10 things you didn't know about Nottingham's Robin Hood

It's a tale as old as time and one that has stretched across the world.

But it all began in the East Midlands, Nottingham to be exact.

The story of the the city's favourite son, who took from the rich to give to the poor.

For more than 800 years Nottingham and Robin Hood have gone together like a bow and arrow.

But there are now questions, if Nottingham should be doing more to celebrate the world-famous legend.

This is the question our correspondent Peter Bearne will be asking in a special series starting on the programme tomorrow.

But first, here are 10 things you didn't know about Robin Hood.

  • It was only at the end of the Middle Ages when high society, including royalty, became interested in the tales. The Tudors loved Robin Hood, especially Henry VIII. At the end of the 1400s they first appear in manuscript. The tales are all written in the same kind of simple four line rhyme.

  • But there were references to the world’s most famous outlaw even before then. One of the most important works of English medieval literature, The Vision of Piers the Plowman, by William Langland, written in 1377, mentions the ‘rhymes of Robyn hood’. These rhymes would have been popular subjects for 14th Century minstrels, who wandered the land singing the newest songs of the day.

  • From a brave Saxon earl battling the Normans to a common criminal, no one can really say who the real Robin Hood was, or even who he is based upon. We all know that he is supposed to have robbed from the rich and given to the poor, which could explain why ‘Robin Hood’ even became a term to refer to those who had fallen foul of the authorities (in effect having fallen outside of the law, hence ‘outlaw’), and may have been used to describe many different people.

Credit: PA

  • There has been some debate as to just where Robin Hood may have come from but Sherwood has the strongest claim. There was even a debate that he was from Sheffield but that's been disputed by those in Nottingham. Even so Nottingham has a significant cultural memory with the marks man.

  • In July 1952, the statue of Robin Hood was unveiled by the Duchess of Portland on the Robin Hood Lawn, beneath Nottingham Castle, in the remains of the moat on Castle Road. Cast in eight pieces of half-inch thick bronze (made to last 6,000 years) and weighing half a ton, the 7ft effigy of Nottingham's legendary outlaw proudly stands. Robin Hood stands outside of Nottingham Castle, the point of his arrow aimed at the gatehouse and the establishment within.

  • Nottingham Castle is allowing people to discover the tales of Robin Hood. Following its £30m revamp, people can explore the historic caves, relive some of his more daring adventures and step back in time and experience it through the rebellion gallery. But the castle is close to the public for now with an opening date set for this summer.

The Major Oak in Nottinghamshire. Credit: Visit Nottinghamshire

  • Robin Hood has a hide-out that is over 1000 years old. The Major Oak is located in historic Sherwood Forest, a 450-hectare national nature reserve. It's the biggest oak tree in Britain and is thought to be between 800 and 1,000 years old. The world-famous tree weighs an estimated 23 tonnes. Legend has it that the mighty oak not only provided Robin Hood with shelter, it was also the place where he and his Merry Men hid and camped on their adventures

  • Nottingham does have events to celebrate the character. Sherwood Forest puts on the Robin Hood festival which tells the tale of the man and his way of life in the medieval times.

  • Nottinghamshire is the home of Robin Hood and you’ll find plenty of places to visit in the city and county if you’re looking to live the legend and walk in the footsteps of England’s most captivating folklore hero. Including a character-led heritage tours to capture the spirit of Nottingham. Entertaining, educational and inspirational, Bone’s theatrical tours are based on historical fact and explore the best places to see in Nottingham.

  • Robin Hood has had many adaptations throughout the world and over time. From tales, poems, books, plays, tv shows and films. In 2018, Hollywood got rid of the green tights for a more dark and broody look. Other adaptations include the 1991, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves staring Kevin Costner & Alan Rickman and the world famous 1973 Disney animated film Robin Hood.