The Robin Hood Legend

This section contains an overview of the Robin Hood story.

Here you can find:

Background to the Robin hood Legend
An introduction to the key characters and their historical background
Information on the City of Nottingham and its Castle
Up to date news on Robin Hood related events and stories from Nottingham and beyond

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Read an article by one of our society contacts: Robin and the Sheriff

 

"attend and listen gentlemen
that be of freeborn blood
I shall tell you of a good yeman
His name was Robyn Hode"

opening lines of "A Gest of Robyn Hode"

Who was Robin Hood? Was he historical fact or simply a medieval fiction? Why has the Robin Hood Legend become so loved and well known across the world and through the generations?

Most of our knowledge about the Robin Hood legend derives from the earliest ballads and tales which have passed through the centuries.
Of these, the most significant are:

A Gest of Robin Hood
Robin Hood and the Monk
Robin Hood and the Potter
Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne
Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar
Robin Hood's Death

All these tales were written down before 1550. Details of these tales can be found in the society pages of this site.
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.

Who Was Robin Hood?
Robin is famous for his gallantry, robbing the rich to feed the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny. Anyone who knows of Robin has also heard the stories of his outlaw band. The names of Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marion, Allan a Dale, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham are as much a part of the legend as Robin Hood himself.

The stories of Robin portray him as a fearless outlaw leading his band of "merry men" (and women) against the tyranny of Prince John, The Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Guy of Gisbourne. A brilliant archer, Robin lived a life of adventure - poaching the King's deer from the outlaws' retreat in Sherwood Forest.

Stories about the adventures of Robin have been told and retold for over six hundred years. In Robin's time, few people could read or write and consequently little was written down about the exploits of our hero. Instead, people learnt about Robin and his band through the ballad and song of wandering minstrels who weaved a patchwork of fact and fiction into the contemporary culture of the time.


The Tales of Robin Hood

Many of us today will know of the legend of Robin Hood through stories like:

Robin and the Knight:


In which Robin saves an impoverished Knight from losing his lands to the Abbot of St. Mary's in York.

Robin and the Potter:


where Robin, disguised as a potter, tricks the Sheriff of Nottingham into travelling to Sherwood Forest where the Outlaws capture him.

Robin Hood and the Monk:
(click for the full story)

 

In Which Robin is betrayed by a monk and imprisoned by the Sheriff of Nottingham. The story ends with the rescue of Robin by Little John and Much the miller's son.

Robin and the Curtal Friar:

Where Friar Tuck and Robin Hood first meet.

Robin and the Silver Arrow:

 

in which Robin wins the archery contest set up to trap him by the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The death of Robin Hood:

where, after the deaths of Maid Marian and King Richard, Robin ends his days in the grounds of Kirklees Priory.

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