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Nottingham 101: Is There a Real Robin Hood?

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When you go to Nottingham, it’s Robin Hood this and Robin Hood that. Which begs the question: Is there a real Robin Hood? Yes, and it’s this guy.


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OK, fine, that’s Ade Andrews. He’s the official Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. And today, he gave us a walking tour of Nottingham, which was a terrific introduction to the city.

Ade was very knowledgeable about Nottingham’s history as a lace manufacturing powerhouse — at its peak there were 40,000 employees at 158 lace companies, now only one remains, a high-end outfit that created the lace for Princess Diana’s wedding dress. We walked all around the city center, including Old Market Square, original site of the raucous Goose Fair and currently home to the Wheel of Nottingham (pictured left).

But the first order of business was to learn whether there was a real Robin Hood or not. And who better to ask than Robin Hood himself? Although Ade considers himself the “Real Robin Hood,” he was quick to point out that Robin Hood is actually a composite character of many different outlaws, some good-hearted and some not.

“People who are looking for the real Robin Hood are barking up the wrong tree, and can’t really see the wood for the trees,” Ade said. “It’s the legends that is really the important thing; the legends are what people know and love today. The legend tells us that Robin Hood is a symbol of truth, justice and freedom. And this is why he’s popular throughout the world. Because these are ideals that everyone around the whole world wants, aren’t they?”

Ade also explained that Robin Hood’s persona has changed throughout history; his image conforms to whatever kind of hero that society is looking for. At first Robin Hood was portrayed as a Saxon yeoman peasant. Then in the 17th century, he has risen through the social ranks to become a displaced Saxon earl. By Victorian times, he was seen as a version of the Green Man, the spirit of the forest.

I’m looking forward to see how Robin Hood will be portrayed in the new Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe that’s coming out on May 14th.

Comped but never compromised: I am on a complimentary press trip from Visit Britain, but I am free to write whatever I like.

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10 Responses to Nottingham 101: Is There a Real Robin Hood?

  1. Amy @ The Q Family March 23, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    That’s a cool way to tour a city! :) I love to watch Robin Hood on BBC and look forward to the new movie on the big screen

  2. Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
    Twitter: Niltiac
    March 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Russell Crowe would make a good Robin Hood.

  3. Sarah March 24, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Looks like the real Robin Hood to me!

  4. Jason of Two Backpackers March 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    Ha, that looks fun. I would enjoy a tour guide dressed up relevant to the tour.

  5. Gray March 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    What a fun way to visit a place!

  6. Arlene March 24, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Cool tour. He sure looks like Robin Hood, but don’t tell us there wasn’t a real RH!!! Say it isn’t so. :)

  7. jessiev
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    March 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    VERY cool!! great photos. i would definitely go on that tour.

  8. Leilah March 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    great post. I always suspected that Robin Hood was a composite character, but never knew the real answer. Can’t wait to see Ruseel Crowe’s version … mmmmmm

  9. Heather on her travels March 25, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    He certainly looks the part – should take the starring role in any movie!

  10. Atlanta personal injury May 26, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    It appears that you received a nice history lesson, and an knowledgeable tour of the city. Great post.

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