Thursday, 26 May 2005

Robin Hood and the Merry Villagers



We can't tell for certain if Robin Hood, the famous outlaw, really existed or not as all references to him are found in poetry and folk tales. His life, if indeed he lived at all, is shrouded in mystery. we are not sure if he lived in Nottinghamshire or Yorkshire either.

The fact is that in Medieval times pretty much everyone was an outlaw at some point in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, forests were not the havens of rebels and free-spirited people. The word 'forest' is a norman word which originaly meant a place which was designated to be the hunting ground for the king. People would have dreaded living near forests, let alone inside one, as there were terrible taxes levied on villages that were close to them. In fact, there is a true story of a village which was near a proposed new forest for the king. The villagers, having found out about this came up with a great plan to discourage the king from wanting to have his forest there. In those days, madness was thought to be contagious. The villlagers, knowing that the king would not want to go near mad people, pretended they had all gone round the twist. The rumours spread of the village whose inhabitants were all mad. Pretty soon the king knew about them too and he told his advisors he did not want his forest to be near that village under any circumstances. The people had won!

The Real Robin Hood http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/monarchs_leaders/robin_03.shtml

The New Forest story http://www.hants.gov.uk/newforest/history/history1.html

2 comments:

John Doom said...

Robbin Hood is all well and good, but what of 'Little John'?

Alterior said...

Records from that time in history show us that there were many outlaws who took the name "Robin Hood", "Robin Hoode" and also "Little John". It seems like these names were ingrained in folk legend and therefore taken as pseudonyms by various men.