Nottingham, a prosperous and developing city, It is the city of caves, a city of history and the home town of a charming gentleman by the name of Robin Hood, or at least we thought it was.
With the help of numerous Films and Television shows based on the outlaw, most people have generally come to believe that Robin Hood, his partner maid Marion and his so called “gang” of merry men lived in Sherwood Forest; They stole from the rich, gave to the poor and battled with the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham. However, this common media portrayal is far from accurate.
In fact, many people believe that the legend of Robin Hood ,as we’ve come to know him, wasn’t from Nottingham at all, but hailed from further up north, in Yorkshire, and the evidence is quite strong. The original Robin Hood legends are set in Barnsdale Forest, an area surrounded by Doncaster and Pontefract. And indeed, Doncaster is closer to what is left of Sherwood Forest than Nottingham is.
Songs and stories that have been passed down over generations tell a different story too. The Ballad of "Robin Hood and the potter" tells the story of Little John meeting the potter at "Wentbreg" or, Wentbridge in Yorkshire. Furthermore, the "Guest of Robin Hood" mentions Sayles in Pontefract near the Great North Road in Yorkshire.
Add this to the death of Robin, at nearby Kirklees Priory and his alleged birth in the village of Loxley and you can begin to see why this justification for the Barnsdale and Yorkshire basis was developed.
So could it be true that the only connection Nottingham has with the legend is the very person who sought to persecute him, the Sherriff? I certainly wouldn’t like to think so.
More recently, the Doncaster/Sheffield airport changed its name to “Robin Hood Airport”. This change caused some media controversy as Robin Hood has not during the 20th century been regularly associated with Doncaster; despite the Barnsdale legends. Doncaster has also declared that “you are entering Robin Hood Country” by way of a road sign as you enter the area. Could Doncaster be trying to ‘steal’ Nottingham’s legend? Or perhaps they’re just trying to regain some of the credit for a story that belongs to them.
If Doncaster could prove that Robin Hood was from there, what would they hope to gain? Has the legend Robin Hood ceased to be about justice and righteous rebellion and become just an easy way for city councils to make more money? Perhaps, but this however, isn’t the reason why a lot of people from Nottingham were angry to hear about the Airport’s new name. To them, Robin Hood isn’t just a famous outlaw who used to live there, he’s the cities identity, and what separates Nottingham from the rest of the world. He made Nottingham individual and interesting. Now that’s something the people won’t let go without a fight.
If Nottingham were to lose Robin Hood, I wonder what would happen…
So if there were many different Robin Hoods, the likeliness is, is that Robin was from Barnsdale, and Doncaster and probably Nottingham too! The original legends origins will always be disputed, and even though we’ll probably never know where he spent most of his time alive, his final resting place in Kirklees Priory will permanently remind us that he existed, and that, is what matters.
Intro to Tony
Tony Rotheram is a modern day Robin Hood, and by that, I don’t mean that he’s a famous and well loved outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, doesn’t shave or cut his hair and prances around in tights all day…well, maybe the last part.
Intro to the Sheriff
From 1068 to 1449 the role of the sheriff of Nottingham was to enforce law and order and bring criminals to justice. These days the role still exists for a more ceremonial and traditional purpose, and to help with Nottingham’s Tourism. Councilor Jeannie Packer is the Cities current Sherriff.
It's a little long, and will probably need to be edited down but the factual content is accurate and it seems to flow quite well. I may need to change the introduction to Tony, as he a)Doesn't want to be referred to as Tony Rotherham, he'd like to be referred to as, 'Nottinghams Robin Hood' and b)He might not like the 'prancing about' comment in my introduction.
I've decided to change Tony's introduction to:
'This is Nottingham's Robin Hood, and by that, I don’t mean that he's the famous and well loved outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, doesn’t shave or cut his hair and....well, perhaps the last bit.'