Who was Robin Hood and why has he become a legendary figure along with Nottingham’s two most famous places: Sherwood Forest and the Castle?

Embedded in British folklore, Robin Hood is one of the most enduring and recognizable popular heroes in the world. There are few people who don’t know who Robin Hood is, thanks to books, movies, and TV shows about him. But who was he and why is he so famous?

The Story of Robin Hood

A rebel and a revolutionary: the famous outlaw of Nottingham is truly a legend. An international icon of English folklore, his name is known everywhere.

A charismatic and provocative defender of the poor, Robin Hood continues to inspire and entertain new generations to this day.

Who was Robin Hood really?

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According to legend, Robin Hood was an outlaw who lived in Sherwood Forest, in the heart of Nottinghamshire, with his band of “Merry Men”. Most depictions of Robin Hood show him dressed from head to toe in forest green, with his trusted bow and arrow.

In fact, it is said that he was the greatest archer who ever lived and could hit targets from long distances with pinpoint accuracy. Over the centuries, Robin Hood has become a legendary character with unique characteristics, and fairy tales and invented characters surrounding him.

Historical documents have not been able to confirm or deny whether Robin Hood was actually the hero we know today. But if we want to rely on medieval English folklore, we can say that he is one of England’s most celebrated anti-heroes.

When did Robin Hood live?

Robin Hood's BayThat’s a question that has sparked many debates, but it’s generally accepted that Robin Hood lived in England during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart. Even though modern pop culture portrays him as a strong supporter of the king during the late 12th century, the first literary reference to Robin Hood didn’t appear until 1377.

According to the Sloane manuscripts, Robin Hood was born in 1160 in Lockersley (likely modern-day Loxley) in South Yorkshire. Some chroniclers claim that he fought in the Crusades alongside King Richard before returning to England to find his lands seized by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Aside from being a fantastic archer, Robin Hood is probably best known for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. He fought for the rights of the oppressed against the sheriff. Legend has it that Robin spent a lot of time near Whitby in Yorkshire, now known as Robin Hood’s Bay. It was here that he held a friendly archery contest with Little John, the chief lieutenant and second-in-command of the Merry Men.

In the heart of Sherwood Forest, among the ancient oaks, the road between London and York was raided by outlaws. The rich were forced to give up everything they had, while the common people were freed. With the loot, the needy were clothed, fed, and sheltered. This band of outlaws, who robbed the rich and gave to the poor, opposed the tyrannical yoke of unjust lords and sheriffs. The leader of these fighters for social justice was indeed our Robin Hood.

Robin’s enduring battle with the Sheriff of Nottingham began among the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest. The outlaw was a stubborn thorn in the establishment’s side, often disguising himself to outsmart and outwit the sheriff. Every time he was captured, he simply escaped.

Defending the needy, Robin managed to triumph over tyranny and inequality time and time again. Robin Hood was a hero to the people, a symbol of hope for the needy.

Beloved by the people of Nottingham, Robin’s legacy has only grown over the centuries. As one of the most beloved popular heroes in pop culture, his adventures have been told in every form, from medieval ballads to Hollywood blockbusters.

Robin Hood at Hollywood

There have been many movies made about the legend of Robin Hood, but some of the most famous ones include:

  • “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) starring Errol Flynn
  • “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991) starring Kevin Costner
  • “Robin Hood” (2010) starring Russell Crowe
  • “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (1993) directed by Mel Brooks
  • “Robin Hood” (2018) starring Taron Egerton

“Robin Hood” was also an animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and was released in 1973. The movie is based on the legend of Robin Hood, the infamous outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor in medieval England.

Several celebrities lent their voices to the characters. Here are some of them:

  • Brian Bedford as Robin Hood
  • Peter Ustinov as Prince John and King Richard
  • Terry-Thomas as Sir Hiss
  • Roger Miller as Alan-a-Dale
  • Monica Evans as Maid Marian
  • Phil Harris as Little John
  • Andy Devine as Friar Tuck

These talented actors brought the beloved characters to life with their voices and helped make the film a classic.
In this film, Robin Hood is portrayed as a clever fox who, along with his trusty friend Little John, robs from the corrupt Prince John and his loyal henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood and Little John then distribute the stolen money to the poor and oppressed people of Nottingham.

The movie features many lovable animal characters, including a rooster as the town’s church minister, a rabbit as the head of the local archery club, and a loveable turtle as a messenger. Maid Marian, Robin Hood’s love interest, is portrayed as a beautiful vixen who is fiercely independent and stands up for herself.

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Robin Hood and Maid Marian dance and sing together in the forest. The scene is accompanied by the classic song “Love” which has become iconic in its own right.

Overall, Walt Disney’s “Robin Hood” is a beloved classic that has captured the hearts of generations of viewers with its lovable characters, catchy music, and timeless story of standing up for what is right.

These movies have helped to keep the legend of Robin Hood alive in popular culture and have introduced his story to new generations of viewers.

The Sherwood Forest

Hey there, fellow adventurers! Let’s talk about the legendary Robin Hood and the amazing Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire!

For centuries, the epic tale of Robin Hood has been intricately linked to the ancient trees of Sherwood Forest. This area has been covered by woods since the end of the last Ice Age and today, the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve covers over 4 square kilometers of forestry. With a fascinating history, twisty bike trails, and sparkling lakes, over 350,000 tourists visit Sherwood Forest every year.

The Sherwood Forest

Many visitors come to the forest to discover the home of the local hero. Walking under the towering ancient oaks, it’s easy to imagine the place that Robin and his Merry Men called home, hunting ground, and hideout. Wandering through the forest, you can even reach the Major Oak, a tree with a trunk over 10 meters in circumference and over 1000 years old. Legend says that Robin and his Merry Men slept under its branches.

The Nottingham Castle

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And let’s not forget about the famous Nottingham Castle, known all around the world as the backdrop of Robin Hood’s battles with the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. But what truths lie behind the myths and legends?

The history of Nottingham Castle is one of kings and empresses, lords and governors, dukes and common folk. Its walls have seen great battles, heroic sieges, principled stands, and the courage to fight for what’s right rather than what’s easy.

Everyone has heard of Robin Hood, but the 1000 years of Nottingham Castle’s history are just as influential and inspiring. The castle has seen it all: bravery and cowardice, coups and conflicts, since the first stones were laid on this historic hill.

In the years following the Norman Conquest in 1066, William the Conqueror began to assert his control over his new territory and decided to build Nottingham Castle. Through civil wars and conquest battles, the castle passed into the hands of various kings, becoming the scene of violent clashes. In the centuries since, it has undergone pillage, destruction, expansion, and survived to the present day.

In 1878, Nottingham Castle became the first municipal museum of art in England. The museum was designed to inspire the creative and curious imaginations of the people of Nottingham, who at that time had become a world leader in lace design and production.

Today, its collection includes world-class examples of Nottingham alabaster, salt-glazed stoneware, and the famous Nottingham lace. It also exhibits works by local and internationally renowned artists such as Richard Parkes Bonington, Paul Sandby, Dame Laura and Harold Knight, Winifred Nicholson, Evelyn Gibbs, Magdalene Odundo, Zanele Muholi, and Edmund de Waal.

So, grab your bows and arrows, pack your sense of adventure, and come explore the legendary Sherwood Forest and the incredible Nottingham Castle, where Robin Hood fought for the freedom of the people.