Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men…
I don’t think I will be alone is saying that I grew up with the legends of Robin Hood, that tales of his band of Merry Men shaped my childhood. It seems most people, far and wide, in the UK and further afield have heard of our legendary outlaw, his band of Merry Men, Maid Marion and the Sheriff of Nottingham. He represents a force of good and reminds us to do the right thing even if it’s tough…he’s also pretty good with a bow and arrow!
We are lucky in Newark & Sherwood that everywhere you turn the legend of Robin Hood follows, let me take you through some of the sites that Robin would frequent.
Sherwood Forest is at the heart of every ballad, every tale and reimagining of Robin Hood. The forest provided our favourite hero with protection and safety whilst he was an outlaw. The RSPB are now looking after the forest and the beautiful ancient oaks, to keep the legend of Robin Hood and his Merry Men alive. Visit the brand-sparkling-new RSPB Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, wonder down the trails, visit the Major Oak and experience Robin Hood’s home for yourself. There is something there for everyone, for children (and adults who refuse to grow up) their imagination can run wild as they charge through the forest dressed up as heroes and for those of us who find the forest a calming place, you can wonder to your heart’s content and get lost in the natural beauty of Sherwood Forest. You might even see a friend of Robin, or even the hooded vigilante himself, darting through the forest on to a new adventure!
Once you’ve taken your fill of Sherwood Forest you can pop along to Edwinstowe, just a short walk from the RSPB Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. You will spot the striking St Mary’s Church, which legend has it, is the church which Robin Hood and Maid Marion got married in!
If you’re like me and grew up on the Disney version of Robin Hood, Bad King John will always be immortalised as a scrawny lion desperately trying to usurp his big brother’s throne…which isn’t far off the truth! King John actually died in Newark Castle on the 18th/19th October 1216. As the tales go, Robin Hood was fiercely loyal to John’s brother, King Richard. While King Richard was off fighting the crusades John was busy ruining the kingdom as regent. Robin and his band of Merry Men tried their hardest to make John’s time as regent as miserable as possible by robbing from the rich to give to the poor – a campaign that prevents John’s infamous collection of taxes. You can visit Newark Castle and see for yourself the location of King John’s death and imagine for yourself the celebrations that would have occurred in Sherwood Forest following the news that Bad King John was dead.
Robin Hood has forever been immortalised on the big and small screen, another incarnation of this famous tale of good versus bad hits the big screen on the 21st November, this time staring Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service & Eddie the Eagle) as our hero. He is joined by an all-star cast including Jamie Foxx as Little John, Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck and Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlet. Each re-imagining of the tale of Robin Hood has brought the legend even more alive from Disney’s sweet-hearted rendition in 1973, the hilarious Robin Hood: Men in Tights in 1993 and the dark version of our tale in Russell Crowe’s 2010 movie. Which incarnation is your favourite?
Whilst we wait in anticipation we do know that the 2018 film will breathe even more life into the legends and tales of Robin Hood as the spirit of Robin Hood lives forever in Sherwood Forest and in the hearts of those who seek him.
Previous blog posts 2018
Follow the legends and tales of King John across Newark & Sherwood,