Welcome to Hartoft, Home to Robin Hood?
To most of the world, Robin Hood will no doubt forever be associated with Nottinghamshire. Not so in Yorkshire. Many of the earliest tales about the Lincoln Green-clad outlaw and his merry men tie him to God’s Own Country, and the altruistic bandit’s final resting place is widely accepted as being on private land within the grounds of Kirklees Priory near Huddersfield.
Then there are the arguments as to whether he ever existed at all. Was he a noble? A disgruntled peasant? Or, as some have surmised, a joke name used by criminals, a bit like we might use “John Smith” today.
Richard the Lionheart doesn’t enter the story until the 16th Century – introduced by a Scottish philosopher, no less – when the myth was already well established in the hearts and minds of the English. This is also the stem of our hero’s troubles with the Wicked King John, and by association, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
As King Richard spent less than six months in England, the whole Coeur de Lion link is pretty silly and we feel it’s reasonably safe for us Yorkshire Folk to pull us flat caps down at this tenuous claim by our neighbours to sole ownership of this most loved of national heroes.
So who the heck was he?
One answer is possibly a Templar. The Knights had a massive presence in these parts but following their official pan-European dissolution in 1312, Yorkshire suddenly found itself with a large number of highly trained military men who were also devoted to giving alms to the poor, and performing acts of extreme altruism as a form of expressing their devout Christianity, without anything to do. See where we’re going with this? Is it really that much of a leap to suppose one of these guys saw the Poor suffering so turned to robbery as a way of maintaining his life-long tradition of giving to the poor?
Early tales of the Hooded Man take place in Wakefield, Barnsdale Forest, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge, York, and Foston near Malton.
We even have Robin Hood’s Bay, not thirty minutes away, where Robin and Little John would hide when the need arose. There they would set out to sea with local fishermen until the heat had died down, and one tale has them saving the day by fending off raiders whilst on one such fishing trip.
So what’s our claim to Robin?
Well, Robin Hood’s Howl is sometimes suggested as evidence that Robin had some association with this remote (i.e. away from the long arm of the law) area, and it was the actor, Bernard Miles, who said that having married Marian, Robin came to live at Hartoft where he was once accused of poaching.
So who knows, maybe if you get up early enough, you may just catch a glimpse of the erstwhile outlaw’s spirit vanishing with the dawn mists as the sun rises of the valley…
Welcome to our new website
This year, our cottage has undergone a refurb, so we have a new website to show you the new look! Here are a few pictures – there are more in the gallery.