Come and drink with Robin Hood

From International Robin Hood Bibliography

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-10-15. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-03-12.

The expression Come and drink with Robin Hood or Stay and drink with Robin Hood, which was formerly very common, owed its popularity to its being used as an inscription on inn-signs.[1]

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1811 - Nelson, John - History of Islington

An old house yet remains fronting the fields at Hoxton, which was formerly much resorted to by the Finsbury archers. It bears for its sign the Robin Hood, which has, to the present day, written underneath, the following inscription;

"Ye archers bold, and yeomen good,
Stop, and drink with Robin Hood;
If Robin Hood is not at home,
Stop, and drink with Little John."[2]

1835 - Cromwell, Thomas - Walks through Islington

Ere we finally quit Hoxton, and Finsbury Fields, it may be noticed that a public-house, called the Robin Hood, stands within the precincts of the former, and overlooks the latter, which witnessed the expiring games of the metropolitan archers, and was one of their chief places of resort when their sports were over. In our youthful days, the appropriate sign, representing the famed outlaw, and his constant attendant, both in their suits of "Lincoln green," yet swung from an arm of a lofty tree before the door; and the following invitatory couplets met the eye beneath:— [p. 112:]

"Ye Archers bold, and Yeomen good,
Stop and drink with Robin Hood.
If Robin Hood is not at home,
Stop and drink with Little John."

The tree and the sign, the last relics of the "good old times" of Archery, have, however, disappeared; and the house, having acquired a modern fron, is merely called "The Robin Hood" by way of customary distinction for houses "in the public line."[3]

1859 - Green, Henry - Knutsford

 The name Robin Hood's Well, a locality near the Moor, suggests that the great outlaw and freebooter of Sherwood Forest had wandered to our town; we read the motto over the well,

"If Robin Hood be not at home,
Stop and take a drink with little John;"

[p. 131:] and we imagine his favourite attendant must have been concealed close at hand. But, alas! for our antiquarian excitement; just by is a neatly enclosed mound, and a stone engraved with the words, "Alas! poor Bob!" We enquire what it all means, and learn, almost to our vexation, that Robin Hood was the name of a race-horse buried under the mound, and that little John's drink was not the pure element—"that best of liquors," but like Friar Tuck's,—a flagon of strong ale.[4]

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