Robin Hood Trivia

While writing the show, we did a lot of research into the time and place where it is set. I know, I know, it’s only supposed to be a Pantomime and it’s already filled with anachronisms and silly jokes, but Ridley’s a stickler for this sort of thing, and besides, history is fun!
We originally compiled these nuggets of trivia for the program, but the amount of stuff we had for the program grew so large we ran out of space, so I present it to you here.
There are no documented records of a real outlaw called Robin Hood. However, there are many candidates, including Robert Hood of Wakefield, who was involved in an uprising against Edward II in 1322. There is also a fugitive called Robert Hod, who was captured in 1225. Another could be Robert Fitz Odo, who lived in Loxley in the 1190s, when our story is set. One final popular candidate is David, Earl of Huntingdon (where many of the legends of Robin being an Earl come from), who helped besiege Nottingham Castle in 1194. When King Richard returned, Nottingham fell and Earl David held a place of honor at Richard’s council. Our tale draws from many of these real life people, as well as various fictional characterizations from Errol Flynn to Russell Crowe.
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Many inns and taverns make claim to be Britain’s Oldest Pub, but few have a claim as strong as Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham, which was built in 1189 and was, as the name suggests, a port-of-call for northern soldiers and knights heading out to the Crusades. In our story, this just happens to be Friar Tuck’s favorite hangout.
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In early Romantic tales of Robin Hood, Marian’s name was Matilda. She was the daughter of Robert FitzWalter, and was pursued by King John. In real life, Robert FitzWalter was the leader of the Magna Carta revolt against King John (yes, Prince John was eventually forgiven and made King after Richard’s death). His castle lay 25 miles from Colchester. There is no record of a daughter named Matilda or Marian, though his mother’s name was Mathilde. At the time of this story, his father Walter FitzRobert was the Baron of Baynard’s Castle, so I have made him Marian’s father, too, for this tale.
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The character of Much appears in the earliest ballads of Robin Hood. Much, however, is a nickname. Just like Little John is tall, Much (which is the old English word for “large” or “great”) is actually small. Much in the stories is a boy or young man. In our show Much is a girl, because Much is cool and so are girls.
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There are various members of Robin’s Merry Band who appear in tales and early plays but never made it to the big screen. Most prominent are Gilbert of the White Hand (mentioned in this show), Arthur A-Bland and Richard at the Lee, who got as far as the 1950s “Adventures of Robin Hood” TV series, but never made the jump to movies.
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While there was no true “Sheriff of Nottingham” until 1449, the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire did have a Sheriff. In 1189, Prince John granted the town of Nottingham a “reeve”, who would have Sheriff-like responsibilities, and the term “Sheriff” is actually a contraction of “Shire Reeve” anyway. In our story, Count Loreal (a completely fictional character for this play) is the Shire Reeve or Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and resides in Nottingham.

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