Each generation grows up with their own imagery of Robin Hood, his followers and enemies, and what they stood for. His stories have inspired at least 12 novels, 8 stage adaptations, 7 TV series, 8 films plus 8 cartoon and 9 feature-length spoofs and 7 musicals – and probably more of each since this list was compiled. Up to a million people visit Sherwood Forest each year, and it seems safe to say that very few of them come primarily to see some ancient vegetation.
There are multiple theories about Robin Hood’s origins, which is another way of saying that no theory, and no historical figure, is convincing. The legend usually places him around the turn of the 12th / 13th Centuries, when King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) was away fighting the crusades, and his younger brother Prince John had only unofficial power as heir presumptive. The Prince became King John in 1199 and in 1215 he signed Magna Carta to head off a revolt by his Barons – so the Robin Hood legend plays into the story of the foundations of English liberty. King John died at nearby Newark in 1216 and was succeeded by his son Henry III.
The Sheriff of Nottingham is a real official, but in that era his correct title (as you’d do well to remember if you were at his mercy) was the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests. His chief duties were to ensure law and order and to collect taxes. The post was traditionally shared by two men, and held for one year only, but from 1208 to 1221 it was often held solely by Philip Marc. He was deeply unpopular – “collecting taxes” may for him have meant extorting protection money, and Item 50 of Magna Carta specifically called for his removal. (Like every other Item, once the deal was signed, this was roundly ignored by all sides.) So Marc fits well as a model for the villain of legend, but there’s no evidence he was much troubled by forest outlaws, unlike his successors of the 1260s.
From 1449 the duties were divided so the City of Nottingham thereafter had its own sheriff, again as a shared annual post, and from 1568 there were separate High Sheriffs for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. In the 19th C most of the sheriffs’ duties passed to the local authority, police etc, and in other cities the post was abolished, but Nottingham has kept it on for ceremonial and tourist purposes.
Sherwood ForestSherwood Forest was a mediaeval hunting forest that stretched from Nottingham to York. Now it is reduced to an area of woodland in north Nottinghamshire, around Edwinstowe, that plays host to a number of leisure facilities.
The Major Oakaddress: near Edwinstowethe legendary tree that sheltered Robin Hood and his band of outlaws.
Nottingham Castle(Warning: it is not a castle, but a small stately home with only the original gatehouse remaining from the castle.) Museum is a must-see and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Nottingham. The fine mansion also houses the country's first municipal art gallery and the beautifully maintained gardens are ideal for a lazy summer's day stroll. The walls around the 'castle' also offer spectacular views over the Trent valley. The famous Robin Hood statue is located just outside the castle walls.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem InnOff Maid Marian Way - One of various pubs claiming to be the oldest pub in Britain, the "Trip" traces its existence back over 800 years. Built into the sandstone caves under the castle, it is charming and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the city. It is located at the Brewhouse Yard, home to the Museum of Nottingham Life which shows the social change in Nottingham that has occurred over the last 300 years. Dates do not quite match for the legend but as close as you will get to a tavern of the era.
Robin Hood Statue
Robin Hood's Grave
Little John's Grave
Robin Hood's Well
Wentbridgeclaim to be the original home of Robin Hood
Movies and TV locations
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Locations and attractions named after the legend
Robin Hood Baysmall fishing village and a bay
Robin Hood villagevillage in West Yorkshire, South Leeds
Robin Hood Hillsaddress: Nottinghamshiresteep sided range of sandstone hills forming a natural amphitheatre surrounding the villages of Annesley and Newstead, near Kirkby-in-Ashfield
Robin Hood (train)flagship named passenger train operated by East Midlands Trains.
Robin Hood (roller coaster)address: DrontenWooden roller coaster at Walibi Holland