Feared by the bad, loved by the good? Scientists discover previously unknown document on Robin Hood

Mar 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A freshly-discovered document highlighting negative attitudes towards Robin Hood has been deciphered by an academic at the University of St Andrews.

The previously unknown introduces never before seen facts about "a certain outlaw named ".

Rather than depicting the traditionally well-liked hero, the article suggests that Robin Hood and his merry men may not actually have been "loved by the good".

Dr Julian Luxford from the University's School of Art History found the reference to the legendary figure in an inscription from around 1460 which appears in an English manuscript owned by Eton College.

Dr Luxford, an expert in studies, explained, "The new find contains a uniquely negative assessment of the outlaw, and provides rare evidence for monastic attitudes towards him."

The pre-Reformation article is the only English chronicle entry to have been discovered which mentions Robin Hood. To date, just three Scottish medieval authors are thought to have set Robin in a chronological context.

Dr Luxford continued, "The new find places Robin Hood in Edward I's reign, thus supporting the belief that his legend is of origin."

A translation of the short inscription, which contains only 23 words in Latin, 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."

Dr Luxford said, "While Little John is not mentioned here, Robin is assigned partners-in crime. And the inscription's author does at least acknowledge that these men were active elsewhere in England.

"By mentioning Sherwood it buttresses the hitherto rather thin evidence for a medieval connection between Robin and the Nottinghamshire forest with which he has become so closely associated."

The discovery has been written up as an article which will be published later this month in the Journal of Medieval History.

Provided by University of St Andrews

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User comments : 9

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ZenaV
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
~sigh~ Everybody wants to tear down a hero...
Nartoon
3 / 5 (2) Mar 14, 2009
Does it mention Maid Marion?
Mercury_01
5 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2009
Yeah, but who could write back then? the common man, or the aristocracy?
Bonkers
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
Forgive me, but on what logic is this based? The authorities describe him as a menace, therefore he may not be loved by the good.

non sequitur

oh and can we have all 23 words please..?
Fazer
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
They probably didn't think anyone wanted to see the actual Latin.
Fazer
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
Wait a sec, it's in the image, DOH!
docknowledge
5 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2009
"Tear down a hero"? Well, yes. But then there are events such as the public worship of "Jesse James" and the scorn heaped on "the dirty little coward who shot" him. Jesse James was a robber: people were killed during his gang's robberies, killed trying to capture him. What kind of hero is that? Some audiences just like blood, and they don't really care whose it is.
Mercury_01
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
And don't forget D B Cooper!
Trippy
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009