The OFFICIAL Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project blog. The Worlds No.1 Sherwood Archaeology Site!
Archaeology, History, Landscape, People, Forest Law, Robin Hood, Sheriff of Nottingham, Merry Men, Medieval Outlaws and Villains, Kings, Keepers, Foresters, ancient trees.
...'In the cafe, Andy Gaunt, an archaeologist with Nottingham county council, tells me not to think of medieval Sherwood as just a forest. It was a working community, governed by forest law (a draconian code introduced by William the Conqueror to protect his hunting land). The inhabitants of areas governed by forest law loathed it, and would have been likely to lionise anyone who flouted it. It is easy to see how outlaws became heroes, and common criminals could be confused with freedom fighters.
People were being outlawed all the time," Gaunt says. "It was quite common in medieval times – it was a violent society. The forest was seen as a wild place and after dark it would be pitch black. I wouldn't want to go there on my own (though there are parts of Nottingham I wouldn't want to go on my own now). Robin Hood in the ballads is quite a brutal character, but people didn't seem to worry about that, just as people in the Wild West didn't worry that Billy the Kid was actually a serial murderer."'
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