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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Whose outlaw is it anyway?

By Brady Haran
BBC News Online, East Midlands

Patrick Troughton as Robin Hood
It seems Robin is the subject of a custody battle
If you believe he existed, Robin Hood fired his last arrow between 650 and 750 years ago.

Yet the famous outlaw still makes headlines and was recently the subject of debate in the House of Commons.

MPs have been fighting a strange custody battle on behalf of two English regions - Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

Nottinghamshire is the home of Sherwood Forest and a place with obvious links to Robin's arch enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

But Yorkshire is becoming increasingly vocal about its links to the famous outlaw.

Robin Hood was an Anglo-Saxon peasant criminal with no respect for authority
Ozorek, UK

In its most recent attempt to claim Robin for Yorkshire, a new airport has taken his name.

Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport will be built at the former RAF base in Finningley, South Yorkshire.

BBC News Online spoke with Richard Rutherford-Moore, an author and tour guide who specialises in Robin Hood.

A Yorkshireman who now lives in Nottinghamshire, Mr Rutherford-Moore accuses Yorkshire of "jumping on the bandwagon".

He says: "Yorkshire has done nothing to retain and promote the Robin Hood legend for 200 years.

Robin Hood tour

"Nottinghamshire people made the financial and personal investment and the county is best known throughout the rest of the UK and world-wide through Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest."

In a bid to silence "publicity seekers" who question Nottinghamshire's Robin Hood heritage, Mr Rutherford-Moore took BBC News Online on a tour of the county.

Rather than visiting obvious Robin Hood sites, such as the forest and Nottingham Castle, he revealed locations which most people are unaware of.

Here are just a few of them:

Robin's stables


In more recent Robin Hood traditions, this cave near Papplewick is where Robin Hood kept his horse.

Mr Rutherford-Moore is reluctant to reveal its exact location because he fears it will become too popular with history buffs.

However he is quick to point out that the stories of Robin Hood riding a horse are probably more recent.

Movies like Kevin Costner's Robin Hood Prince of Thieves have reinforced the belief that the outlaw rode a horse.

In fact, Mr Rutherford-Moore thinks it is more likely the cave was originally a hermitage.

He says: "A holy man would have spent his time here in the solace of the woods."

The famous battle


Among the best-known of the Robin Hood stories is the battle between Robin and Little John.

Mr Rutherford-Moore says the site of it was most likely here, on the busy A60.

He says: "The story goes that where the River Leen used to run into the valley in North Nottinghamshire is where the fight between Robin Hood and Little John took place."

The fight was said to have taken place over a tree, which had been chopped down to make a bridge.

Unfortunately the tree has been replaced by the busy Mansfield Road.

Will Scarlet's demise

Will's grave

The town of Blidworth has many associations with Robin Hood.

It is said Maid Marian stayed in a cottage there before being escorted to Edwinstowe by Will Scarlet to be married to Robin Hood.

And it is in this graveyard that Will Scarlet is said to be buried.

Mr Rutherford-Moore says: "Will has a tradition of being related to Robin Hood - in one case his nephew, which means Robin had a sister."

Not wanting to be one-sided, Mr Rutherford-Moore pointed out three sites in Yorkshire which have links with Robin Hood:

  • Kirklees Priory which is said to be home to Robin Hood's grave

  • Fountains Abbey, which has links with Friar Tuck

  • Barnsdale claims several "tourist sites", but is most popularly known for Robin Hood's Well

Airport to be named 'Robin Hood'
13 Apr 04  |  South Yorkshire
MPs battle over Robin Hood
05 Feb 04  |  Nottinghamshire
Robin Hood's grave 'dug up'
17 Oct 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Robin Hood 'did not exist'
19 Jun 03  |  Wales
Discovery backs 'real' Robin Hood
16 Aug 02  |  England



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