Robin Hood search for the Truth | Robin Hood Places | Hood surname statistics | Robin Hood of Wakefield | Robert Hood of Newton | The Pinder of Wakefield Marian | Friars | Loxley and 'Huntington' | Myriads of Robin Hoods | Ballads of Robin Hood | Kirklees | The Armytages of Kirklees | Little John | Roger De Doncaster | The Penurious Knyght | Our Comly King  | Shire Reeve | Priory of Kirklees | Wakefield Rolls | Saylis of the Geste- a new site | Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke | Barnsdale and the Geste | De Lacis of PontefractAlice De Laci and John of GauntBarnsdale Gallery | Stephen II Le Waleys a suspected compiler of the Geste
                             Friars
The first Franciscan friars, named after St. Francis of Assissi, arrived in England in 1224 during Henry III's time. Franciscan friars were itinerant and denied themselves worldly goods. If  'Friar Tuck' were a friar then he would not have been, as often stated, of Fountains Abbey as this establishment was manned by monks of the Cistercian order who became wealthy and lived within the cloistered walls
For the "Curtal Friar", Phillips and Keatman suggest that curtal refers to the cord around the friar's waist, they also state friars were  called "tucked friars' as they could tuck their habits under this cord. This it is surmised gives us the popularised name Friar Tuck1. However the term curtal means ""to dock" in reference to the cutting of the hair in the form of a tonsure. So this myth at best remains muddled.

Local religious houses were at:
1. Nostell Priory ("North Stall") near Wakefield was established in 1120, originally as a church to St. James, it possessed a large fish pond. The priory as such was refounded by Lord Robert de Laci of Pontefract, this time dedicated to St. Oswald for the Augustinian Order.
2. Monk Bretton Priory near Barnsley, a Cluniac priory established in 1154 by Cluniac monks, an order of Benedictine monks, from St. John's Priory at Pontefract. Both Bretton and Ponefract houses were established and patronised by the De Laci family. A 'battle' ensued for control of Bretton between the monks of Pontefract and those at Bretton which lasted for over one hundred years. The brothers at Ponefract could see that Bretton, which became the second largest monastery in South Yorkshire, was a wealthy house. In fact we know that the Cluniac zeal diminished in the 1100's and monastic reform took place by absorption into the larger orders, eventually in 1281 the monks of Bretton joined the Benedictine Order. We might note here that the church at Halifax was given to the Cluniac brothers of Lewes by William II De Warrene, Lord of the Wakefield Manor.
3. Norton Priory on the River Went. Very little is known about this priory except the name and the presence of ancient stone coffins and some fishponds on the River Went. 

 

 

Stone Coffins, Norton Priory, near Doncaster.
                Stone Coffins at Norton Priory, near Campsall, Yorkshire.


4. Fountains Abbey in "Fountains Dale" [Cistercian]

Black Friars (Dominicans) arrived in England at the same time as Franciscans (Greyfriars) and both orders were well established by the time of the Lancastrian Revolt. The Cistercians had arrived earlier but quickly established themselves in large monasteries (the residence of monks).
Later their wealth became both a source of concern for the religious and laity and one of conflict with Henry VIII leading to the eventual "dissolution" of  the monasteries in 1540. 
 
Friars:
Friars did not belong to any particular monastic house but to a general order, working in the secular world as individuals.

     Order         a.k.a.  Papal approval  Appearance in England
Franciscans
Grey Friars
Friars Minor.
1209
1224
Dominicans Black Friars*
Friars Preachers
1216
~1224
Carmellites White Friars 1245 > 1245
Augustinians
Austin Friars
White Friars
1256
>1256

*Dominican or Black Friars in Yorkshire:
  Friary of Black Friars, St. Richard's associated with Thomas's Hospital, Tanshelf, Pontefract.
  Friary of Black Friars,York.*
  Friary of Black Friars, Beverley.
  Friary of Black Friars, Scarborough.
  Friary of Black Friars, Yarm.  
* Also at  King's Langley, Herts.


Monks:
Monks were attached to a specific cloistered community, with no direct contact to the outside world.

            Order                   a.k.a                Examples
Cistercians  
White Monks Originally Citeaux, in England Rievaulx, Roche, Furness, Jervaulx, Fountains and Melrose abbeys.
Benedictines
Black Monks St. Mary's,York.
Praemonstratensians - Beauchief Abbey.
Cluniac an order of Benedictines - St. John's, Pontefract.
Monk Bretton Priory. [Benedictine from 1280]

In early Robin Hood ballads the monks are referred to as 'black-headed monks' from St. Mary's York, from which we would infer they were Benedictine monks of this house.

Footnote:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The term 'frere' in Latin is translated as 'brother' not friar, thus our supposedly Franciscan 'friar' is just as likely to be a 'brother' or monk of one of the orders above.


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Sources:
1. Phillips & Keatman. Robin Hood: The Man Behind The Myth.

Copyright © Tim Midgley 2000, revised 20th February, 2017.

Robin Hood search for the Truth | Robin Hood Places | Hood surname statistics | Robin Hood of Wakefield | Robert Hood of Newton | The Pinder of Wakefield Marian | Friars | Loxley and 'Huntington' | Myriads of Robin Hoods | Ballads of Robin Hood | Kirklees | The Armytages of Kirklees | Little John | Roger De Doncaster | The Penurious Knyght | Our Comly King  | Shire Reeve | Priory of Kirklees | Wakefield Rolls | Saylis of the Geste- a new site | Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke | Barnsdale and the Geste | De Lacis of PontefractAlice De Laci and John of GauntBarnsdale Gallery | Stephen II Le Waleys a suspected compiler of the Geste