The Chronicles of Robin Hood


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Robin Hood and Alan ADale. The Shooting for the Silver Arrow. The Rescue of Sir Richard. How they saved WilltheBowman. How the King supped in Barnesdale Forest. How Robin came back to the Greenwood.


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How Robin fought Guy of Gisborne. Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! This is a classic tale of adventure and bravery charting the transformation of Robert of Locksley into Robin Hood, the outlaw of myth and legend. Join Robin and his band of Merry Men as they battle injustice and seek to defeat the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisborne.

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Here then are the basic ingredients of the later Robin Hood tradition. There are differences — his noble status, his inheritance problems, and his blatant nationalism — and although these are lacking in the early ballads and plays they do crop up later in the Tudor period and beyond. Another early outlaw tale is Eustache the Monk , which survives in a unique manuscript, dated Based on the life of a historical figure, Eustache the Monk c.

After his father is killed by a rival, Eustache leaves his religious order to seek justice from Count Rainald of Dammartin.

The Chronicles of Robin Hood -The King of Thieves

When his champion loses a judicial trial by combat, Eustache's inheritance is seized by the count, forcing him to flee into the forest as an outlaw. To exact his revenge, Eustache, often in disguise, sallies out of the forest and harasses the count or his men by robbing them of money or horses. A number of these activities closely resemble episodes in the Robin Hood ballads, strongly suggesting that they are sources rather than analogues. In addition to the capture and release of the Count of Boulogne, which closely parallels Robin's capture of the Sheriff of Nottingham in the Gest , we have another pair of episodes in which those who tell the truth are allowed to keep their money, while those who lie are robbed.

This game of "truth or consequences" underlies two major scenes in the Gest involving Sir Richard at the Lee and the monk of St. Mary's Abbey in York. Other similarities include the stratagems of the trickster, the frequent use of disguise, and anti-clerical satire. The story in Anglo-Norman survives in a miscellany of some sixty works in Latin, French, and English, dated c. The prose romance is based on a thirteenth-century poetic version, now lost, and another version in Middle English is similarly lost.

The first third of the ancestral romance omitted in this edition traces the history of the Fitz Waryn family from the Norman Conquest to the late twelfth century, and recounts the opportunistic marriages of Fouke's grandfather, Warin de Metz, and his father, Fouke le Brun, to two propertied heiresses, resulting in their lordship over Whittington and Ludlow. As the first part ends, the family loses control of both properties. The last two-thirds of the romance, which is included in English translation in this edition, covers the career of Fouke III, who after a four-year period —03 of rebellion and outlawry, finally wins back his lands and titles.

Of interest here is the outlaw narrative, consisting of the now familiar elements. After an argument with King John, who refuses to return his lands and titles, Fouke renounces his homage and leaves the court. When fifteen of the king's knights pursue Fouke and order him to return, he responds by killing fourteen, leaving one alive to report the incident not unlike Robin's Progess to Nottingham.

Fleeing to Brittany, Fouke is outlawed and stripped of his remaining lands.


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Returning to England, he hides in the forests, assembles a group of loyal knights, and plays a deadly game of hide and seek with the king's agents. Like Hereward and Eustache, Fouke and his second-in-command, John de Rampaigne, don various disguises — monk, merchant, collier — to avoid detection and to gather information. Three scenes in particular remind us of Robin Hood: like Little John in the Gest , Fouke's brother John waylays a caravan of merchants travelling through the forest and delivers them into Fouke's hands, and, as in Eustache and the Gest , there is a test of "truth or consequences"; in another episode, King John, like the sheriff in the Gest , is tricked into the forest, where he is captured and later released after swearing an oath; and finally, Fouke's brother William, after being severely wounded, begs his brother, as Little John begs Robin in the Gest , to kill him.

To be sure there are significant differences between Fouke le Fitz Waryn and Robin Hood, but the core of the outlaw narrative is substantially the same. Although the careers of Eustache and Fouke, particularly the resistance to King John, sound familiar to film-goers, in fact these features were added to the original Robin Hood story. The hero of the early ballads, and indeed many of the later texts, was never dated in the time of King John.

That was first suggested by John Major in a history of Britain published in , and it seems to have been part of a general movement towards making Robin more respectable. If, like Fouke, he opposed a bad king as a dispossessed lord, then his resistance was in a real sense in support of the existing structures of authority — very different from the guerrilla tactics against forest laws and sheriff's rule which are found elsewhere in the medieval texts. It remains an item of faith, or perhaps obsession, among many modern commentators that Robin Hood too was a real person, and they believe that enough careful attention to the records will produce a real Robin Hood who might, like the equally obscure King Arthur, be the real figure behind the myths — or legends, as such historians would want to call them.

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It is true and usually ignored by the modern historians that the earliest references to the hero all assume he was a real person amplified in story, an English Wallace, it might seem, especially because the earliest chroniclers who mention Robin are all Scottish. Part I of this edition shows how Wyntoun in the s spoke of "waythemen," forest outlaws, who were "commendit gud" by the populace; and Bower a little later also understood them to be real outlaws who were also popular heroes; Major, even though he gentrified the hero, never displaced him into the realms of myth. Such an attitude was continued through the English commentators Grafton in the s and Stow in the late sixteenth century, and the antiquarians joined in this process.

Just as Camden found the cross that allegedly marked Arthur's grave at Glastonbury, so he wrote about the epitaph for Robin found at Kirklees and soon enough there was a stone-cut version to be seen and even a drawing of the grave Holt, , pp. Far from being history, these accounts are a tissue of non-historical materials straight from folklore or fiction. The Sloane Life is largely a reworking of some of the ballads, especially the lengthy fifteenth-century Gest of Robyn Hode. The epitaphs and illustrations of the grave show a distinctly literary inheritance, and the high point of Ritson's "Life" is his reprint of William Stukeley's genealogy of the hero which makes him descend from the nephew of William the Conqueror, and at the same time considers him a Saxon patriot.

By contrast to this florid nonsense, the early chronicle references, though they know of the popular story, have a spare reference to the hero that, like the Welsh Annals in the case of Arthur, might be thought to imply authenticity. Though nothing in the texts can be traced to the thirteenth century, where the "real Robin Hood" historians would place him, there is some support for such an original date in that Wyntoun located his "waythemen" in and Bower put them back to the s.

Although there might well have been other reasons for that to associate him in Wyntoun with Wallace and in Bower with Simon de Montfort it does indicate their sense of the distant nature of the tradition. That idea of antiquity and the prolific appearance of the name do not, however, suggest that there was one "original" Robin Hood, but that by then the name refers generally to someone who was in some way outside or against the law as it was being imposed. That interpretation is strongly suggested by evidence from another area, not considered by historians because it is neither individual nor criminal in orientation, but in fact providing by far the largest number of early references to the hero.

From Exeter —27 to Aberdeen , from Norfolk to Wiltshire , the length and breadth of Britain appears to have been populated with annual ritual activities focused on the hero. No scripts have certainly survived, though there are a few short plays see below that may derive from this widespread play and game tradition, focused on ritual-like activities that were non-literary like the many pageants and parades that still engage people's attention and emotions.

There would be, in early summer, a procession, led by Robin, with people dressed in green and bearing forest symbols such as branches or garlands of leaves.

They would go from one village to another, or one part of the town to another, and collect money, usually in return for some entertainment, for example, a short play featuring a fight and a rescue. The money would be used for the community, for mending the roads in one case, and although the church was involved in the events, it was effectively a civil activity involving the churchwardens rather than the priest. There seems to have been real prestige involved in playing the hero, as people waited years for their turn and even handed down that right from father to son, hence the surname "Robinhood" found on some occasions.

None of this involves resistance to authority; the whole process is firmly within the law. Robin is the figurehead of a celebration of the combination of the natural and the communal. But if we are to believe the evidence of the very early texts, the pageants would present Robin's triumph against the hostile forces of law and order which came from a distance: the sheriff, the visiting forester like Guy of Gisborne, the oppressive abbot, but not the friendly grass-roots friar.

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With this fictional capacity for resistance, it is not surprising that on occasions Robin Hood became the actual as well as symbolic leader in carnivals that sometimes turned to riot at places as far apart as Wednesbury in the West Midlands and Scottish Edinburgh Even though gentrification was in full flow, in the seventeenth century this social-bandit capacity was well-remembered and gave rise to the remarkable play Robin Hood and His Crew of Souldiers , in which the radical Robin Hood concedes defeat to the newly restored royalist authorities.

Two important conclusions arise from a study of the early plays and games. One is that they are so widely spread.

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As a hero of natural communality, Robin can emerge anywhere and even displace the existing carnival hero. In Aberdeen in he is described as replacing the previous ritual figure, the Abbot of Bon Accord. The early references and tales have a much wider spread than modern Nottingham and its tourist industry would care to admit. For Wyntoun the outlaws are in Inglewood, near Carlisle, and also in Barnsdale. The Gest understands Barnsdale to be in Yorkshire, and that has been a common view through the ages, but there is also a Barnsdale in Rutland between Nottingham and Rockingham , with many local references to the outlaw.

Ballads and some prose stories make Robin active throughout the Midlands and the North of England, while place names and place associations locate Robin across most of Britain, with an apparent preponderance in the Southwest, the North Central Midlands, Yorkshire, and Lowland Scotland. The other feature of interest arising from the plays and games is the clear sense that of all the genres in which the tradition appears, the original and in many ways the authentic genre is theater, here best called performance because of its deep informality.

However long Robin Hood stories may become and there are some three-decker novels their essence is dramatic: an opening in the forest; a departure or meeting; an encounter in which Robin or one of the outlaws is in danger often brought about by trickery or disguise as well as courage and skill ; a harmonious ending, with either a feast or an agreement. This structure is ideally suited to the stage.

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The Chronicles of Robin Hood The Chronicles of Robin Hood
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