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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).


  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.”



    1. There never was a Robert Earl of Huntingdon (Huntington and Huntingdon refer to the exact same place). There was a David, the 8th Earl of Huntingdon (grandson of David I, King of the Scots), who had a son named Robert, but Robert died “young” (probably before he was 10), was never officially the Earl of Huntingdon and would not have been old enough to “be” the Robin Hood of the tales. His father, David of Huntingdon, however, lived at the same time as the Robin Hood Tales are set, fought in the Crusades alongside Richard the Lionheart, fought alongside his brother, William the Lion, King of the Scots against the Norman Invaders in Northumbria, and fought at the siege of Nottingham Castle, where the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derby County was taken captive – he is also the subject of “Talisman” – a book with heroic adventures very similar to Robin Hood. I believe he is the BEST candidate for Robin Hood, either taking his son’s name as a disguise, or the author’s of the ballads and stories about Robin Hood used his son’s name – Robert – to protect his identity. Also: his wife’s name -as well as his grandmother’s name – was Maud (also called Matilda) – a variation of “Marian’ in early Robin Hood tales .. “Robert” “Matilda” and “Maud” were extremely common names in the 12th-13th Centuries .. There is also a traditional folk-tale regarding ‘Maid Marion’ from the Priory Church of St. Mary The Virgin, Little Dunmow, Essex. This was the family church of Robert FitzWalter, leader of the barons against King John. It was Robert who primarily forced John to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymeade, but before this they had been on and off friends for some time. During an ‘off’ time Robert’s young daughter, Matilda FitzWalter, the “Fair Maid”, had drawn the attention of the licentious John. His advances towards her were rebuffed and it appears from a prison record that she was locked in the ‘White Tower’ [The keep of the castle of London]. She was then supposedly killed after eating a poisoned egg given to her under King John’s orders. Her body was conveyed to the Priory Church at Little Dunmow where she was interred beneath her effigy .. From this time on, Matilda Fitzwalter was woven into the spoken Robin Hood stories, but was specifically included in Anthony Munday’s written plays as ‘Matilda the daughter of Lord ‘Fitzwater’. This is, of course, a phonetic for ‘Robert FitzWalter’, who, by the 1600’s, had become famous, a result of his opposition to King John. Unfortunately, it places the inspiration for the ballad hero falsely into the reign of King John, in the 1600s, when, historically, Robin lived 400 years earlier ..

      1. I am glad to find someone who clearly has done their research. I an related to De Loxley family of Brayfield near Sheffield. while trying to do some family research for my tree I have been bombarded by Robin Hood references over all I have looked at on the internet. Also we have Earl of Huntingdon as a family title. please help

    1. I am also a direct descendent of the Earl of Huntington. Huntington is a family name on my fathers side. (With a t, not a d). We have had people in our family through the years done the ancestry thing, quite extensive, and besides seeing we are descendents and that he was in fact Robin Hood.:

    2. For 7 generations my ancestors were the Earl of Huntingdon. While in the USAF I was stationed at RAF Alconbury, outside of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and frequently drove past Huntingdon Castle. I always had a strange feeling when I was by the old Castle. Like it was calling me.

  2. I was adopted at birth,my name was w,Loxley, since tracing my blood family,and spoken with some cousins and sn aunty,I have found out from them that we are connected to the 3rd or 8 early of Huntingdon /Earl of Loxley ,,,I have yet to find more info,but have been back to uk and found a heap of related family in graveyard in surrey,dating back to early 1800 s,and having a fair bit of land ….yet to find more connections with the Loxley family name and Robin Hood,and me…….if anyone has ideas or pointers of where to go ,please share…thank you…nick (Wayne Loxley)…..

      1. Before it was changed to Hastings… He was a Norman knight who was given the town of Gastings by the king as reward for winning the Battle of Hastings

  3. Robin Hood’s real name was Robert of Hastings, ancestor of Sir Henry of Hastings… I am a direct descendant of them both..

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