The Search for a Real Robin Hood

SOURCES

Here's a list of the books and articles that I used while writing this site. The first draft of A Search for a Real Robin Hood was written in 1997. I have continued to update the site, and I'll add new sources when I appropriate.

Many of the books listed here are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Click on the links below, and you'll be taken to a place where you can order editions of those books. I get a very tiny commission if you order the books - so far it's never been enough to even cover the costs of running the website. Of course, you don't have to buy these books in order to read them. Many will be available in university libraries, and in some cases, even large public libraries might have copies.

cover ROBIN HOOD , revised edition by J. C. Holt. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989. In the 1980s and early 1990s, this was considered the definitive work on Robin Hood. Although it focuses mainly on the medieval side of the legend, it's still worth a look. I also used information on Philip Mark from Holt's 1961 book, The Northerners.)
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ROBIN HOOD: AN HISTORICAL ENQUIRY by John Bellamy. London: Croom Helm, 1985 (American edition by Indiana University Press). Bellamy examined all kinds of historical records looking for real character behind the legend. I don't agree with many of his conclusions, but the information in his book greatly added to this page. It's long out of print, but if you want - Amazon does offer used bookstore services. You can also try Ebay.
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RYMES OF ROBYN HOOD; AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ENGLISH OUTLAW by R.B. Dobson and J. Taylor. Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton, 1989. Originally published by Heinemann in 1976, this is a classic collection of ballads and poems with a wonderful historical introduction. A new edition was released in 1997 with an updated foreword.
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ROBIN HOOD: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SCHOLARSHIP AND CRITICISM edited by Stephen Knight. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1999. This large tome collects and reprints several useful and important articles. Most relevant for the study of real Robin Hoods are "Robin Hood" by Joseph Hunter (the 1852 article which explores the Robin Hood of the 1320s), "The Birth and Setting of the Ballads" by J.R. Maddicott, "Ballads and Bandits: Fourteenth Century Outlaws and the Robin Hood Poems" by Barbara A. Hanawalt and "Some Further Evidence Concerning the Dating of the Origins of the Legend of Robin Hood" by David Crook (which covers the various Robin Hood surnames).
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"The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood: The Genesis of the Legend" by Dr. David Crook THIRTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND II: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE CONFERENCE 1987, ed. P.R. Cross and S.D. Lloyd. Suffolk: Woolbridge, 1988. (This article examines Robert of Wetherby, Hobbehod and Eustace of Lowdham. Crook also contributed to Robin Hood scholarship by finding a 1260's surname "Robehood".)

EARL DAVID OF HUNTINGDON ELEVEN FIFTY-TWO TO TWELVE NINETEEN: A STUDY IN ANGLO-SCOTTISH HISTORY by K.J. Stringer. Edinburgh University Press, 1985. (This book turns the spotlight on the life of a real earl of Huntingdon. I'm very grateful for the information in this book.)
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ROBIN HOOD: GREEN LORD OF THE WILDWOOD by John Matthews. Glastonbury: Gothic Image Publications, 1993. (Matthews looks at the mythological imagery in the Robin Hood research. There are some historical mistakes in his book, but it's still worth looking at.)
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ROBIN HOOD: THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH by Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman. London: O'Mara Books, 1995. (This book is far too sweeping in its conclusions, but I included their information on Loxley.)
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Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw by Stephen Knight. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1994. This is the definitive book on the legend. It provides the most comprehensive look at changes to the Robin Hood legend. Knight doesn't believe in a real Robin Hood and he provides valuable criticism about such a quest. An interview with Professor Knight is available on my website. The book is out of print, but he has a new book.

ROBIN HOOD: A MYTHIC BIOGRAPHY by Stephen Knight. Cornell University Press, 2003. No, this still isn't a look at possible real life Robins.  Instead, it's the biography of a mythic character or rather four characters. It divides Robin's legendary persona into four archetypes. This is largely enjoyable, although given to a few overstatements -- particularly on the subject of Robin's sexuality.
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ROBIN HOOD : THE FORRESTERS MANUSCRIPT : BRITISH LIBRARY ADDITIONAL MS 71158, edited by Stephen Knight. Cambridge: D.S Brewer, 1998. The manuscript of this previously unpublished 17th century ballad collection was discovered in a 1993 booksale -- a major find for Robin Hood scholarship. Stephen Knight adds notes to all the ballads. His speculations on real Bishops of Hereford came from this book.
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ROBIN HOOD AND OTHER OUTLAW TALES edited by Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren. Kalamazoo, Michigan: TEAMS - Medieval Institute Publications, 1997. It's a whopping 700 pages filled with ballads, plays, and historical background. Much of this book is online at  The Robin Hood Project at the University of Rochester.
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cover MEDIEVAL OUTLAWS: TWELVE TALES IN MODERN ENGLISH TRANSLATION edited by Thomas H. Ohlgren. West Lafayette: Parlor Press, 2005. (Original edition with only ten tales: Gloucestershire: Sutton Publications, 1998.) This book includes translations of the outlaw adventures of Fulk Fitz Warin, William (Braveheart) Wallace, Adam Bell and others, including A Gest of Robyn Hode. It helps show how much of the Robin Hood legend is borrowed from other outlaw legends.
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THE OUTLAWS OF MEDIEVAL LEGEND by Maurice Keen. London: Routledge, 2000. First published in 1961, this is a classic study of Robin Hood and other medieval outlaws. Originally, Keen supported the idea that Robin Hood legend was inspired by the political sentiment behind the Peasants' Revolt. He has since changed his mind and the updated introduction features Keen's thoughts on more recent Robin Hood scholarship.
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ROBIN HOOD IN POPULAR CULTURE; VIOLENCE, TRANSGRESSION, AND CULTURE, edited by Thomas Hahn. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2000. This book collects the papers from the first International Conference for Robin Hood Studies, held in 1997. I attended this conference, and can assure you the volume will contain several excellent papers -- including plenary addresses by Stephen Knight and Barrie Dobson, as well as a very important paper by Thomas Ohlgren. The book covers Robin Hood ballads, poems, novels, theatre, television, film and more.
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The Plantagenet Chronicles, a series of coffee table books edited by Elizabeth Hallam were emmensely helpful in writing the Kings and Queens section. These books contain extracts of historical chronicles of the Middle Ages translated into English, and are supplemented by articles on a variety of topics and many pictures and illustrations. Below are the individual volumes used.

THE PLANTAGENET CHRONICLES, edited by Elizabeth Hallam. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1986. The first book in the series covers the early background of this family and the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John.
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CHRONICLES OF THE AGE OF CHIVALRY [Also titled: FOUR GOTHIC KINGS], edited by Elizabeth Hallam. London: Weidenfeld, 1987. The second volume covers the reigns of Henry III, Edward I, Edward II and Edward III.
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THE PLANTAGENET ENCYCLOPEDIA, edited by Elizabeth Hallam. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. A companion volume to the series, this features short encyclopedic entries on the people, places, events and concepts discussed in the rest of the series. It's a good quick reference guide.
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The illustrations by Howard Pyle and Louis Rhead are from The Robin Hood Project at the University of Rochester and are used with permission.

Robin of Sherwood photos are courtesy Spirit of Sherwood and are used with permission.



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Text copyright, © Allen W. Wright, 1997 - 2009.

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