Was Robin Hood a Bad Guy? (It Depends On…)


A new manuscript has been discovered, shines new light on the Robin Hood legend.  For one thing, it proves, beyond a doubt, that Robin Hood actually existed.  Over the years there has been some debate as to the actual historical personage of Robin Hood.  I guess the importance of this is the fact that it clinches that one debate.  Also keep in mind that during the specific time frame, the rank and file of the population was not quite happy with the Church, and vice versa.

The truly interesting part of the find, and perhaps quite significant is we can now place Robin Hood, not in Richard I’s reign, but that of Edward I (1239-1307).  In a way it sheds new light on the movement created by William Wallace, and could be a very important development when it comes to evaluating the Wallace years.  In a way, the discovery could be far more significant than the Richard I period.

It could be huge, absolutely huge in re-evaluating the whole rebellion against Edward I. In fact, I don’t think the actual significance of the discovery has even been realized.  I think the historical importance of this find cannot be under-estimated.  It has the potential of putting the entire northern part of the island into some sort of rebellion, maybe even open rebellion against Edward I.  I think we’re not even seeing the tip of the historical iceberg on this one.

I think it may be one of the most important historical discoveries to come out of the UK in many, many years.

It is also quite interesting for me because I believe the Sheriff of Nottingham at that specific time was one of my ancestors.

You might think this post is simply a good reason to do the Bryan Adams Video for the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood, and you may be right.  (Sigh).

“…Written in Latin and buried among the treasures of Eton’s library, the 23 sparse words shed new light on the Sheriff of Nottingham’s mortal foe. Translated, the 550-year-old note reads: ‘Around this time, according to popular opinion, a certain outlaw named Robin Hood, with his accomplices, infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies.’ An unknown monk wrote the words in the margin of a medieval history book called the Polychronicon….Julian Luxford found it while researching the library’s 15th century drawings. ‘Most scholars go to Oxford or Cambridge but I’ve found the private schools set in rural England have just as fascinating collections,’ said Dr Luxford. ‘It was as I was looking through the manuscripts that I found the Polychronicon and started to have a look through….’The copy at Eton dates back to 1420 and I believe the comments left by the monk about Robin Hood date back to about 1460.’ Dr Luxford said it revealed resentment towards Robin Hood among the general population and the clergy. Unlike anything else it contains a uniquely negative assessment of the outlaw, and provides rare evidence for monastic attitudes towards him,’ he added….’Some say he was pretty bad, but had some good qualities while others refer to him as a man of honour who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. This [entry] is just entirely negative.’

The manuscript note – a very rare early mention of the outlaw – was made at Witham monastery in Somerset. It has been at Eton since 1913 and the link to Robin Hood appears to have been overlooked.

Dr Luxford said the find placed Robin Hood in the reign of Edward I (1239-1307) rather than Richard I (1189-1199)….”

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