logo - head Robin Hood statue








How To Use This Site

CONTENTS

What's Where

Welcome! I know my site has grown rather large - much larger than I originally intended. And while I've tried to give the site a logical layout, it might sometimes be hard to find what you're looking for. So, this area describes what is available on my site.

First, I should point out the several helpful reference tools that exist. The green navigational bar, which you'll find on every page, contains links to every major section of my site. It also links to the subsections of whatever major section you are in. The index page of each section also includes the text links you'll find at the bottom of this page.

Other helpful tools are the Site Map and the Search feature. The Site Map features a list of, and links to, every page on Robin Hood - Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood. The Search utility allows you to perform keyword searches on not only my Robin Hood site, but its sister site dedicated to the tales of Robin Goodfellow (also known as Puck).

Also, further down this page, you'll find the For Students section. This area features an FAQ, where I attempt to answer the frequently asked questions of my site's visitors, particularly students.

Here are the major sections of my site and what you can find on them.

Introduction and What's New
This is the section you are in right now. It features a general greeting to my site, a summary of the recent changes and the helpful navigational aids I described above.

A Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood
This section is designed to give visitors a quick introduction, or refresher course, to the characters and settings of the Robin Hood legend. This section tries to present the Robin Hood legend as it exists today, a collection of wildly contradictory stories from old ballads and more recent sources like novels, TV shows and films. It does not attempt to place one version of the legend over another.

Robin Hood Tales - Ballads and Stories
A primary source for the legend is a series of ballads. This section reprints several ballads, focusing on later ballads written in more modern English, and arranges them in the order of Robin Hood's life - just as the 17th and 18th century ballad collections did. It begins with Robin Hood being outlawed and ends with his death. In addition to the ballads, this section contains the poem Sherwood by Alfred Noyes, "Dowsing the Demon" -- a Robin and Marian murder mystery short story by Clayton Emery, and finally two comic book stories from the 1950s.

Wolfshead Through the Ages - The History of Robin Hood
This is arguably the most important section of my site. It traces the growth and development of the Robin Hood legend from the earliest ballads and plays to the most modern novels, films and TV shows. It examines how the legend has evolved over time with new characters, new settings and new themes.

The Search for a Real Robin Hood
The most commonly asked question is "was Robin Hood real?" The answer is fairly complex. There are historical records for various people who may or may not have been the original Robin Hood. This section looks at those candidates for the original Robin Hood. Also, it looks at other real life outlaws, possible inspirations for the Merry Men, historical sheriffs of Nottingham and the kings who appear in the legend.

Spotlight of the Month
It's not quite as monthly as the title suggests, but this area features reviews of various versions of the Robin Hood legend. Included are examinations of ballads, novels, films and more. My goal is to add a new Spotlight article every month.

Robin Hood - A Personal Journey
So, what exactly is a personal journey? Well, it contains a history of my involvement and interest in the Robin Hood legend. Likely of greater interest to the average visitor, however, are the detailed descriptions of my three visits to the real-life locations of the Robin Hood legend such as Sherwood Forest, Nottingham and Barnsdale. Also, this section includes a brief article where I attempt to explain why I like the Robin Hood legend so much.

The Picture Gallery
As the title suggests, this area features a collection of Robin Hood images from old woodcuts and book illustrations to the Robin Hoods of film and television. Also are numerous photos I have taken of Robin Hood locations such as Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, Fountains Abbey, St. Mary's Abbey and Wentbridge.

Interviews in Sherwood
Here you'll find interviews with writers, scholars, actors and others associated with the Robin Hood legend, including the modern day sheriff of Nottingham.

The Blue Boar Inn Message Board
Taking its name from the tavern Robin Hood frequents in the children's book by Howard Pyle, the Blue Boar is a place for you to discuss all aspects of the Robin Hood legend. Please post a message.

Legendary Links
This page features an extensive collection of links to other websites featuring Robin Hood and related topics. The page is divided into many sections, including links to Robin Hood-like heroes or outlaws from other countries and pages on medieval history. Also, the section includes links to the Robin Hood webrings I belong to and the various awards that my site has won.

Pook's Hill
Way back when, this was the primary gateway to my website of which the Robin Hood section was to be a mere branch. Well, the branch has now grown much larger than the tree. The most interesting thing here is Puck - That Shrewd and Knavish Sprite Called Robin Goodfellow, dedicated to the trickster faery from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

About the Author
In case you're interested, this is a brief biography of Allen W. Wright, creator of this site and the guy currently typing this sentence.

Of course, I'm always looking to expand my website. Please e-mail me if you have any suggestions.

For Students

I get asked questions by students (from elementary school, right up to university and college students) on an almost daily basis. Many of them have asked the same questions. It was clearly time for me to add an FAQ (frequently asked questions) list.

Although the title is "For Students", I figure that everyone is a student of life. So, even if you aren't a student, you may find your answers here.

There are a couple of general matters that I'd like to discuss first, however.

Some visitors get annoyed that I refuse to give straightforward answers, or at least answers as straightforward as they'd like. That's because there is rarely one simple answer to a question. The legend of Robin Hood, like most myths and legends, is a bit like a childhood game of 'Telephone' (or 'Chinese Whispers' for those in the UK). Have you ever played the game in class or at summer camp, where one person whispers a message to the next person, who passes it along to the next? When the last person in the class stands up and says the message out loud, it's usually very different from what the first person said. People mishear, or misremember or just paraphrase what they've been told. And that changes things.

But legends are different from such a game. In the game, barring the class prankster, everyone is trying to repeat the same message. But legends are told by storytellers. Generations of people who deliberately change the stories. Why? To make it bigger, more exciting, funnier or just different than the story they first heard. To put their own stamp on the legend, or to explore some previously unexplored aspect. So, what may be a true answer for one Robin Hood children's book may be wrong for another. In some, Robin is a yeoman. In others, he's an earl.

This site is written in Canadian English. This means that usually the spelling closer to the British rather than American standard. It is also written in an informal style, not an academic one. This means that generally I have avoided complex footnotes, although a few sections here do have Works Cited (or "Sources" as I call them) pages. And an informal style also means that I begin sentences with conjunctions and use colloquial expressions when it strikes my fancy. It would not be a good idea to just copy my words and hand them into your teacher.

Not that it would have been a smart idea to plagiarize my site anyway. Most teachers are not morons. They can tell when you are handing in ideas or words that are not your own.

  1. Was Robin Hood a real person?
  2. What can I find on your site? Where do you have...?
  3. Can I quote you?
    Or
    Can I use information from your site?
    Or
    How do I cite your website?
  4. Why won't your images load on my blog, profile or website?
  5. Hi, I just visited your site. It looks great! Can you please e-mail me everything you know about Robin Hood?
    Or
    I have an assignment due in three hours, please provide chapter summaries of Robin McKinley's The Outlaws of Sherwood.
    Or
    Will you do my homework for me?
  6. Why don't you have footnotes or endnotes in your articles?
  7. Where do you get your information from?
    Or
    Can you please recommend some good books on Robin Hood?
  8. I heard that Robin Hood really wasn't from Nottingham or Sherwood Forest and that he lived in Yorkshire, is this true?
  9. Is Robin Hood gay?
  10. Who are you and why did you start this site?
    Or
    Are you qualified to write about Robin Hood?
  11. Which actor would you like to see play Robin Hood in an upcoming movie?
  12. Do you collect personal information? Does your site have a privacy policy?

Was Robin Hood a real person?

This is the most frequently asked question.

Short answer: Maybe.

Slightly longer answer: There are various records of people named Robin or Robert Hood. Some were outlaws. These real Robin Hoods lived in different places and times. Scholars have widely varying theories as to whether any of them were the inspirations to the legend. Also, some feel that there's a mythological basis to the legend. Others think Robin Hood is entirely fictional. The early ballads do resemble other outlaw stories. Certainly the legend as we know it today is largely fiction. But there still may have been real outlaws that inspired the tales.

Longer answer: The Search for a Real Robin Hood section of my site lists various real outlaws - some named Robin Hood - that may have inspired the legend. Click here for a full answer.

What can I find on your site? Where do you have...?

Scroll up this page and you'll see a section called "What's Where". It describes each section of my website.

Other helpful tools include the Search Engine and the Site Map.

Can I quote you?
Or
Can I use information from your site?
Or
How do I cite your website?

Generally speaking, yes. You can quote from my site.

I guess the first principle behind my answers is "please give credit where credit is due". That can vary depending on how you're using information from my site or how much you're using, but acknowledging my name (Allen W. Wright), site name (Robin Hood -- Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood) and URL (www.boldoutlaw.com) are good guidelines.

I don't mind you quoting or using information from my site within reason. Say your assignment is eight paragraphs - then perhaps quoting one paragraph of my site would be acceptable. Copying and pasting a whole page of mine, however, is not acceptable. I'm more lenient with educational and non-profit uses than commercial uses of my site. However, as long as credit is given, some degree of quoting is acceptable.

Pictures are a murky area. The green side bar lists copyright information and credit. If it's a photo of Nottinghamshire or Yorkshire, it likely belongs to me. If you're using it for a class project or just one or two pictures for your web site, then I don't mind (as long as you give credit). If you're making money off my pictures, well... we'll have to come to some kind of arrangement.

If it's a picture from a film or television show, I'm exploiting that grey area of fair use. In other words, I can't really grant permission to use film or TV pictures. Most studios don't mind non-profit internet use if credit is supplied, but well... it's at your own risk.

Most style guides now have rules for citing electronic sources. Here are a few websites that list the rules and have tools to help you. ONLINE Citation Styles, How to Cite Electronic Sources and NoodleTools (with the NoodleBib starter).

Author credit, except where noted and there are very few exceptions, should go to Allen W. Wright and the top name of this site is Robin Hood - Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood.

Why won't your images load on my blog, profile or website?

My site has hotlink protection to crack down on bandwidth theft. You see, I pay for the bandwidth on this site. I do so in order to educate and entertain people who are interested in the Robin Hood legend. I do not pay money so that dating profiles, blogs, skateboarding and wrestling message boards, or other sites can reproduce my images and then stick me with the bandwidth costs. If you really want to steal one of my images, then at least put it up on your own servers.

Hi, I just visited your site. It looks great! Can you please e-mail me everything you know about Robin Hood?
Or
I have an assignment due in three hours, please provide chapter summaries of Robin McKinley's The Outlaws of Sherwood.
Or
Will you do my homework for me?

Yes, I really do asked these sorts of questions. More often than I'd like. And the answer to most of them is "No. Do your own homework." I don't mind helping a bit, offering the odd suggestion. And if you're doing something unusual, then I'd be happy to discuss it. But if it's information that can be easily obtained on this site, I'm likely to just tell you what page to find the information on. If it's really a "do my homework for me" question, I'll probably just ignore you.

As for sending everything I know in e-mail. This site is now the size of a small book - certainly larger than any school essay. I can only assume that people want me to repeat the information in e-mail because they are lazy or want to pass it off as their own work.

Obviously, you might have missed some things on my site. So, I don't want to say that I will never respond. But I can usually tell which people only read the site far enough to find my e-mail address.

Why don't you have footnotes or endnotes in your articles?

Well, as I said above, this website is written in an informal style. Also, the lack of footnotes make it harder to plagiarize my site. Still, some sections do contain lists of my sources. See the question below.

Where do you get your information from?
Or
Can you please recommend some good books on Robin Hood?

I get my information from a variety of books and articles. Of course, I also have a large collection of Robin Hood books, films and the like. Also, I attend, and present at, academic conferences on the Robin Hood legend.

Two sections of my site had have "Sources" pages that list the books and articles I used. They are Wolfshead Through the Ages - Sources and Search for a Real Robin Hood - Sources.

Also, my Beginner's Guide section has a list of Recommended Reading and Favourite Films.

All those pages have links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The top books that I would recommend are:

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.
Buy it on Amazon.com
Buy it on Amazon.co.uk

Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw by Stephen Knight. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1994. This is as close to definitive book on the legend as you're likely to find. It provides the most comprehensive look at changes to the Robin Hood legend. It's most valuable for its coverage of the later legend. The book takes a social-culture view, and sometimes the language can be very lit-crit. An interview with Professor Knight is available on my website. Most references to Stephen Knight's work on this page are to this book. The book is out of print, but he has a new book.

ROBIN HOOD: A MYTHIC BIOGRAPHY by Stephen Knight. Cornell University Press, 2003. Although published after my site was largely written, this book repeats many arguments from his former book. It divides Robin's legendary persona into four archetypes. This is largely enjoyable. Stephen Knight likes to challenge traditionally assumptions about the legend. That can be useful, but he's sometimes given to overstatements.
Buy it on Amazon.com
Buy it on Amazon.co.uk

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.
Buy it on Amazon.com

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk

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.
Buy it on Amazon.com
Buy it on Amazon.co.uk

I heard that Robin Hood really wasn't from Nottingham or Sherwood Forest and that he lived in Yorkshire, is this true?

This is a subject for debate. Especially among people from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. In 2004, the debate over which place should be labelled "Robin Hood Country" spilled over into the British Parliament.

The early ballad A Gest of Robyn Hode sets Robin Hood in Barnsdale, in Yorkshire. However, he also visits from Nottingham and steals from that town's sheriff. Sherwood Forest is not mentioned in that ballad, but it is Robin's home in another early ballad Robin Hood and the Monk. There are many early references to the Robin Hood legend being set in Yorkshire, but also many that set the legend in Nottinghamshire. I'd say there's a greater variety of Yorkshire place names - Barnsdale, York, Wakefield, Kirklees, Fountains Abbey, Loxley - associated with the legend. The early Nottinghamshire-based stories usually just mention Sherwood and Nottingham.

Over the centuries, the references to Yorkshire and Barnsdale (Barnesdale) became less common. Also, many works of Robin Hood fiction have used well-known Yorkshire place names, but set their stories in Nottinghamshire.

People from both counties occasionally feel like the other county is stealing their legend. My site's name pays tribute to both the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire locations of the legend.

Is Robin Hood gay?

I don't get this question too much anymore. But back in the summer of 1999, I was being asked this pretty much every week. At the 1999 Robin Hood conference, Professor Stephen Knight delivered a paper called "The Forest Queen". It was about a 19th century Maid Marian novel with that subtitle. But Prof. Knight included a one-sentence joke about how the title could also refer to Robin Hood's ambiguous sexuality. The media got wind of this and blew the whole thing out of proportion. After all, Prof. Knight doesn't even believe that Robin Hood was real. Still, there are, of course, academics who see gay themes in the legend.

Stephen Knight's comments on Robin's sexuality and his experiences with the media can be found on this website in an article called Gendering Robin Hood.

Who are you and why did you start this site?
Or
Are you qualified to write about Robin Hood?

My name is Allen W. Wright. For a biography on me, click here.

I started this in early 1997. And it began out of necessity. I couldn't find any really good sites that covered the legend as a whole. The only one I knew of was temporarily down. I wanted to be able to share information about the entire legend from the earliest ballads to the latest TV show. I try to cover as broad an area as possible.

As for my qualifications, well ... this site is not officially affiliated with any academic institution. I do know some professors who are quite fond of it though.

I have undergraduate degrees in History, English and Journalism. I have presented papers on Robin Hood at several academic conferences. Also, I have been a reference source on radio and TV documentaries. CBC Radio once claimed I knew everything about Robin Hood. Sadly, that's not quite true. But then I don't think there's anybody who knows "everything" about Robin Hood. There's always more to learn, and that's what makes the legend fun.

Does that make me qualified? Well, that's up for you to decide. I'd hope that you would take whatever anyone says with a grain of salt and check different sources.

Which actor would you like to see play Robin Hood in an upcoming movie?

Truthfully, I don't really get asked this question all that frequently, but this seemed like a good place to discuss it. Eventually, Hollywood will recover from the Kevin Costner film and wanted to do a big new Robin Hood project.

My number one choice for the new Robin Hood is ... Sean Bean.

First, he's from Sheffield - one of the areas that claims Robin Hood (Loxley being a part of that city now). But it's not just the Yorkshire accent that makes Bean the best candidate to play Robin Hood in a new movie.

Yes, Bean has played bad guys in Patriot Games and Goldeneye, but I think that his best performances have come when he's playing a flawed hero, such as Richard Sharpe in the Sharpe series of TV movies and Boromir in The Lord of The Rings. Take Bean's 19th century rifleman Sharpe - he's a guy who was raised from the ranks, a lower-class fellow. He's called on to be a leader of men, but a killer when needs be. As Sharpe, Sean Bean shows the common man's touch, leadership qualities, passion, ambition, and a disdain for b.s. and bureaucrats. Oh... and a sense of humour. A movie Robin Hood could use all those qualities.

And it turns out that Richard Carpenter, creator of the popular Robin of Sherwood TV series has also said that Sean Bean would have been an excellent Robin, if he had needed to recast yet again. Some months after I first wrote this answer praising Bean, he took top place in a BBC Online poll for who should be the next Robin Hood. I don't think I started the trend, just that much like the BBC voters, I'm capable of seeing the obvious.

My runner-up choice would be Denzel Washington. A black actor... as Robin Hood? Why not? Theatre has been doing colour-blind casting for years. I first hit upon this idea when I saw Washington in Much Ado About Nothing where he had the charm and charisma that would suit a Robin Hood of the silver screen. Add in his more dramatic roles like Malcolm X, and well.... Washington could play Robin in many different ways. And this casting would certainly generate publicity.

Do you collect personal information? Does your site have a privacy policy.

No, I don't collect personal information. And if I do somehow acquire such information, I don't sell it. Here's my official Privacy Policy. In case you're wondering why I have such a policy at all, it's because someone demanded it.