Where you are: Local History - Robin Hood
  Robyn Hode - Yorkshireman


Summary of a talk given by Eric Houlder LRPS to Tickhill and District Local History Society in March 2007



The illustrated talk attempted to trace the origins of the famous mediaeval outlaw by going back to the original ballads (particularly A Geste of Robyn Hode) to identify the real places mentioned. By this means it is possible to trace a legend which began with a forester from Outwood who was outlawed at Pontefract following the Earl of Lancasterís rebellion of 1322 and who sought refuge in Barnsdale Forrest, an area bisected by the great North Road between Darrington and Doncaster.    





The talk followed the development of the legend from the story of a local robber to film blockbusters about a world-famous outlaw, discussing the role of mediaeval minstrels, followed by Victorian novelists like Walter Scott, to modern Hollywood scriptwriters. Later additions to the list of characters like Friar Tuck, who was real but lived a century after Robin Hood, and Maid Marion who was certainly fictitious, were discussed in some detail.


Conveniently, the only time that a Sheriff of Nottingham had jurisdiction over South Yorkshire was following this rebellion. This provides a concrete date for the legend and rules out Richard I and his brother John.



Eric is a noted archaeological photographer and his illustrations of the real places associated with the Outlaw, backed up with quotes from the ballads, made the talk particularly vivid.






Eric referred to the TV documentary on the Outlaw, fronted by Tony Robinson, in which he appeared as a local expert. Having worked with Tony on a previous Time Team programme, Eric has a high regard for him.



For further information, Eric recommends the following book:-

Holt J.C.   Robin Hood   published by Thames and Hudson

(Revised and enlarged edition 1989)  ISBN 0 500 27541 6.

 It is a very useful survey of the origins and development of the Robin Hood stories with good illustrations and maps.


You may also be interested in visiting the following websites:



















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