Posted 17th Jan 2017 by Peter Byrne
Following the news that Sherwood Forest is to get a new visitor centre we take a look at Robin Hood and go through a few of our favourite facts about him
1. Robin Hood first appears in stories in the fourteenth century, where he was known to be a master of disguise. However, whether he existed seems unlikely to ever be proven, in part because Robin and Robert Hood were common names in medieval England. The earlier parts of his story provide no reason for him becoming an outlaw.
2. While Maid Marian is now a popular part of the story, she was only added to the story in the 16th century. In the earlier versions he had no family or partner beyond the Prioress of Kirklees.
3. The legend sees Robin Hood and his men use the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest as a hideout, yet in reality the tree would only have been a sapling when they were supposedly roaming around the forest.
4. There are other differences between the original and more recent versions of the myth. For instance there is no Friar Tuck until he is mentioned in a 1475 version, while only five of this merry men are given a name in other early versions.
5. This leads to the next point - the number of Merry Men in the myth varies from version to version, ranging from between five to 140.
6. One of the most popular candidates to have been Robin is Robert Earl of Huntingdon, who is buried in Kirklees Hall in Yorkshire. The grave in question mentions a figure who was referred to as Robin Hood by the people and he was also a skilled archer.
Whether the truth will ever come out, who knows...
Image courtesy of Wikipedia / Olaf1541