Robin Hood (Bishopsgate)
|Middlesex, now Greater London
|Skinnergate 67 (now lost); Broadgate, west side of Bishopsgate, c. 60 m N of Liverpool Street Station
|Robin Hood name
|Robin Hood and Little John; Robinhood and Little John; Robinhood
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-19. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2022-05-03.
The Robin Hood in Skinner Street, a side street of Bishopsgate surviving in part as Pindar Street, first figures in the records of the Sun Fire Office which give the name of the 'victualler' as John Curtis. The next record seems to be a summary of a case at the Old Bailey in 1793. It existed at least as late as 1884. The large modern office building on Primrose Street known as Exchange House covers much of the long gone Skinner Street.
The Old Bailey case report (see Records below) refers to 'Robinhood and Little John in Bishopsgate-street'. Since we have no evidence for the existence of a pub named the Robin Hood (and Little John) on Bishopsgate itself, I think Pub History is right in taking this as a reference to the Robin Hood in Skinner Street. It was not uncommon to refer to side streets and their side streets, courts, yards, alleys etc. by the name of the larger street to which they were directly or indirectly connected.The stretch of the present Pindar Street that runs in a more or less easterly direction is part of the lost Skinner Street, which then did not turn north to meet up with Primrose Street but instead continued in parallel with the latter to Bishopsgate. The row of trees on the south side of Exchange House would have been on the south side of Skinner Street.
[20 Feb. 1793:]
JOHN CURTIS was indicted for not having the fear of God before his eyes on the 28th of March, in and upon Sarah Tipple, spinster, violently did make an assault, and then and there the said Sarah Tipple violently and feloniously did Ravish and carnally know.
(The witnesses examined separate.)
SARAH TIPPLE sworn. I am a single woman, I go to service; at the time of this assault I lived servant with Mr. Curtis; I lived with him three weeks; I am nineteen next August.
Mr. Curtis is a publican, he keeps the Robinhood and Little John in Bishopsgate-street. I came up to London on Saturday; I came from Wyndham in Norfolk; I went to my place to Mr. Curtis's on Monday, this affair happen on tuesday. I was up three pair of stairs making of the beds, and my master came up stairs and bolted the door, he insisted violence upon me immediately.
[26 Jun. 1809:]
Q. Did you know him before - A. I saw him the day before at the Robin Hood in Skinner-street. I had lost a silk handkerchief the day before, he told me he could inform me where my handkerchief was; that is the reason he was along with me.
Q. When he went away how soon afterwards did you find the notes were gone - A. In about twenty minutes. Nobody sat along side of me but him; I had shewed them to nobody else but him.
JOHN EASTFIELD. I was in the house with Mr. Edwards on the 22nd of June; I saw Mr. Edwards give Chappel a twenty pound note, a five pound note, and half a guinea, he wrapped the notes up in a bit of brown paper, and put them in his inside breeches pocket; he asked me to accompany him to the Robin Hood, in Skinner-street, in search of a silk handkerchief he had lost the night before; we went into the tap-room, called for a pot of porter; the prisoner was in the taproom; he came to Chappel and said, I can inform you how you can find your handkerchief; Chappel and I went out, we went to Merchant Taylors Hall; the prisoner followed us. I left Chappel and the prisoner together.
EDWARD HOLDITCH. I am a soldier. On Wednesday afternoon I was passing through Bishopgate-street, I saw Chappel; a person came up and persuaded him to go to the Robin Hood; we went there; he took out a paper containing notes, the notes fell out of the paper, he picked up the notes; I said you had better leave the notes in the landlord's hands; the landlord read them, he said there was a twenty pound, and a five pound note. We had two pots of porter; Chappel's hat fell off his head, I picked it up; I said you have lost your handkerchief, he said no, it is in my hat; I said it is not, he turned his pockets inside out; I said you are in a house that is not safe, quit the house and let that be the first loss; with that he got up and drank a glass of gin, and gave me one. At the time I was telling the landlord of his losing the handkerchief, this lad came in and went out again; I persuaded Chappel to go to the sign of the Buffalo. I told his wife where he had left his money; this lad abused me for saying that his handkerchief had been lost; he said he should see me another time, he would close my eyes. This man's wife, and Chappel, returned to the Robin Hood, and received the notes; the prisoner saw them receive the notes; they were left in the hands of Mr. Edwards, at the Buffalo, till the next morning.
Q. to prosecutor. At what public house did you lose the notes - A. The Prince of Wales, in Wentworh-street, Spitalfields.
Prisoner's Defence. I had been helping my father to move till four o'clock in the afternoon; I went down to the Robin Hood, Skinner-street, that gentleman and that one were standing at the bar drinking; that gentleman was very much intoxicated, he challenged a soldier with taking his silk handkerchief; I said, if I were you, I would go and clear myself; he said he would. I went out of doors; that gentleman in Skinner-street, said, what are you following of me for; he said, you rascally villain, if you follow me, I will charge a constable with you. When he had abused me, I went down Skinner-street, into the Buffalo, and had a pint of beer; from there I went into the Robin Hood. Mr. Chappel and that gentleman and his wife came in and received the money. The next morning I went to the Robin Hood, in came Mr. Chappel and that gentleman; I asked Mr. Chappel if he had heard any thing of his handkerchief, he said no; I said if I could get any thing out of the girl that was in the house, I would tell him. I went down Threadneedle-street; he went into Merchant Taylor's Hall; me and this gentleman went into a public house; when Mr. Chappel came, he asked him to lend him five shillings; he said he had lost twenty pounds, he would not lend any more; they parted. I went with Mr. Chappel into the Prince of Wales, Wentworth-street , we had two pots of beer there; I said I cannot drink any more, you do not drink any thing yourself; he drank that pot of beer before he took it away from his mouth; he said he could drink as much again. They all came round and shoved me away; he said, let me see if my money is safe; he could not find it, I said, let me feel; I put my hand into his fob, took out the notes, and put them into his hand; he told me to put it into the fob, I did. I said if you do not come out of this place, I shall bid you good bye. I immediately came out, and the servant of the house is witness that he saw me put it into his fob.
[31 Oct. 1810:]
HENRY WILLIAMS. I am a sailor. Last Thursday night I went to a public-house in Skinner-street, I had this property with me, I called for a glass of grog, I fell in with this woman, she was sitting singing there, I asked her to drink a glass of grog, and then I called for a pot of ale; I gave her part of that; I called for at her pot of ale, she and I after that went to the Robin Hood in the same street; I had a pint of ale in the tap-room; I clapped the bundle alongside of me; as soon as ever I had the pint of ale she took the bundle away from me, and in the course of ten minutes I missed her and the bundle.
Q. What were you about that ten minutes - A. I was talking to a man in the same box; as soon as I missed her and the bundle I went to the landlord, I asked him if he saw a woman with a bundle, he said he did, he knew the woman; the landlord sent for Mr. Sheppard, I gave him the description of the bundle, and in the course of an hour the constable returned with the bundle, he took me to the watchhouse, and there was the woman; I knew the woman, I am sure that is the woman.
Prisoner. There were a great many people in the tap-room, and a young woman was with me, and whether I took the bundle or the young woman I cannot say.
Q. to prosecutor. Was she tipsey - A. No. There was another young woman went out, I believe she had nothing to do with the bundle.
RICHARD GREEN. I am the landlord of the Robin Hood in Skinner-street. On this night week, about ten o'clock, I heard a scuffle at the bar. I saw the prisoner with a bundle under her arm, she went out of the house.
[5 Dec. 1810:]
CHARLES WRIGHT. Q. On the Tuesday night that this happened, where were you. - A. In the public-house, the Robin Hood, in Skinner-street. I am a wine-porter. I work for Mr. Keep, Halfmoon-street, Bishopsgate. I was there about half past eleven.
[2 Jun. 1813:]
JANE GREENWOOD. I am the wife of Joseph Greenwood; my husband keeps the Robin Hood in Skinner-street, Bishopsgate-street.
[12 May 1831:]
THOMAS SAPWELL. On the 3rd of May, about nine o'clock at night, I was sent for to the Robinhood, in Skinner-street, to look at some butter which two young men had brought there; there were fourteen lumps tied in this cloth, and tied in a blue apron, which I believe the prisoner has now got on; while I was sitting in the bar the prisoner came up, and asked for the apron - I had not time to examine the butter well; another person, named Bathe, was with him - they said they were going to Leadenhall-market; the prisoner took the apron with him - I followed them up the street, and lost them; as they said they would come back in an hour, I went back, and waited till between eleven and twelve o'clock, but they did not come; on the Wednesday morning, between ten and eleven I was sent for - I went there, and found the prisoner and the other; the butter was there - I suspected it was stolen, as it was not wrapped up as it should have been; I asked where they got it from - they seemed very much confused at the moment, but afterwards said they bought it; it was then in this turbot basket, not in a flat - I asked Carter who he bought it of; he at first said he bought it at a shop in Newgate-market - I asked who kept the shop; he made no answer, then said he had bought it outside the shop, but gave no name - I asked where he lived; he said any where - the other said he lived in a court on Old Fish-street-hill; the prisoner afterwards said, before the Magistrate, that he bought it of a countryman in Newgate-market - it weighed 28lbs.; I made inquiry, and found Mr. Knight, who claimed the cloth - he said, "If the butter belongs to me it is two creams (meaning dairys), and it was so. The bill against Bathe was not found.
[9 Jul. 1838:]
GEORGE CHRISTOPHER HYMNS. I live in Harp-alley, Long-alley, Moorfields. I know Robert Marsh and the two prisoners—I was at the Robin Hood and Little John public-house, in Skinner-street, Bishopsgate, about twenty minutes past nine o'clock, on the night of the 27th of April, when Marsh and the two prisoners were there—I know Mr. Brown's premises—I and my father used to work there—his warehouse is fifty or sixty yards from the Robin Hood and Little John—Marsh staid there till about twenty minutes to ten o'clock—he then went out, and the two prisoners went out about ten minutes after Marsh did—the prisoners came back in about five minutes, or rather better, and then Dixon changed his hat for a cap with a young man in the tap-room, and then Hands changed his hat for a cap with a man of the name of Herbert—Dixon then said to the man he changed with, that he was going after some whalebone in Foster-street—Hands was close to him—Marsh was not there then—the prisoners then went away, amd in about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes I went out to go home—in my way home I saw the two prisoners at the corner of Long-alley, which is about sixty yards from the public-house, and twenty or thirty yards from Mr. Brown's premises—there is a way from the corner of Long-alley to Mr. Brown's premises, up Peter—street—the prisoners had the caps on their heads, and I observed under the side of Dixon's coat a dark cloth—it seemed a kind of towel cloth, or wrapper—I heard Hands say to Dixon, "Come, on, Charley; we shall be too late"—they then went on, towards Peter-street, in the line to where Mr. Brown lived.
Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. Whose employ are you in? A. My father-in-law's—he is a bricklayer—I have been employed by him about eleven months—before that I was in the employ of Mr. Self, of Watling-street—before that I was out of a situation for a long time—I was in Bridewell for three months, as I was enticed away by a young man to pick pockets—that is the only time I was in custody—I was not in Mr. Brown's employ, only doing bits of jobs with my father—I know his premises well—I had been on them once or twice—I knew Marsh some time—I know nothing of Moneghan.
COURT. Q. Did you give information immediately when you found they were going to Foster-street? A. No—Mr. Brown came to me—there was a man of the name of John Groom in the public-house when this robbery was talked of—I spoke to him, and he said, "Never mind, let them get their living in the best way they can"—Groom was a kind of pot-boy in a house in Long-alley, but he did something, and is gone away—there was Herbert and Atterbury, and others in the public-house—I do not know what has become of Marsh—I have not seen him since the night the robbery was done—I do not know what the prisoners were waiting for from the time they went out of the public-house till I saw them—I am quite sure I did not get nearer to the prosecutor's premises than within thirty yards—I went straight home, and told my father-in-law of it.
Hands. I never was at the Robin Hood that night—I never met this witness at the corner of Long-alley—I never changed my hat with any one—Herbert is now in the Compter for stealing lead.
[11 Jun. 1860:]
MATTHEW WAKEFIELD. I keep the Robin Hood and Little John in Skinner-street—on the afternoon of 17th May, the prisoner came and called for half a quartern of gin and some hot water—I served him and be put down a bad shilling—I tried it and bent it double—I told him it was bad, and asked him if he had got any more—he then seemed to be very drunk, and I went round to him and said to him "Have you got any more?—he gave me another shilling; I gave it to my wife, she tried it and it was bad—I asked the prisoner if he had any more and he pulled out a good sixpence—my wife gave him 4d. change—I gave him both the shillings back—I went out and got a policeman—the prisoner was then outside the door going away—I followed him to the station, and at the station two bad shillings were produced—I could not swear that they were the same that he had offered to me; they were very much like them.
- Not included in Dobson, R. B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 293-311.
- National Archives: Insured: John Curtis, 67 (The Robin Hood) Skinner Street, victualler.
- Pub Wiki: Robin Hood & Little John, 67 Skinner Street, Bishopsgate EC2.
- Rocque, John, cartog.; Pine, John, engr. A Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark (London, 1746); shown on this page.
- 25" O.S. map London (1915- Numbered sheets) V.11 (1916; rev. 1914)
- 25" O.S. map London (1915- Numbered sheets) V.11 (1916; rev. 1914) (georeferenced)
- 6" O.S. map Middlesex XVII (1880-82; surveyed 1868-73)
- 6" O.S. map Surrey III (1880; surveyed 1868-73)
- 6" O.S. map London VII.SE (1894-96; rev. 1893-94)
- 6" O.S. map Surrey III.NW (1898; rev. 1893-95)
- 6" O.S. map Surrey III.NW (1898; rev. 1893-95) (georeferenced)
- 6" O.S. map London Sheet K (1920; rev. 1913-14)
- 6" O.S. map London Sheet K (c. 1946; rev. 1938).
- Broadgate place-name cluster
- Robinhood place-names
- Places named after Little John
- Public houses named after Robin Hood.
- National Archives: Insured: John Curtis, 67 (The Robin Hood) Skinner Street, victualler.
- Pub Wiki: Robin Hood & Little John, 67 Skinner Street, Bishopsgate EC2.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 20 Feb. 1793.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 26 Jun. 1809.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 31 Oct. 1810.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 5 Dec. 1810.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 2 Jun. 1813.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 12 May 1831.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 9 Jul. 1838.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 11 Jun. 1860.
- Also see there: London 1841 Public House & Publican Directory - R3; The London 1842 Robsons Public House & Publican Directory - R2; London 1856 Public House & Publican Directory - R2; London 1869 Public House & Publican Directory - R2; London 1874 Licensed Victuallers and Hotel Keepers Directory - City LR; The London 1884 Public House & Publican Directory - R2.
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A bit of the now vanished Skinner Street / Basher Eyre, 12 Oct. 2008, Creative Commons, via Geograph.