Summary of a talk given by
Eric Houlder LRPS to Tickhill and District Local History Society
in March 2007
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.
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
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.
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.
further information, Eric recommends the following book:-
J.C. Robin Hood published by Thames and Hudson
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.
also be interested in visiting the following websites: