Updates

1. There is a recent discovery of a Robin Hood quotation. It is item no. 1(m) in Cambridge University Library MS Ii.6.26. The first sentence is located on the bottom of folio 66r, while the second one is on folio 66v. The title of the item is ‘A dialogue as hit were of a wyse man and of a fole,’ apparently by a Lollard writer of a piece in a set of anonymous tracts in defence of Biblical translations in English. The MS is early 15th century, but the text was likely composed in the 1390s, which could make it one of the earliest references to Robin Hood as a literary character and romance hero.

And telle me a mery tale of Giy of Wariwyk, Beufiz of Hamton, eiper of Sire Lebewz, Robynhod, eiper of summe welfarynge man. (fol. 66v)

For pei weren wel iloved of cheters, wrestlers, bokeler pleieris, of daunceris and syngeris and pei weren wel-welled to have hem to pe ale. (fol 67v)

This was first brought to our attention by Robert Lynley, who discovered it in London Literature, 1300-1380, p. 151, Ralph Hanna, (Cambridge University Press, 2005). This has been verified by Thomas Ohlgren through his inquiries at Cambridge University Library.

Guy of Warwick: The story of Guy of Warwick appears in the 13th-century Anglo-Norman poem Gui de Warewic, and then in Middle English in both 14th and 15th-century versions. Guy appears in the Auchinleck Manuscript, a collection of Middle English texts produced in London around 1330. ‘The History of Guy of Warwick’ was printed by Richard Pynson in 1500. The story of Guy enjoyed enormous popularity after the Middle Ages, appearing frequently in ballad and chapbook versions.

Bevis of Hampton: This legendary English hero is the subject of Anglo-Norman, French, English, Venetian and other medieval metrical romances that bear his name. The oldest extant version appears to be Boeve de Haumtone, an Anglo-Norman text which dates from the first half of the 13th century. Three French chansons de geste of Beuve d’Hanstone, were apparently also written in the 13th century. The English metrical romance, Sir Beues of Hamtoun, is founded on French versions, the oldest manuscript dates from the beginning of the 14th century.

Sire Lebewz: The knight Lybeaus in the mid-14th century Middle English romance, Lybeaus Desconus, a version of the popular ‘Fair Unknown’ story. Its author is thought to be Thomas Chestre. The story matter has parallels to that of Renaut de Beaujeu’s Le Bel Inconnu; both versions describe the adventures of Gingalain, the son of King Arthur’s knight Gawain.
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2. Robert Lynley has discovered a John le Littel among the palfreymen (men responsible for the maintenance and provision of saddle-horses) in the household of Queen Isabella:

The Household of Queen Isabella of England for the Fifth regnal year of Edward II, 8th July 1311 to 7th July 1312   Vol 1   Gustaf Hermanson

p203  Further palfreymen and keepers of the Queen’s chargers

To Geoffrey de Frome
To John le Littel
To Robert le Parker
To Richard Bernard

To each of these palfreymen and keepers of the chargers for his robe of the whole for the present 10s, by his own hands £8

This seems to be a remarkable coincidence considering there was a Robyn Hod porter of the chamber of Isabella’s husband  Edward II in 1323-24. (see The Many Robin Hoods)

 

3. The drawing of Robin Hood’s grave, which is among William Stukeley’s archives at the Bodleian Library (see Robin Hood’s Grave).

Robin Hood's Grave76002

 

4. The Pipe Roll of 1230 (E372/74) that records Robert Hood fugitive. In the printed version edited by Chalfant Robinson, the name appears as Roberti Hood (see Hobbehod).

Robert Hood fugitive 32