to Robert Hood1 in the Wakefield Court
In the Wakefield
Court Rolls 1297-1309 an Adam Hod, a
Robert Hod and a Richard, John,
Adam and Robert Hodde appear
many times. The Hodde names
appear to centre around Sowerby
In Sowerby Township it is said
by Crabtree writing in the late
1800's that by tradition 'Robin
Hood' resided here at some time
at Callis House. [History
of Halifax, p. 412.] Also within
the township Crabtree refers to
a Bowood whilst at nearby Crag, a
public house called the
"Robin Hood' was
established in the late 1800's
adjacent to a 'Robin Hood
House'. This inn has been
reopened recently by supporters
of the establishment. Although
not evidence for the historical
identity of the folk hero, these
place-names indicate a strong
association with the historical
identity who probably frequented these
Wakefield Court Rolls for 1316
[pdf, p. 140.] show a Robert
Hoode and others to have been
fined 3d. for not attending earl
Warrene's muster for what
appears to be the Scottish
campaign of 1314 and the
abortive battle of Bannockburn.
The following court records appear some nine years after the
Battle of Boroughbridge .
The Yorkshire historian, Joseph Hunter supposed that after this
battle, Robert Hood of Wakefield had been branded a "contrariant".
Hunter then supposed that Robert had taken to banditry in Barnsdale Forest
and later as the ballad, "A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode"suggests, been pardoned
by "The King".
This king, Hunter suggested from state records was Edward II.
However this could well have been Edward III who seized power from Queen
Isabella and Mortimer at Nottingham Castle in October 1330, although he
had been king de jure since 1327.
If these court records refer to the same person as Hunter refers
to, then this is "Robyn Hode" in his retirement years, prior to his
death, which Hunter calculated to have occurred in 1347 at Kirklees Priory at
the age of 77.
The following records refer to that Robert Hood of Newton3 near
2. 18th October 1331 at Thornes [Exactly one year after the Nottingham coup]:-
Robert Hood of Newton in a plea of unjustly taking and
detaining a horse: to attach4 Robert Hood of Newton to answer
John le Couper and to Thomas de Chatburn in pleas of tresspass.
3. 25th October 1331 Tourn at Wakefield Friday before the Feast
of SS Simon & Jude, 5 Edward III :- Robert Hode and many others did not
come to the tourn Robert fined 2d5.
4. 8th November 1331 at Wakefield:-
Robert Hood for dry wood. [Appears with William
Theaker's daughter, John de Langley's handmaid, Beatrice Bul and Henry
de Tropinel 2d each]
5. 8th November 1331 at Stanley:-
Order is given to attach Simon servant of Thomas de
Roller to answer Geoffrey de Birkinshagh and Alice his wife in a plea
of tresspass; to distrain6 John le Couper and Thomas de
Chatburn to answer Robert Hood of Newton in a plea of unjustly taking
and detaining a horse; and Robert Hood to answer John le Couper in a
plea of tresspass; and to attach Robert Hood to answer Thomas de Chatburne
in a plea of tresspass
6. 29th November 1331 at Alverthorpe:-
An inquisition7 is to come to the next court
between John Couper plaintiff and Robert Hood to determine if the aforesaid
Robert trampled and depastured with cattle John's corn and rye in the
field of Newton or not.
7. 15th December 1331 at Alverthorpe:-
Robert Hood of Newton plaintiff and John Couper
compromise in a plea of unjust taking and detention of a horse, Robert
is amerced8 3d.
Serjeant:- Thomas de Chatteburn defendant essoins9
for the second time by Robert de Mora10 against Robert Hoode
of Newton in a plea of taking and detaining a horse; pledge,
William de Lockwode11:
and because Robert offers himself, therefore etc.
John Couper plaintiff and Robert Hood of Newton compromise
by licence of the court in a plea of tresspass; Robert is amerced 3d.
8. 10th January 1332 at Alverthorpe:-
Robert Hood of Newton plaintiff offers himself against
Thomas de Schatteburn in a plea of tresspass; because he does not state
his case in the words of the court he is to take nothing by his suit
and is amerced 3d for false claim.
9. 8th January 1333 at Stanley:-
An inquisition finds that Robert Hode (6d) and
John Tyting (3d) executors of the testament of Matilda Tyting impleaded
Thomas Hydebyer in court Christian therefore amerced 9d.
10. 4th June 1333 at Stanley:-
Bailiff :- William Broun defendant (in mercy, distrained)
[essoins] for the first time by John Gairgrave against Robert de Mora
(who offers himself) in a plea of tresspass; pledge, William de Lockwode.
William Orfevre plaintiff offers himself against Richard
de Colley (in mercy distrained) in a plea of debt. And because Richard
does not come he is amerced 2d, and order is given to distrain . Walter
Gunne sues William de Ouchethorpe in a plea respecting an agreement.
And because William summoned, does not come , he is amerced 2d. And order
is given that he be distrained. William Templer sues Robert Hode in a plea
of tresspass. He says that Robert's cattle trampled his corn to his
damage 40d. Robert says he is not guilty; therefore inquisition.
Note: There is also a Peter Hode mentioned in the court of Ossett
on 13th November 1332 for drawing the blood of William Capon and Thomas
Fogald, with the help of William Wighe 12d each.
However seductive the surname Hood and its variants may be within the
manor of Wakefield, none of these persons model as the character who is
represented as' Robyn Hode' in the Geste or imitative ballads. This
is again another doubly refracted diversion of which there are many.
The Elland Feud
The Nottingham Coup
1. Also 'Hode' or 'Hoode' in W.C.R.
2. During the time of John 8th earl de Warrene's tenure
as lord of the manor of Wakefield.
3. 'Nottingham' could be a balladic corruption of
4. Attach :- To arrest or as usual in W.C.R, to secure
means of sureties for future attendance in court
5. 2d was two pence or "tuppence".
6. Distrain :- To seize a person's goods and sometimes
their lands to compel them to pay their due rent or perform
services or to appear in court.
7. Inquisition :- An enquiry or investigation.
8. Amerced :- penalised financially. Sometimes an offence
could be forgiven.
9. Essoigns :- An excuse for non-appearance in court
at the appointed time.
10. Described elsewhere as an attorney.
11. The Lockwoods had been supporters of Thomas of
Lancaster in 1322. This correlates with Joseph Hunter's concept that
Robert Hood was a follower of Thomas and later branded a "contrariant"
who was later pardoned.
The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield
vol II, 1297-1309. Ed.
Baildon William Paley, Y.A.S.
The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield October 1331to September 1333, Ed. Walker, S. S., Y.A.S. 1983.
Watson, John. Memoirs of the Ancient Earls of Warren and
© Copyright Tim Midgley 2001, revised 9th