of Southern England, Dennis is always yearning for "home". He has been tying flies for over 35 years yet still learns something new every day.