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Here we go again

As Doncaster makes yet another bid to try to prove that Robin Hood was really a Yorkshireman, their recent claims only re-visit the same old issues! We know full well that, just as in Nottinghamshire, there are numerous places in and around the Yorkshire area with Robin Hood related names and connections. After all, Sherwood Forest once stretched all the way up to Barnsdale and so it is hardly surprising that the outlaw's exploits extended northwards into neighbouring territories!

The plain fact is that it's not just Yorkshire who can point to locations with Robin Hood names! Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, London, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Shropshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire, Westmorland and Wiltshire all have places with a Robin Hood name! North, South, East and West - everywhere seems to want to get in on the act and claim a piece of the action – not forgetting of course the numerous places and locations around the world that are also named with a reference or connection to the Robin Hood legend.

Ironically, although Yorkshire's Kirklees Abbey is the most well known of the supposed Robin Hood gravesites, when the site of the tomb was examined in the Eighteenth Century and excavated to a depth of six feet, absolutely nothing was found!

But never underestimate a Yorkshireman! They're quick to recognise the promotional value of the Robin Hood "brand" and its tourism potential and have made many previous attempts to steal Nottingham's legendary heritage, including a bid by Sheffield to capture the Sheriff of Nottingham at the World Travel Market in Earls Court, London in the 1980's. However, their biggest coup has to have been in the naming of Robin Hood Airport, near Doncaster – a shrewd, commercial move that whipped an obvious marketing opportunity from right under the noses of the Nottinghamshire local authorities!

In my 25 years as Public Relations Officer with Nottingham City Council and, since my retirement, a further 15 years as Chairman of the internet-based World Wide Robin Hood Society, I must have defended Nottingham's claims as the traditional home of the Robin Hood legend hundreds of times! With no indisputable historical evidence available to prove his actual existence, anyone and everyone can come up with a speculative theory, no matter how wild or improbable. So when the claims and counter-claims were coming in thick and fast and semi-plausible assumptions were casting doubts about Nottingham's validity as the home of the world's favourite outlaw, I would simply remind everyone that the traditional stories always refer to Nottingham Castle and the Sheriff of Nottingham! NOT Doncaster Castle or the Sheriff of Sheffield (or wherever else is claiming Robin Hood as its own) .... and that usually kills their argument stone dead!