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Robin Hood – Sherwood Forest, the two go so well together

Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest facts, folklore and legends. Tour all the places connected with Robin and his merry men on the Sherwood Forest map.

The Robin Hood legends may be just story telling, but they are still important historically because they were the popular culture of the late medieval period.

“Lythe and listin, gentilmen,
That be of frebore blode;
I shall you tel of a gode yeman,
His name was Robyn Hode.”
-A Gest of Robyn Hode

In 1377 the first written reference was made to rhymes about Robin that already existed. Outlaws were just that, outside the law and its protection; they could be hunted by anyone. According to different versions Robin had been a yeoman, a knight and an earl before becoming an outlaw.

Walter Bower, a chronicler in the early 1400’s, calls Robin a “cut-throat”. By the 1460’s Robin and his band are said to have  “infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies.”  In the early tales Robin’s main targets were not the ruling classes, but figures of medieval corruption, like bishops, abbots and the sheriff.

It was the mediaeval ‘May Games’ that turned Robin into a mythological figure. At the May Games, Robin was often portrayed as the King of the May or Summer King, leading the procession. King ‘Robin’ and his followers from the town or church would go to another community and collect money. Perhaps the church gave the money collected to the poor, giving rise to the tales of that Robin and his merry men robbing ‘from the rich to give to the poor’.

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