Adam Bell

From International Robin Hood Bibliography

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-08. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2022-05-27.

With regard to the name of Adam Bell's comrade, William of Cloudesly, it may be noted that there are a Cloudesly Bush and Cloudesly Farm in Withybrook, Warwickshire, the former being first recorded in 1576.[1] However, beyond the name there is nothing to connect Cloudesly Bush with Adam Bell's companion.

Primary sources: literary

Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly (Child 116)

Scholarly and literary editions



The Second Part of Adam Bell (Child 116 Appendix)

Scholarly and literary editions

Various adaptations


1432 - Anonymous - Wiltshire Parliamentary Return


1565 - Gascoine, George - Durum Æneum

The woman wantonnesse, shee commes with ticing traine,
Pride in hir pocket plaies bo peepe, and bawdry in hir braine.
Hir handmaides be deceipte, daunger, and dalliaunce,
Riot and Revell follow hir, they be of hir alliaunce:
Next these commes in Sim Swashe, to see what sturre they keepe.
Clim of the Clough then takes his heeles, tis time for him to creepe: [p. 70:]
To packe the pageaunt up, commes Sorrow with a song,
He say[s] these jestes can get no grotes, & al this geare goth wrong[3]

1592 - Nashe, Thomas - Pierce Penniless

Clim of the clough, thou that vsest to drinke nothing but scalding lead and sulphur in hell, thou art not so greedie of thy night geare.[4]

1600 - Breton, Nicholas - Pasquil's Pass

He that will passe into a Clownes conceit,
Let him take heed he know a clouted shooe,
Lest him be cousoned with a close deceit:
When seely Fooles know not what Knaues can do,
With, Yea, and Nay, to bring an Ideot to:
     But if he kindly know Clim of the Clough,
     Then let him passe, he shall doe well enough.[5]

1606 - Drayton, Michael - Sixt Eglog

What maist thou be that ould Winken de word,
that of all shepheards wert the man alone,
that once with laughter shook'st the shepheardes
with thyne own madnes lastly ouerthrown (boord
I think thou dotst in thy declining age.
Or for the loosnesse of thy youth art sory, [p. 69:]
and therefore vowed som solemn pilgrimage
to holy Hayles, or Patricks purgatory,
Come sit we down vnder this Hawthorn tree,
the morrows light shall lend vs day enough,
And let vs tel of Gawen, or Sir Guy.
Of Robin-hood, or of ould Clim a Clough,
Or els some Romant vnto vs areede,
By former shepheards taught thee in thy youth,
Of noble Lords and Ladies gentle deed
Or of thy Loue or of thy lasses trueth.

Shepheard no no, that world with me is past,
Merry was it when we those toys might tell
But tis not now as when thou sawst me last
A great mischance me since that time befel,
Elphin is dead, and in his graue is layde,
O to report it, how my hart it greueth,
Cruel that fate that so the time betrayd
And of our ioyes vntimely vs depriueth.[6]

1610 - Jonson, Ben - Alchemist

Good deeds, sir Doctor Dogs'-Meat. 'Slight, I bring you
No cheating Clim-o'-the-Cloughs, or Claribels,
That look as big as five-and-fifty, and flush;
And spit out secrets like hot custard— [7]

1829 - Roby, John - Traditions of Lancashire (1)

As it drew on towards eventide, the mirth increased. The rude legendary ballads of Sir Lancelot of the Lake, Beavois [sic] of Southampton, Robin Hood, The Pindar of Wakefield, and the Friar of Fountain's Abbey, Clim of the Clough, Ranulph of Chester, his Exploits in the Holy Land, together with the wondrous deeds of war and love performed by Sir Roger of Calverly, had been sung and recited to strange and uncouth music. Carols, too, were chanted between whiles in a most unreverend fashion. A huge Christmas pie, made in the shape of a cratch or cradle, was placed on the board. This being accounted a great test of orthodoxy, every one was obliged to eat a slice, lest he should be suspected of favouring the heretical tenets then spreading widely throughout the land.[8]

Studies and criticism

Brief mention