Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Robin Hood: Fact or Fiction?

Or a mixture of both?

As part of my ongoing Robin Hood kick, I thought I'd research him just a little for yet another BIP Bingo post that's taking me out of my box and making me think.

Here's some random quotes I've found:

By 1300 at least 8 people were called Robinhood, and at least 5 of those were fugitives from the law. In 1266 the Sherrif of Nottingham, William de Grey, was in active conflict with outlaws in Sherwood Forest. It seems most likely that a number of different outlaws built upon the reputation of a fugitive in the forest, and over time, the legend grew. BritainExpress.com

Despite Robin's "legend" status, there are many reasons to believe that Robin Hood could well have been a real historical figure. Researchers into the legend have uncovered compelling evidence about this historical period here in Nottingham that points to an underlying reality for our favourite Outlaw. The Robin Hood Legend

It is at Kirklees Priory that the supposed grave of Robin Hood can still be seen to this day.Sadly, much of Kirklees Priory is now ruined but roughly 600 metres from the gatehouse a medieval gravestone was found bearing a partial inscription "here lies Robard Hude..." RobinHood.info

Stephen Knight said in an interview,
"I'm skeptical that there was a real Robin Hood. I think it is a mythic name like Santa Claus. You become Santa Claus when you put a beard on and give presents to children at Christmas. And you become Robin Hood when you're an outlaw, and live in the forest shooting the king's deer. That did happen."
Criminals weren't the only to take the name "Robin Hood". The outlaw legend became a celebrated part of the May Games. Robin was seen as a mythic summer king leading a procession. This tied Robin into other forest legends.   BoldOutlaw.com

Modern literature regarding Robin Hood begain to appear in the 1800's. Many of these authors merely collected the stories from the old ballads; others tried to link the ballads together into a single cohesive story. Still others used the ballads as a starting place for their own original interpretations. Shadows of Sherwood

Also from Shadows of Sherwood: a link to a list of Robin Hood novels and a link of a list of Robin Hood movies

Here's some images of Robin Hood. Who's your favorite?

Here's the trailer for the upcoming movie, to be released May 14th:

And so what do I think about Robin Hood? My conclusion is the same as what I think about King Arthur. There was someone that the ballads and stories were based on. Through the generations, things changed and perhaps several different people's stories were melded into one. But somewhere, sometime, someone existed that made these stories have a beginning. So, yes, I believe! Do you?


  1. I do! I believe! I love Robin Hood. I think it comes down to my dad, who will watch/read/listen to anything about some of his childhood heroes (Superman, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn!) and it's rubbed off on me.

  2. Of course I believe! As to my favorite, you forgot Sean Connery. Check it out


    But since I have yet to see Crowes versions I am probably most taken with Costner's portrayal, Even though I love Connery.

  3. Clover: Yeah! :)

    Jan: How could I forget Sean Connery? Maybe I'll go add him in!

  4. I think I'm with you: there was probably a historical figure that the myths were based on, but things have been stretched and warped over the years into legendary proportions.

    As for my favorite: Jonas Armstrong, of course. Especially in series 1.

    I'll probably rent the Crowe version, eventually, since I have no desire to pay full price for it...

  5. I like to think about who must have been the first man the Arthur or Robin Hood stories were based on, and how far it got distorted when the tales were stretched through time. My favorite film was the Sean Connery one, but then I haven't seen many of the others!

  6. In prepping for my AP Literature class, we talk about Robin Hood. From what I understood about the legend, he (or a list of characters) was more of a reformer of the church who stood up against the buying of salvation (that the poor couldn't afford). There are lots of printed legends of Robin Hood, and I love having my students do a bit of research to look into what shapes our legends, and how. Personally, I've heard this newest movie tries to tie in some of the older legends, so I'm REALLY excited! :)

  7. I do! I do! *claps hands together*

    I believe in both of them. And my favorite representation in film...he's got to still be out there somewhere. I'm still waiting for that perfect adaptation.

    As for books. You already know. OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD FTW! Followed closely by the Robin from Jennifer Roberson's LADY OF THE FOREST. *love*

  8. I have studied the legend for many years and have a blog dedicated to the subject.

    The most interesting discovery in the last ten years is the ‘Robynhod’ surnames that have been given to criminals during the early medieval period. Among them in 1286 a Gilbert Robehod appeared in court in Sussex and was fined 10shillings.

    But the most exciting is the blacksmith known as Robert le Fevre (Smith) who had become a fugitive in Berkshire. The clerk of the court obviously associated this Willaim’s exploits with Robin Hood and changed his name in the court manuscript to ‘William Robehod.’ This shows us that by the mid 13th century the legend of Robin Hood was known.

    In the exchequer accounts at York another fugitive being hunted down by a former Sheriff of Nottingham in 1226. The name of the hunted man is given as Robert Hod ‘fugitive’ given by the clerk of the court. In the 1227 entry the name is changed to ‘Hobbe Hod.’

    The ballads have very little resemblance to modern films. There is no Maid Marian or Friar Tuck in the early tales and the only king mentioned is ‘Edward.’

    Nottingham Castle does not feature-this was added by movie makers to add more visual drama to their scenes. Robin is described in the tales of medieval origin as a yeoman-not a knight.

    The medieval minstrels placed Robin in Barnsdale (Yorkshire) and Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) on Watling Street, the old Roman Road.
    He uses a sword as much as a bow and arrow and does not rob the rich to give to the poor. This attached itself to the legend much later when Robin and the Maid Marian became characters in the village summer festivals across Britain. It was during these May Day and Whitsun Games that Robin and his men would compete and collect money for the church and poor of the parish.

    It was also here that later parts of the legend attached themselves like Friar Tuck, Maid Marian and the fight across the log with Little John.

    I hope this is of interest, for more please visit my blog at http://disneysrobin.blogspot.com/

  9. Lovely post - thank you indeed for sharing - it was a pleasure to read. Like most people here - I think that it is most unlikely that the myths are based on nothing - but that the myths and the realisty are also likely to be a long way apart from oneanother. I suspect that in reality, there was more than one Robin Hood....

  10. Lovely post - thank you indeed for sharing - it was a pleasure to read. Like most people here - I think that it is most unlikely that the myths are based on nothing - but that the myths and the realisty are also likely to be a long way apart from oneanother. I suspect that in reality, there was more than one Robin Hood....

  11. I believe in some sort of Robin Hood figure. I think the stories evolved to be more interesting and romantic--and I'm glad that they did or they probably wouldn't still be around. And I think the story resonates with us because we love the idea of someone stealing from the rich (which is never us) to give to the poor.

  12. Fascinating! Yes! I believe!

  13. Yes! I'm so glad there's so many believers! :)

    Becky: Interesting about buying salvation. I hadn't heard that one before.

    Angie: I'm smack dab in the middle of Lady of the Forest now... loving it.

    Clement: Thanks so much for your wonderful comments! I know my little post was but a tiny taste of info. I wish I'd had more time to really look into things, it would be a fascinating subject to fully research.

  14. I definitely believe!!!!! I mean, even if he isn't real, I still want to believe because of the message he sends!

    My favorite movie by far is the one with Kevin Costner. I don't even really care for the actor, but the movie is fabulous! I can't wait to see the new one. Whether it will live up to any of the previous ones . . . who knows?!?! :)



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