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Was Robert, Earl of Huntington the Real Robin Hood? Absolutely! Maybe. Quite Possibly. Or Not.

Robert Earle of Huntington

Lies under this little stone.

No archer was like him so good;

His wildnesse named him Robbin Hood.

Full thirteene yeares, and something more,

These northerne parts he vexed sore.

Such out-lawes as he and his men

May England never know agen

Said to be the epitaph of a “Robin Hood” buried near Kirklees Priory at Yorkshire, England

“…puts a brilliant spin on the traditional tales of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.”
School Library Journal on The Youngest Templar: Trail of Fate

One of the most frequently mentioned possibilities by historians and researchers as ‘the real Robin Hood’ is Robert Earl of Huntington (in Middle Ages England, ‘Robert’ was synonymous with ‘Robin’ which only adds to the confusion). The title of Earl was also hereditary and passed down through generations, so it also difficult to determine which Earl of Huntington (also spelled ‘Huntingdon’) may have taken up arms against the King.

Earl of HuntingtonThe Earldom was associated with the peerage of the King of Scotland and was passed from fathers to sons, to grandsons to nephews and fought over, ceased to exist, recreated and stamped out again. It’s quite possible that during the reign of Richard the Lionheart the disputed Earldom was claimed by Robert, who fell into disfavor with the King and his shire reeves and ministers. What makes it even more difficult, as if the English records keepers of the time wanted to torment modern historians, ‘Robin Hood’ became a common alias used by Shire Reeves and Bailiffs when they arrested someone who’s name was unknown and used as a place holder until their identity could be confirmed. Medieval records are rife with ‘Robin Hoods’ being arrested all over England.

Nevertheless, Robert Earl of Huntingdon became an early favorite of English Storytellers and Poets as the real Robin, quite likely the fact that the Earldom of Huntingdon was so often disputed, it made for good drama. The King stripping a noble of his land and title and forcing him to take to the woods and become an outlaw.

Makes for a good story, doesn’t it?

Here is a great website with lots of Robin Hood trivia and ‘facts’ (just beware on some of the ‘facts’ parts).

3 Comments

  1. Hi there, I was interested in your comments about Robin Hood being the earl of Huntington. There is a possibility, as you say that sometimes it is spelt with a “d” but I am also wondering if it was a literary device first used by Grafton for a fictional title he could use in his gentrification of Robin Hood?

    That aside I don’t know if you are aware that a pardon has been found for Robin Hood or should I say “Robert Hode of Loxley” in the link below, but also regarding Robin Hood we have this and I am trying to reconcile the two spellings. Are they two places or one place with two spellings. I wondered if you had an opinion?

    “1381. The Sheriff of Yorkshire at the time of the Peasants Revolt was Sir Ralph Hastings, he was a descendant of Sir Henry de Hastings and Ada de Huntingdon who was the daughter of David Earl of Huntingdon. Then in the reign of Henry VIII, shortly after the marriage between Lady Anne Stafford and George Hastings, Henry VIII created George, the Earl of Huntingdon. Before this, the Stafford family had possessed Huntington Castle in Hereford, and now Anne Stafford was the Countess of Huntingdon.

    Later Anthony Munday collaborated with Shakespeare and others in the writing of two plays called “The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington” and “The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington” in which he gentrified Robin Hood by making him the Earl of Huntington (not Huntingdon) and the family began to name their children Robin Hood as in the “Honorable Aubrey Craven Theophilus Robin Hood Hastings.” The plays were well received by Queen Elizabeth and the audience.”

    http://robinhood-loxley.weebly.com/index.html

    Regards
    Graham.

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