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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Discovery backs 'real' Robin Hood
The Robin Hood statue in Nottingham
Debate has raged over the truth behind Robin Hood
The legend of Robin Hood may be something more than old wive's tales, according to archaeologists who have made an "amazing" discovery in Nottingham.

They have found a tunnel beneath the city's Galleries of Justice which may feature in one of the famous outlaw's exploits.

Documentation from nearby St Mary's church tells of Robin escaping from the church in tunnels which led to the prison.

Tunnels criss-cross the city, staff at the Galleries of Justice say this discovery is of the right age and in the right place.


The discovery of this tunnel is an amazing find

Archaeologist Gavin Kingsley

The tunnel, which has remained undiscovered for centuries, was found by archaeologists surveying the existing cave system underneath the ancient site.

Documentation held at St. Mary's Church, claims that Robin Hood, in one of his many encounters with the Sheriff of Nottingham, was trapped within the church, unable to find a way out.

After frantically searching for an exit, he discovered a passageway leading under the current High Pavement straight into tunnels beneath the prison.

The maze of man-made tunnels are thought to link up to many of the natural caves beneath the city and are dated back to before the medieval age.

Church escape

The entrance to the "escape" tunnel, which leads all the way to St. Mary's Church, was found as archaeologists accidentally broke through a rotten wooden floor.

Archaeologist Gavin Kingsley said: "The discovery of this tunnel is an amazing find.

"It goes someway to substantiating the theory that Robin Hood was trapped within the sanctuary of St. Mary's Church and escaped into the prison that existed at that time."

It is hoped that once funding is secured, the award-winning museum can fully excavate the whole of the cave system.


Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

15 Aug 02 | Wales
13 Aug 02 | England
07 Aug 02 | Wales
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