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.
The 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).