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Old July 11th, 2018, 01:07 AM   #11

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Never did work out why they were so merry. But Errol Flynn always had that smirk on his face, so..........................
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Old July 11th, 2018, 02:37 AM   #12
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Never did work out why they were so merry.
Probably a lethal combination of Friar Tuck's mead and ergot on the bread.

On a more serious note, the notion of the good guys being 'merrie' is a common trope in medieval stories. Similar jollity abounds in other outlaw stories, many of which have similarities to the Robin Hood legend which are all too often overlooked. The stories of William Cloudesley and Adam Bell (supposedly outlaws in Inglewood forest near Carlisle) look especially familiar.

Merriness was less about the sort of laddish high-jinks and thigh-slapping 'ha ha' which so many film-makers seem to think characterised life in the Greenwood and much more a deliberate counterpoint to the selfish authoritarianism of the outlaw's enemy - often portrayed as hypocritical clergymen. The outlaws may be on the fringes of society, but are salt of the earth types who triumph by their quick wits. It's an elegant and well-used bit of characterisation, although not one that is likely to have borne much relationship to the behaviour of real life outlaws.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 01:15 PM   #13

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I always thought that strands of the Robin legend were rooted in two other historical events-

In 1071 Hereward [the Wake] led a hugely successful rebellion against the Conqueror in the treacherous marshes of Ely, with his large warband (which included nobles and other noted rebels such as launching ambushes upon Norman troops from his hideaway base.
William deemed it so serious that he besieged the base himself, even using a witch to cast spells.

Florence wrote-

"... the earls (Edwin and Morcar) fled out, and roamed at random in woods and in fields…. but when they saw that their enterprise had not turned out successfully, Edwin determined to go to Malcolm, king of the Scots, but was killed on the journey, in an ambush laid by his own people.
But Morkar, and Aegelwine [Æthelwine], bishop of Durham, Siward, surnamed Barn, and Hereward, a most valiant man, with many others, took ship, and went to the isle of Ely, desiring to winter there....”



After the fall of the mighty earl, Simon de Montfort, 'father of Parliament' and latterly rebel against Royal forces under King Henry III and his young son Edward (later I, 'longshanks') at the brutal battle of Evesham in early August 1265, his scattered rebel forces fought on in a similar style to how Hereward fought 200yrs before.

The "War of the disinherited" might have come to a peaceful conclusion at this point had it not been for King Henry’s implacable desire for revenge.

The rebels found a new leader in Robert Ferrars, Earl of Derby. His vast estates made Ferrers chief among them in terms of wealth and status, but he was sadly lacking in military ability.
He had been released after Evesham upon payment of an enormous fine and an oath of total forfeiture of his titles and estates should he rebel again, but he disregarded his oath, and returned to his Derbyshire estates in the spring of 1266 and summoned his tenants to arms against the king.

The Royal army raced north ahead of Ferrars and fell upon his ally, John D’Eyville (another Robin Hood nominee), at the battle of Chesterfield in 1266.
Ferrars threw his men into the battle but could not break through the royalist line, and by evening the battle was over as the survivors of D’Eyville’s contingent broke and fled.

D’Eyville, described as ‘bold and valiant’ by the chroniclers, escaped and for the next year lived as an outlaw, robbing burghers and merchants on the highways and attacking royalist troops wherever he found them.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 01:10 AM   #14
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Possibly so, but it's worth pointing out that Robin Hood is not expressly stated to be a nobleman in the early legends. If anything, he appears to align with the yeomen - so basically a low-level landowner, sitting between the peasants and the nobility proper.

The idea that Robin is a wronged nobleman cheated of his lands and keen for royal pardon is undoubtedly an important feature of his legend, especially in modern re-tellings, but appears to be later accretion. The Robin of the earliest tales (the Geste, Robin Hood and the Monk and Robin Hood and the Potter) is an outlaw and trickster whose targets are the wealthy and greedy. He's a hero of the people - 'one of us' rather than 'one of them'.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 06:34 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Peter Graham View Post
Possibly so, but it's worth pointing out that Robin Hood is not expressly stated to be a nobleman in the early legends. If anything, he appears to align with the yeomen - so basically a low-level landowner, sitting between the peasants and the nobility proper.

The idea that Robin is a wronged nobleman cheated of his lands and keen for royal pardon is undoubtedly an important feature of his legend, especially in modern re-tellings, but appears to be later accretion. The Robin of the earliest tales (the Geste, Robin Hood and the Monk and Robin Hood and the Potter) is an outlaw and trickster whose targets are the wealthy and greedy. He's a hero of the people - 'one of us' rather than 'one of them'.
It's also worth noting that the Saxon vs Norman elements of the legend are completely absent from the early versions. In fact it doesn't really appear as a theme until Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe' cements it into place after which it pretty much becomes a keystone.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 11:34 AM   #16

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It's also worth noting that the Saxon vs Norman elements of the legend are completely absent from the early versions. In fact it doesn't really appear as a theme until Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe' cements it into place after which it pretty much becomes a keystone.

Perhaps because the original Robin Hood stories materialised long after the Norman Conquest when the aristocracy were beginning to regard themselves as English. Walter Scott`s Ivanhoe was not folklore but romance.
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