Friday, December 21, 2018

Was THIS Robin Hood?

Statue in Nottingham
We have established that the first mention of Robin Hood is in the 1370s. And in the mid 1400s, someone places him in 1283 living in "English Woods." In the legends as they developed later, Robin (along with a band of men) lives in Sherwood Forest, is opposed to an authoritarian king, and is opposed by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Supposedly, he is living in the time of Bad King John, and is saved from prison when Richard Lionheart returns from Crusade.

Was there anyone who acted in the manner we ascribe to the legendary Robin Hood, who lived about that time? Let me tell you about Roger Godberd. What we know about him starts with the Second Barons War.

The Second Barons war (1264-67) was all about curtailing Henry III's grasp as he requested more and more financing from his vassals. One of the chief battles was the Battle of Evesham in 1265, led by Henry's son, the future King Edward I. In it, one of the leaders of the barons, Simon de Montfort, was killed in that battle.

Roger Godberd was in the forces of de Montfort, and was declared by the Crown to be an outlaw after Evesham. He went on the run, settling in 1265 in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. It was said that he was able to call on a hundred men to support him. He managed to elude the king's forces for four years.

A common Robin Hood story is of his capture at an abbey, and subsequent escape with the help of his men. Godberd was captured at Rufford Abbey by Reginald de Grey, the Sheriff of Nottingham. He escaped when a local knight named Richard Foliot came to his aid.

Godberd was eventually imprisoned and tried at the Tower of London. He was pardoned by none other than the man who led the forces at the Battle of Evesham. Now King Edward I, he pardoned Roger upon Edward's return from the 8th Crusade.

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