Continuing Gary Stocker’s Sunday series of posts on the folklore, ancient sites and legends of Britain. If you have similar stories to share from the area in which you live, please read the footnote and send them in.
Pretty much everyone who has heard of Robin Hood, whether they think that he is fictional or based on truth, think that his birthplace is Loxley in the South Riding of Yorkshire.
However there is a tradition saying that he is from Loxley in Warwickshire. It is thought that he could have been Robert fitzOdo (people with the prefix, “fitz”, did not always use it, so Robert Odo is not totally dissimilar to Robin Hood), who was the twelfth century lord of the manor. In the original legend Robin Hood was stripped of his inheritance. Mediaeval records indicate that this could have happened to Robert fitzOdo. Although the church was restored in the eighteenth century, there are scratches in some of the stonework which people claim is where Robin Hood sharpened his arrows. In the nearby church of Coughton is a window with a group of men depicted. An inscription says that, “This window was made, and these men following, with the money that R. Hood and his men got.”
Loxley had a witch who could allegedly transform herself into a hare. One night someone shot at a hare, wounding it. Next day the witch was seen to be wounded.
“Haunted Warwickshire” by Meg Elizabeth Atkins. Page 117.
About the author
Gary Stocker graduated from Coventry Polytechnic in 1991 with a degree in combined engineering. He worked in civil engineering for nearly twenty years. For the last six years he has worked in materials science and currently works as a test engineer. His hobbies and interests include voluntary work, conservation work and blacksmithing. He is also interested in history, mythology and folklore and he says, “most things”.
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at email@example.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.
I’ve never heard of Robert ‘fitz’Odo – fascinating! And the stone where it is believed Robin Hood sharpened his arrows, great story – or is it?! I’ve always loved the Robin Hood stories I’d like to think he was real.
I’ve no doubt there was a historical figure who inspired many of these stories…as well as an older myth whose tales were grafted onto his.
Yes I’m sure.
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This is so interesting, Sue. I always think of Robin Hood and Nottingham and that was why I wanted to go there originally [until I learned about the city of caves].
Given the historical period in which the legends are usually set, the Sheriff of Nottingham (which is one of the reasons we associate the tale with the town) would have been the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests. The term ‘forest’ did not simply mean a woodland, but was a hunting preserve. Loxley Chase, an ancient forest, which would now be just outside Sheffield, used to be joined to Sherwood in Nottinghamshire… and as Little John’s grave is not far from there… you may have been looking for Robin Hood in the wrong county 😉