Come all you brave gallants, an listen a while,

For of Robin Hood, that archer good,

A song I intend to sing.

"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men. Feared by the bad, loved by the good, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood. He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green. They vowed to help the people of the King. They handled all the trouble on the English country scene and still found plenty of time to sing..."
Here begynneth a Gest of Robyn Hode

Well, I love Robin Hood. What I love even more is believing that this legend must be based on a real man. And what a man indeed! To survive in legend and lore for nearly 800 years. I traveled through Britain photographing some of the place names which I have included in this site

Most of us know Robin Hood from the legends based on 'A Gest of Robyn Hode' from the press of the English printer, Wynken de Worde, who worked between 1510 and 1515. I know Robin from Richard Greene's sexy portrayal in the British series 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' in the 1950's. There wasn't a morning before I was off to school that I wasn't glued to the TV, munching my cheerios, watching Robin Hood. It even spurred my early fascination with England. More recently Jason Connery and Michael Praed starred again in 'Robin of Sherwood', and added a mythical, mystical twist to the tale. Much of the information in this website comes from J.C. Holt's book 'Robin Hood'. He gets credit, because his is the one of the few recent books (like this century) on Robin Hood that contains almost everything you ever wanted to know about Robin Hood [historically]. Although it does read as an excellent, scholarly, somewhat dry overview of what we know, it lacks the flair of a fervent, personal quest. But that's just my opinion.

"Walter Bower wrote in 1440 in the Scotichronicon...'Then arose [1266] the famous murderer, Robert Hood, as well as Little John. Together with their accomplices from the disposed, whom the foolish populace are so inordinately fond of celebrating both in tragedy and comedy.'" Another Scotsman John Major chose to place Robin during 1193-4 when Richard I, following his crusade was captive in Germany. It is this date that is generally accepted.

Most of us believe that Robin lived in Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham. The truth is that Robin lived in the area of Barnsdale, north of Doncaster and Nottingham. We've forgotten that Britain's great forests once covered a much larger area than the small remnant of Sherwood's mighty forest that remains today. John Leland, the king's antiquary to Henry VIII recorded the association of Robin Hood with Barnsdale and his burial at Kirklees Abbey. Leland wrote that he had seen...'the wooddi and famose forest of Barnsdale, where they say Robyn Hudde lyvid like an outlaw'. In legend, Robin Hood the outlaw killed the king's deer. The forests of Barnsdale and the surrounding area were not royal forests, as was Sherwood, and therefore not covered by forest law, so Robin could not have killed the king's deer in Barnsdale. The forests at Barnsdale, or greenery as Little John called it, seems to have derived its later reputation as a royal forest from the legend and its proximity to Sherwood.

The areas associated with the legend surround the area of Barnsdale. Hathersage, Wakefield, Watling Street, Pontefract, Skell, Fentwick, Stubbs and Norton which lay in the valley of the Went below Wentbridge. In the Gest Little John stood at Sayles and 'loked into Bernysdale'. He was looking at Wentbridge lying in the deeply cut valley of the Went. It was here that Robin found refuge with Sir Richard at the Lee, [Richard Foliot] a knight of some prominence who held lands at the eastern bounds of Sherwood and from his castle in Fentwick he could see the sun go down over Barnsdale. The monks at Kirkstall held lands given to them by Henry de Lacy [Pontefract] in c.1152. Kirklees, the legendary site of Robin's grave is a mere twenty miles west of Barnsdale. The northern tip of the true Sherwood lay less than thirty miles to the south and Nottingham twenty miles beyond that. The whole area could be traveled in a day. The Great North Road lies two miles southeast of Wentbridge. Barnsdale Bar, where the Great North Road forks from the Old Roman Road [Roman Ridge or Watling Street] to Castleford is at the southern boundary of this area.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem the oldest pub in England.
At the foot of Nottingham Castle stands Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem

This pub hosts a secret tunnel that went from the old castle to the pub. It was the place to go, before shipping off to the Crusades and legend has it that Richard I, had a beer here. He did stay at Nottingham Castle in 1194. It is actually carved out of the side of the mountain. Each of its rooms are hollowed out of bare rock. It has beer cellars and dungeons, and little corners to drink in called Snug and Mortimer's. It is the coolest place to go. They haven't redecorated since the twelfth century! Except for the lounge bar where it looks like a set from Sherlock Holmes.

Nottingham Castle
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068

Sorry folks, it's gone. It was demolished from within by gunpowder in 1651. It got caught taking sides during the Civil War. In its place was built Ducal Palace, which stands today and is a museum for the city of Nottingham. All that remains of the castle is Henry III's Castle Gate. Mortimer's Hole, on the castle grounds was the entrance to a passage that leads to the base of rock below, hence the pub's corner room called Mortimer's Room. [Roger Mortimer murdered Edward II here in 1327] The museum that now stands in its place is interesting, but not spine tingling, and little about Robin can be found there. What is interesting, are the castle grounds, which allow one to see the excavations showing the foundations dating to 1068. Outside the Castle Gate is the small statue of Robin Hood, which always has the arrow missing [due to theft]. Rather fitting, I guess.

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