I Need A Hero: Why Medieval England Needed Robin Hood | The York Historian

A man in tights, a thief and a fox; Robin Hood has been presented in many different ways. To us, today, he is a legend who most will place within the reign of Richard the Lionheart and the evil King John, who fought the Sheriff of Nottingham and fell in love with the beautiful Maid Marian. However, the story has not always been the fairy tale we know it as today. The first mentions of the outlaw hero appear in the fourteenth century, when an outraged monk recorded several men repeatedly missing mass to listen to stories of Robin Hood and other outlaws such  as William of Cloudesley, who was an English version of the famous Swedish archer William Tell. Whilst these stories were orally told to a wide audience, from peasants to courtiers, work by Dobson has uncovered that the most popular audience for these stories was likely to be a middling class of townspeople. The main case for Dobson and other historians who support the claim rests on the word ‘yeoman’ which crops up repeatedly in the tales of outlaws. Yeomen were not only given important protection by outlaws and received help by them, but they themselves were a special type of yeoman; a forester. Why exactly did the middling rank of most societies suddenly find themselves in need of a hero who lived in the forest, robbed and murdered?

Unjust Laws

By turning a criminal into a hero, what the audience does is…

Source: I Need A Hero: Why Medieval England Needed Robin Hood | The York Historian

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2 thoughts on “I Need A Hero: Why Medieval England Needed Robin Hood | The York Historian

  1. A very detailed investigation into the well-known legend. Verbal folk-tales tend to change over the centuries, and once the TV companies got involved, and Richard Greene appeared on screen, I fear it was the end of any attempt at accuracy.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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