What have historians said about Robin Hood, who he was, and the social and political context in which the early tales emerged?
Unlike that other medieval hero and man of the people, Robin Hood, Wat Tyler does not enjoy an extensive ballad “afterlife.”
This song, first published in The Garland of Delight (1612), is perhaps the first proper ballad which features the famous rebel. It was subsequently published by Thomas Evans in “Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative” (1777) during the “age of ballad scholarship.” Presented here is a transcription of the song.
‘The truth and nothing but the truth’—it’s a well-known phrase used in courts of law and most of us have heard it on TV dramas. But where did the phrase first come from?
Pierce Egan’s “Robin Hood” was an early Victorian bestseller. In the first edition, Egan also appended a collection of Robin Hood ballads alongside his novel, for which he provided the illustrations.
Paper Presented to the Women’s History Network Conference, Leeds Trinity University, 16-17 September 2016.
Abstract: The earliest ballads of Robin Hood such as A Gest of Robyn Hode (c.1450) and Robin Hood and the Potter (c.1450) give no clue as to the manner of Robin Hood’s birth. This was still the case when Joseph Ritson published his influential ballad anthology entitled Robin Hood: A Collection of All the Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads (1795). Five years after Ritson, however, Robert Jamieson published Popular Ballads and Songs, from Tradition, Manuscripts, and Scarce Editions (1806). In that collection two new never-before-seen Robin Hood ballads appeared entitled The Birth of Robin Hood and The Wedding of Robin Hood and Little John. Jamieson had transcribed the ballads from Anna Gordon Brown of Falkland, Scotland. Although twentieth-century Robin Hood critics have derided Mrs. Brown’s ballads as being of little merit compared to earlier material, Mrs. Brown enjoyed a ‘literary afterlife’ in the tradition as Goody – the old woman who recites Robin Hood stories to dinner guests – in the first ever Robin Hood novel entitled Robin Hood: A Tale of the Olden Time (1819). The proposed paper, therefore, is intended to fit into the panel ‘Women Collectors and Collected Women’.
A paper read at Chethams Library, Manchester – 20 May 2016.
A forthcoming public talk to be delivered at Pontefract Castle on 8 May 2016.
An atheist, monarchy-hating, Robin Hood scholar.
John Dryden (1631-1700) is a significant figure in the literary history of the 17th century. In the Sixth Part of his Miscellany Poems he included an old ballad of Robin Hood. This post seeks to explain why he did this.
Dick Turpin (1705-1739) is perhaps the most famous highwayman in English history after Robin Hood. He is remembered today as a heavily romanticised noble, gallant figure, having allegedly rode his horse from London to York in one day upon his trusty horse, Black Bess, the real Dick Turpin, as you would expect, was a wholly different man. This post gives a brief overview of his life and the legend which grew around him.
in 1800 the story of Robin Hood’s birth appeared.
Did any women ever rob people in the 17th and 18th centuries?
Recidivism…refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention for a previous crime.
“A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode” (c.1450): Alleviating the Fear of Crime in Late Medieval & Early Modern England?
Did people *need* the myth of a good outlaw?
The Victorians hated the ever-increasing price of rail travel just as much as we do today. In this ballad from “Punch”, Robin Hood is a ‘robbing’ Rail company boss.
According to the legend, in old age Robin Hood fell ill and went to visit his cousin, who was the Prioress of Kirklees, so that he could be bled. However, his cousin conspired with her lover, Sir Roger of Doncaster, to kill Robin. So she opened a vein, locked Robin in the upper room of the gatehouse, and let him bleed to death.
“A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode” (c.1450) is one of the earliest Robin Hood texts, and one of the most interesting.
Prince John is now one of the stock villains of movie and television adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, but this wasn’t always the case…
Every book which survives from the eighteenth century is a unique object, and likely there is not another one like it in the whole world.
Who is the most likely candidate for being the original Robin Hood?
The last historian to address this was James Clarke Holt, and the evidence for the most likely candidate which he identified is laid down here.
The early eighteenth century was one of the best ages for satire. Writers such as Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729) wrote their Spectator and Tatler magazines to expose the follies […]
The folktale of “The Two Children in the Wood” has always been popular with audiences, in spite of its grim content, depicting as it does the death of two children. However, the legend became incorporated into the Robin Hood tradition in the nineteenth century, This post discusses why two very different legends came to be associated.
I can nought parfitly my pater noster as the prest it syngeth, but I can rymes of Robyn Hode and Randalf erle of Chestre – The Vision of Piers the Plowman (c.1380) […]
One of the reasons for the longevity of the Robin Hood legend is the fact that, in the original medieval ballads, his origins are not stated. He is simply there, in the […]