Accounts of Meetings between Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,053
USA
Hello any additional contributions to the accounts of the middle ages depicting the meetings between Richard I and Robin Hood would be appreciated.


In the oldest stories of the meeting between the Outlaw and the King, Robin Hood meets the King in Sherwood Forest ; but the featured King is in disguise when they meet. Robin Hood recognises the King through his physical strength when blows are exchanged during a contest. Though the King reveals his true identity later the Kings' actual name is never given. The pair become 'friends' and set off for Nottingham where Robin Hood is seen with the King in public and a Royal Pardon is assumed to have been granted by all and sundry. It isn't likely that The Sheriff - if he ever met Robin Hood - regarded the outlaw with any feelings of friendship as previously the outlaw had embarrassed the Authorities several times and been a thorn in their side (and in one account had murdered a previous Sheriff). But - no records of a real person named Robin Hood living in the vicinity of Sherwood Forest exist before the year 1220. That such a person could have lived there many years previously isn't impossible.

Only felons are recorded in the records used in evidence. If 'Robin Hood' didn't come to trial or notice under that name he couldn't have been outlawed under that name. Similar names do exist, with the earliest said to be dated to 1213. The first mention outside a local tradition of Robin Hood meeting Richard I in Sherwood Forest is in a history book of 1521. No source of original reference is given, but the statement struck a chord and was developed through a popular play in 1598 and a poem in 1632 which later became a play. These three works set the precedent for Robin Hood existing as a Saxon outlaw of noble birth persecuted by Norman overlords. When the King is named in Robin Hood stories, the name Henry or Edward is often given - never Richard. King Edward II did visit Nottingham in 1323 after crushing the Lancaster rebellion at the battle of Boroughbridge but is not recorded as having any outlaw friends in tow. With the reference published in 1377 to 'rhymes of Robin Hood' in the poem The Vision of Piers Plowman written by William Langland in 1371 and records of similar surnames in the previous century, it always 'feels' like the Robin Hood legend had an origin before the year 1250 - the average date given by two contempory chroniclers at the time of the poem being published. There are real and recorded outlaws who did Robin Hood-type things - but with the possible exception of Hereward the Wake most of their names are relatively unknown. Most of the current on-going research at several places in the United Kingdom into a 'real Robin Hood' is centred around the middle of the 13th Century. Medieval records beyond this period grow increasingly rare and contain scanty information.


 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,132
Australia
King Richard only spent around six months if this entire reign in England and most of that was for his coronation. How could he have gone to Sherwood?
 

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,053
USA
King Richard only spent around six months if this entire reign in England and most of that was for his coronation. How could he have gone to Sherwood?
They were at least two possibilities whereupon Richard I could have met Robin Hood.

from the BBC ,

“During one of the two periods Richard I was in England he could have met the outlaw, Robin Hood.

September - December 1189
Richard I is crowned in London in September 1189 but leaves England for France in December 1189. Did he ever come north during that period? The historical evidence available says he did not ; and there is no evidence that 'Robin Hood' ever travelled south. Richard I left France for the Holy Land in July 1190 - until March 1194 he was 'abroad'.

March - May 1194
Richard I returns from captivity and lands at Dover ; he is welcomed at London, and then heads north to deal with the last of his younger brother's castles at Nottingham. Richard I takes Nottingham castle on March 28th. By April 16th he was back at Winchester ; in mid-May he left for France and never returned to England. He died in France in 1199.”
 
Jan 2013
1,117
Toronto, Canada
The Robin Hood stories weren't canonically set during Richard I's reign until Elizabethan times. Tudor censors didn't like the idea of celebrating an outlaw, so he became a yeoman fighting for the rightful king against his usurping brother.
 
Jan 2015
965
England

King Edward II did visit Nottingham in 1323 after crushing the Lancaster rebellion at the battle of Boroughbridge
This is the key to this issue. The earliest version of the stories names the king 'Edward' and states that he spent a fortnight in Nottingham. Edward II did indeed spend two weeks in Nottingham in 1323, just as you said. This was the year after defeating the supporters of the early of Lancaster (who were dressed in green) and having them all outlawed. At the defeat at Boroughbridge that year, many of the rebels (again, wearing green) fled during the night and went who knows where. And that was near Yorkshire, where the earliest tales of Robin Hood are set.

So the visit of King Edward II in 1323 perfectly matches the details of the legend and would be the perfect opportunity to pardon a large group of outlaws dressed in green.