Robin Hood's Well (Little Matlock)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 53.399621, -1.533786
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity c. 5 km NW of Sheffield
Type Natural feature
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Defunct
First Record 1819
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Robin Hood's Well was located close to the river bed, not far from the former Robin Hood Inn.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-07. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-06.

Joseph Hunter noted in 1819 (see Allusions) that Robin Hood's Well had, "from time immemorial", been the name of a well near River Loxley. No one now seems to know where the well was located, but it is clear from Hunter that it was found somewhere very near the river in Little Matlock. Note that though they claim the well had long been named after Robin Hood, all surviving sources to mention it were written after Thomas Halliday landscaped Cliff Rocher into the summer outing spot Little Matlock. A well within the grounds connected with the outlaw "from time immemorial" must have been an added attraction.


1819 - Hunter, Joseph - Hallamshire

But a small portion of the course of the Loxley is within the parish of Sheffield. It rises near the village of Bradfield, and flows through a thinly-peopled country, which in the memory of man was wholly uninclosed and uncultivated, called Loxley-Chase; a district which seems to have the fairest pretensions to be the Locksley of our old ballads, where was born that redoubtable hero Robin Hood. The remains of a house in which it was pretended he was born were formerly pointed out in a small wood in Loxley called Bar-wood, and a well of fine clear water rising near the bed of the river has been called from time immemorial Robin Hood's Well. This well is included within the grounds at Cliff-Rocher, a place not inaptly named by its late proprietor Little-Matlock, as it bears no mean resemblance to some parts of the beautiful valley of Matlock in Derbyshire. The walks which that gentleman cut in the boldest part of the cliff, and along a natural terrace extending to that part of Stannington in which are the chapel and minister's house, were thrown open to the public, and much frequented during several summers by the people of Sheffield.[1]

1824 - Holland, John - Picture of Sheffield

In the grounds of a most beautiful spot, about four miles from Sheffield, called Little Matlock, (after the famed Matlock in Derbyshire, which it much resembles) is a well which has been named Robin Hood's well from time out of mind, and the ruins of a house are also to be seen, in which it is said that famous marauder first drew his breath. Little Matlock is well worth visiting. There is a house of refreshment at which tea parties may be accommodated. [2]

1837 - Holland, John - Tour of Don

A little to the north of the spot where this river [River Loxley] unites with the Rivelin, lies an extensive plain called Loxley Chase, and traditionally pointed out as the birth-place either of Robin Hood, who was sometimes called Locksley, from the place of his birth—or at least one of his followers, whose name in sound if not in spelling is identical with that of the place referred to; though what grounds of identity are traceable between our Hallamshire locality and the "Sweet Locksley [p. 177:] town in merry Nottinghamshire," where, according to the ballad, "bold Robin Hood was born and bred," it would be difficult to say. The question has its interest with ballad-antiquaries: but evidence that proves too much will be received with suspicion—the story, therefore, that some fragments of a building formerly pointed out were the remains of the early dwelling of the Sherwood royster, or the fact that his well is still pointed out in Cliff Rocher, are circumstances rather amusing than elucidatory.[3]



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