Our Retro A to Z tour of Sheffield and surrounding areas this week stops in Loxley, which is probably most famous as being the possible birthplace of a famous outlaw.
Of course this is Robin Hood, or Robin of Loxley, although his place of origin is still hotly contested.
Apparently the Forest of Barnsdale that once covered Loxley adjoined Sherwood Forest in the medieval times when Robin is meant to have been marauding around.
The renowned Sheffield Victorian historian Joseph Hunter wrote: “These open chases afforded fine opportunities for such marauders as Robin-Hood; who doubtless himself in proper person made some of his first essays in “chasing the fallow deer” in Fulwood and Riveling, lying so near to Loxley, which beyond all competition has the “fairest pretensions” to be the birth-place of that noted outlaw; not sparing perchance the abbot’s herds.”
Obviously the claim has been much disputed by those living closer to Nottingham.
In 2004, The Star reported: “A group of not so Merry Men was due to arrive at the House of Commons today to protest against claims made by a group of MPs that Robin Hood was a Yorkshireman, and a Sheffielder to boot.
“Archers representing the historic legacy of Robin Hood are challenging Yorkshire MPs to a Silver Arrow archery challenge on College Green.
“The shoot-out comes after Labour MP David Hinchcliffe tabled a House of Commons proclamation stating Yorkshire was the famous outlaw’s “true county” because the old boundaries of Sherwood Forest extended well into modern-day Yorkshire.
“Barnsley West and Penistone MP Mick Clapham added to the controversy by pointing out the fact Hood was also known as Robin of Loxley.He said: “Loxley’s in Sheffield”.”
Bassetlaw MP, John Mann, said: “Feeling is running very high in Bassetlaw on this issue. Sherwood Forest, the largest part of which is located in my constituency, is the historical and cultural home of Robin Hood.”
What’s not in dispute is that this area of north-west Sheffield is still a place of outstanding natural beauty.
Wadsley and Loxley Commoners say that the area’s trees were once a vital source of income as they were pollarded to produce poles for fencing, pit props for mining and tool handles for the steel trade.
The decision by countryside rangers to cut down 2,000 trees as part of management plans for the land have been hotly contested by the Commoners.