New book shows why Sheffield and South Yorkshire is the true home of Robin Hood
A band of merry partners from across Sheffield have published a book exploring the region’s Robin Hood folklore as part of a campaign to reclaim the legend.
Sensoria, Sheffield Hallam University’s Culture and Creativity Research Institute and Loxley Primary School launched the Reclaiming Robin Hood: Folklore & South Yorkshire’s Infamous Outlaw book this week.
It explores the South Yorkshire tales, trails and traditions behind the legend and it is part of an ongoing campaign to celebrate the folk hero’s local roots.
Jo Wingate, of Sensoria Festival, said: “We are delighted, though not surprised, that the Reclaiming Robin Hood project is capturing the imagination of so many members of the community.
“The booklet is to accompany a number of initiatives and events that will next include an Outlaw’s Picnic in the heart of Loxley and hopefully we will harness plans and further developments in future such as a statue of a young Robin Hood.”
So far the project has seen an outdoor screening in Loxley valley woodland, at Stoneface Creative, and the release of a location-based app marking key historical spots around the region – which are planned to get silver arrow plaques in the future.
The book’s chapters were written by experts including Dr David Clarke, associate professor at Sheffield Hallam University, and Dan Eaton, teacher at Loxley Primary School where he discovered what is believed to be the birthplace of Robin Hood.
It also has images of historic Robin Hood landmarks in South Yorkshire such as Robin Hood’s Cave on Stanage Edge and Little John’s Grave in Hathersage and illustrations by local artists including James Green, Anja Uhren, Lisa O’Hara and Tom J Newell.
The book is available to buy online now from www.sensoria.org.uk/sensoria-shop/ and it will also be available at various local shops, libraries and galleries in the coming weeks.
What makes Robin Hood a Sheffield legend?
Stories about Robin Hood have been told throughout the world in countless plays, books, films and other mediums for hundreds of years.
Like most storytelling, it has evolved over time and various places now stake claim to the folk hero.
But the earliest known documents and ballads locate his birthplace as Little Haggas Croft, in Loxley, and his stomping ground as the forests and woodlands of Barnsdale and South Yorkshire.
Dr Clarke, who is also a co-founder of the Centre for Contemporary Legend, said: “The story that Robin was born at Loxley can be traced back in documentary evidence and oral tradition to the early 17th century. The moniker ‘Robin of Loxley’ has since become part of popular culture.
“Sheffield could make so much more of its status as the birthplace of one of England’s greatest folk heroes. But at the moment there is nothing for tourists to visit or see. We are working with Sensoria to bring Robin home.”
Mr Eaton said: “Loxley Primary School is delighted to play a key part in this community-wide focus on the myths of Robin Hood. The project complements the programme of woodland learning on our own school site and we can’t wait to get involved with future events such as the Outlaw’s Picnic.”