|Robin Hood was ever
England as he is now, judging by the earliest surviving tales from the
fifteenth century. Over time he has transformed into the popular hero
know today; the dispossessed earl, outlawed in the woods with his band
of merry men; a skilled archer living by highway robbery and
Now, going back to
A. J. Pollard uncovers a different set of tales. Their hero is an
indeed, but he does not rob from the rich to give to the poor. There is
no Friar Tuck. There is no Maid Marion. And Robin Hood himself is not
earl, he is a plain yeoman.
This compelling new
the earliest stories of Robin Hood afresh, and throws light on what he
meant to the society that produced those tales.
Robin Hood was a
of justice; "Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood." But do we? Just
exactly was a 'yeoman', and what did this mean to a fifteenth century
Was Robin Hood hunted as an outlaw, or respected as an officially
forest ranger? Why do we ignore the fact that this celebrated hero led
a life of violent crime? On the other hand, did he actually steal from
the rich at all?
To find out, A. J.
us back to the earliest surviving stories, the fifteenth century texts
and ballads. Set in the economic, social and political context of the
the legend of Robin Hood is illuminated as never before.
Robin Hood has been
all men', since he first appeared, speaking to the gentry, the
and all those in between. Representing the English nation's subversive
relationship with authority, the multifaceted legend has become the
most enduringly popular hero. The story of the freedom-loving outlaw
us much about the English nation, but tracing back to the first stories
reveals even more about the society in which the legend arose.
Stories In Historical Context
by A. J.