Robin Hood (St Giles)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate Near 51.5163, -0.1276
Adm. div. Middlesex, now Greater London
Vicinity 26 Church Street, St Giles (now lost; near Bucknall Street, S of New Oxford Street)
Type Public house
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Defunct
First Record 1750
A.k.a. Robin Hood and Little John; Robinhood
Loading map...
Approximate indication of the site of the Robin Hood.
Bucknall Street, St Giles, near which the Robin Hood was located / Google Earth Street View.
The most likely site of the Robin Hood / Google Earth Street View.
John Rocque's Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark (1746), centred on Church Lane and Church Street / Locating London's Past.
Part of street plan with Church Lane and Street from Rocque's 1746 map superimposed on satellite image / Adapted from materials at Locating London's Past.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-20. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2022-05-05.

The Robin Hood at 24 Church Lane (or 26 Church Street), St Giles, existed by 1750 and at least as late as 1858. Pigot's Directory of London (1839) lists the address as "26 Church Street, St Giles", while Robsons Public House & Publican Directory (1842) has "24 Church lane, Bloomsbury".[1] Rather than the pub moving, this is in all probability due to a change in nomenclature and street layout.

Both streets are included on John Rocque's 1746 map of London and Westminster (shown on this page). Church Street ran parallel to Bainbridge Street in a west-south-westerly direction from Dyot Street until about three-fifths the distance to St Giles High Street – in modern terms probably a point somewhere inside the Zizzi pizza restaurant on Bucknall Street – at which point it became Church Lane, continuing in a west-north-westerly direction, subsequently turning NNW and continuing on until it met Bainbridge Street. On Richard Horwood's Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster (1792-99) both street layout and nomenclature have changed, but essentially Church lane has become Church Street and vice versa.[2] Some time before 1875 (see 25" O.S. map listed below) a street named Arthur Street (more or less the modern Earnshaw Street) had been constructed, swallowing up the northernmost half of Church Lane, and on the 1875 map the remainder of Church Lane and the entire length of Church Street are now labelled 'Church Lane'. By 1914 when the map was revised, this Church Lane had in turn been renamed Bucknall Street. However, from the splendid version of John Rocque's map at the Locating London's Past site, 'deformed' to match modern satellite imagery and maps, one gets the impression that the original Church Street ran a few meters south of the modern Bucknall Street. In all events it seems likely that the difference in address between the 1839 and 1842 directories reflects the change in nomenclature.

With this changing street layout and often vague and sometimes conflicting nomenclature I do not feel I am able to say with certainty where the Robin Hood was located. However, there were in London a handful of Robin Hood's courts or yards adjacent to, or in the immediate vicinity of, pubs also named after the outlaw, and as there was a Robin Hood Court at the eastern end of Church Lane/Street, near Dyott Street, it is likely the Robin Hood was in its immediate vicinity. The cordinates I have used in the info box and on the Google map assume that the Robin Hood was located between the then Church lane (≈Bucknall Street) and the court. This spot is now occupied by the building with the orange front in Bucknall Street (see google Map Street View photo below). It seems certain, at least, that the pub and court would have been within what is now known as Central Saint Giles Piazza.

According to the "patrol" cited in the first of the records from 1822 cited below, the Robin Hood was "a resort for thieves".


1750 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

[17 Oct. 1750:]
Thomas Reynolds, was indicted for inlisting and detaining John Carnes for the French king's service as a soldier, without leave or licence before obtained, &c.
John Carnes. I became acquainted with the prisoner about the first of June last, he lived at the Robin Hood and Little John in Broad St. Giles's, and kept what we call in the vulgar tongue, a bawdy house, a night house for all sorts of people whatsoever. The first time I went in tansiently as I passed by to have a pint of beer, I knew nothing of him at that time; I happened (to tell the truth, my lord) to meet with a sweetheart there, so I went there several times after that; sometimes I staid all night, as he furnished me with a bed and female bedfellow. There were ladies of all tastes, both for soldiers and sailors. One time I had but a shilling, and some halfpence about me. I told him I did not want to wrong him, telling him what I had about me; he said, don't mind that, you shall not want liquor; there came in a young gentleman, about 5 feet 11 inches high, dressed well, with velvet breeches, a large hat, with a feather in it, silk stockings turn'd up his knees; he was pleas'd to call me a clever young fellow; I did not think I was, till such time he told me so.
Q. Was this the first time of your going there?
Carnes. No, sir, this was after I had been there several times; about the 4th or 5th of June the prisoner ask'd me how I lik'd the guards; before I belong'd to the guards, I belong'd to the regiment lately commanded by General Ponsonby; said he, I remember when any of the guards get into trouble, they stand a chance to be whip'd by a cat o'ninetails; said I, so they do very often, but I never was whip'd with a cat o'ninetails yet; said he, I can put you into a better way of living; 4 s. 6 d. per week does not go a great way in London, without a man has a trade, or some other way of getting money, besides his pay; said he, you had better take a little of my advice, and go where I desire you to go, it will be to your profit. Said I, I'll go; where is it? said he, if you'll go into the French service, you cannot be liable to any punishment, without you be a thief, or a rogue; but for getting drunk, or a little small fault, he is never punish'd. I went to bed then; the next morning he ask'd me some more questions; said he, I'll tell you how it is, I can get you out of these guards; said I, if you put me into a better way I'll hear it; he shew'd me about 14 or 15 different coats, some marines; some soldiers, of marching regiments ; said he, go down to Dover, to the sign of the city of Calais, and I'll send a guide along with you; there you shall be kindly receiv'd by two persons, Russel, and Purcel, but the principal was this Purcel; Russel kept the house, and Purcel was one that was prosecuted last Assizes; said I, I cannot go out of London with my regimental cloaths on; said he, I'll give you a frock, and a hat; leave your's with me; which I did.
Q. Did you agree with him to go?
Carnes. I did, I was to have 25 crowns paid me at this sign of the city of Calais.
Q. Did you upon this set out?
Carnes. Yes, sir, I did, and a guide which he sent along with me.
Q. Who was this guide?
Carnes. It was a lady; I deliver'd my coat, waistcoat, and hat, to him, and we set out pretty early in the morning, the 13th of June; she had money plenty of the prisoner, to carry me down.
Q. How do you know that?
Carnes. She told me so.
Q. Did you see the prisoner give her any?
Carnes. She shewed me gold, and I saw him give her money for that purpose.
Q. Did he give you any?
Carnes. No, he did not; he gave me victuals and drink in plenty. She went down along with me as far as Sandwich in Kent. The prisoner gave me advice, when I went out of London, not to pass any of the great towns but in the night, for he said he had several times gone down there with the French ambassador's livery upon him, and passed back in the night time with persons to go to serve in lord Ogleby's regiment in the French service. When I got to Sandwich, then I began to think of the evil I had done; I left my female guide there, and went right on to Dover-Castle, where there were two companies of Scotch Fuzileers, and I went to a relation of mine, whose name is Hope, and told him what I had done.
Q. Did you not go into the town of Dover?
Carnes. No, I did not, the Castle is out of the town; I went also to a serjeant-major of the Scotch Fuziliers, and told him I belonged to the third regiment of foot-guards commanded by the earl of Dunmore. I desired him to write back to the regiment.
Q. Consider well; did you agree with the prisoner to go and enter into the French service?
Carnes. I did agree with him so to do.
Q. You say he gave you liquor? did he give you that to encourage you to undertake this?
Carnes. It was for no other intent. The woman bore all my expences, I was not one farthing out of pocket.
Q. How long were you in going to Sandwich?
Carnes. We lay three nights by the way; one place where we lay was about half way betwixt this and Rochester, 15 miles from London.
Q. What is the woman's name?
Carnes. I don't know that, she was one of his ladies that attended the house.
Q. Do you know whether she had the money, she bore your charges withal, of the prisoner?
Carnes. His intent of giving her the money was in case I had been taken up, then I might say I never received a farthing of money from him; this was to keep him free of the law. He told me on our setting out she had plenty, and I should not want either victuals or drink.
Q. Are you sure he told you this?
Carnes. He told me so a great many times, and when we went out of his house in the morning, after we had drank two hot pots together, he opened the door, and wished all good fortune, and said don't be afraid, this woman has money enough, and when you come there you shall have money enough; so we went on together, and passed as man and wife.
Q. Did you agree with him, or was you to agree with Purcel?
Carnes. I agreed with the prisoner.

Cross examined.
Q.' How happen'd it you went first into the prisoner's house?
Carnes. As I might in any other house in London.
Q. Did not you know it was a bawdy house?
Carnes. No, not at first going in.
Q. Did he begin this conversation, at your first going there?
Carnes. No, not till I had been there three or four times.
Q. Was it for the sake of your nymph, or the prisoner's conversation, you went there?
Carnes. It was to lie with the several young women that were there, that made me go three or four times.
Q. At whose expence was you entertain'd there?
Carnes. The first time it was at my own expence; the second and third times, it was at part my own, and part some of the female sex, that were there; and after that by his expence.
Q. Did you never run on tick there?
Carnes. No, I never did in my life.
Q. Had you any letter of recommendation to Purcel?
Carnes. No, none at all; I had no writing, but the woman had.
Q. Had you been conversant with her before you set out?
Carnes. Yes, sir, I had 5 or 6 times before; but I was as free with other women at his house, as with her.
Q. Where is she now?
Carnes. I don't know.
Q. Had you ever your own regimentals again?
Carnes. Yes, sir, the serjeant of the company that I belong to, went to the prisoner's house, and brought this coat I have on; he had my ammunition waistcoat there, out of the bar.
Q. Have you a wife?
Carnes. Yes, sir, I have.
Q. Did not you pawn your hat?
Carnes. No, sir, I never did in my life.
Q. Did not your wife pawn it?
Carnes. That wife was one of the prisoner's own producing; I deliver'd it into the prisoner's hands.
Q. What did you do with your arms and accoutrements?
Carnes. I left them in my quarters; the prisoner said, suppose you should meet any soldiers on the road, you had better cut your hair off. He also desired me to bring my firelock, arms, and accoutrements to him, and he knew a safe way to send them over; said I, that is death without mercy, I'll never dispose of his Majesty's arms; he called me fool, saying, he knew which way to convey them safe over, and that he had conveyed pieces of the Tower arms over before then.
Serjeant John Templestone. I know the last witness, he is a soldier in the company I belong to. I inlisted him myself.
Q. Did you ever miss him from your regiment?
Templestone. He went away for some time. We began to enquire after him; we had intelligence by some people who had seen him at the prisoner's house; I went there and took two or three more people with me, and enquired if he knew John Carnes a soldier; (the prisoner seemed very much confused, he went and talked to his wife) yes, said he, I do know him; pray, said I, do you know any thing of his leaving any cloaths here? said he. I would have sent them to the people they belong to had I known where to send; so he went and brought me Carnes's coat and waistcoat, the hat he denies. Carnes said he left the hat there, and I believe I have an evidence here that knows it was left there; the prisoner said Carnes lodged some nights in his house, and told me he was gone out a hay-making with a woman.
– Riley. I have known John Carnes ever since the 5th of June last; I saw him at the Robin Hood and Little John in Broad St. Giles's; I found a regimental hat in the bed where I lay up one pair of stairs backwards, and delivered it to the prisoner's wife, it was a new one; I was going to crop it for myself. The prisoner was then asleep.
To his Character.
William Johnson. I never saw any thing by the prisoner but what was honest, I lodged in his house about two months before his confinement; I came home in the Eltham man of war between five and six months ago; when I came to London I happened to lodge in his house.
Q. Did he ever endeavour to intice you abroad?
Johnson. No, never.
Q. Did you ever hear him talk in this nature to any others?
Johnson. No, I never did.
Q. What sort of company is there in that house?
Johnson. There were people came in and out, who called for beer.
Q. Were not there women resorted there very frequently?
Johnson. There were, but whether they lay there I cannot tell.
Sarah Barker. I have known the prisoner between seven and eight months; I never was in his house but when his wife lay in; he bore as good a character as any man in the world for what I heard.
Q. Did you ever hear he encouraged people to go abroad?
Barker. No, Sir, I never heard he did.
Q. Do you live near him?
Barker. I live about a quarter of a mile off his house; I nursed his wife.
Q. Had he many people come to his house?
Barker. He had a neighbourly share of customers, but I was very seldom down stairs.
Q. Was you ever at Sandwich?
Barker. No, sir, I never was.
Guilty Death.[3]

1808 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (3)

[26 Nov. 1808:]
THOMAS SAUNDERS. I am a plaisterer, I live at the Robin Hood, Church lane, St. Giles's. [4]

1809 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (4)

[20 Sep. 1809:]
ABIGAIL PEARL. I am the wife of Wm. Pearl, my husband is a publican, we live at the Robin-hood, Church lane, St. Giles's, Catherine Conner was my servant , I sent a basket of linen by Catherine Conner to be mangled on the 12th of August, she staid in my service and remained at work till Friday the 18th.[5]

1810 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (3)

[6 Jun. 1810:]
Butler's Defence. I was in the Turk's head when this man came in, I saw him with two more girls; when the prosecutor was there me and two more girls went to the Robin Hood to have some more drink. Uxbridge Bet bade me good night; she had a room and took him up stairs.[6]

1822 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (3)

[22 May 1822:]
WILLIAM ADAMS. I am a patrol. I saw the prisoner in Lawrence-lane, with two others, one about twelve years old; they ran down the lane by me, and in about ten minutes I went with Keys to the Robin Hood, public-house, Church-lane, and took him; it is a resort for thieves.[7]

1822 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (4)

[11 Sep. 1822:]
JOHN GODFREY. I am a labourer. On the 9th of July, about twenty minutes past ten o'clock in the morning, I went into the Robin Hood, public-house, in St. Giles's, and had half a pint of beer - I had nothing else all day. While I was there five of this party were drinking. One of them told me to sit down and take my beer. The prisoners were two of them; one of them who is not here shoved against me, and I gave way; they had seen me take out my purse to pay for the beer about two minutes before, I returned it to my right hand breeches pocket. When they shoved me, Flynn put his arm round the one who was pushing, and drew out my purse; they all five them went off, and a woman followed them out; there was a sovereign, eighteen shillings, and three-halfpence in my purse, which I have not recovered. I went to get up, and Herring said, "If I followed them, he would rip my ***** out;" and seeing a knife in his hand I was afraid, and did not follow immediately. I saw a beadle of St. Giles's come in, and told him; and I then followed them - and saw them turn the corner and share my money. After that one of the party came up; it was neither of the prisoners; he said something - they then got away. I saw Flynn in the afternoon in St. Giles's; he was secured. Herring was taken some time afterwards. I had seen Flynn several times before, and am sure of them both.

Cross-examined by MR. PLATT. Q. You knew Flynn before - A. Yes, by sight. I did not know where to find him. I was as sober as I am now; I had drank nothing but a tea spoon full of beer; I only wetted my lips. I was with no girls - there was a woman at the public-house window with eggs, who said, come in; I spoke to her, but did not go in; two women followed me into the house, but were not with me. I did not speak to them, nor they to me, except to thank me for paying for a quartern of gin, which they asked me to give them. I was not a minute with them; they drank it, and away they went. Flynn followed me in and stood behind me. I had my money in my hand after the girls went out. I did not drink a drop of gin.

GEORGE BASEY. I apprehended Flynn on the 9th of July, and found nothing on him.

WILLIAM PRICE. I apprehended Herring in Church-lane, on the 11th of July. I found nothing on him.

FLYNN'S Defence. I went in to have a pint of beer, and saw the prosecutor sitting with two girls, and a pot of beer before him. My little sister fetched me to breakfast - I was not in the house five minutes. There was only a parcel of women there. I went home to breakfast, and coming down Ivy-street some boys were there pulling the prosecutor about. A boy came up and said the prosecutor was robbed - I said I could not help it; he said if they had left him enough to get some tobacco, he would not have cared, and asked me for money for some.

HERRING'S Defence. I did not go there till half past nine o'clock. I was taken into the office four or five days after. He said he did not think I was the lad. The patrol said, "Yes, that is the lad - he had a cut in his face."

JAMES MURPHY. I am a boot-closer, and live in Church-street. On the day Flynn was taken, I saw the prosecutor come up to the corner of George-street with two girls of the town - he appeared intoxicated. I went into the Robin Hood, after that, to see the time, and saw him with a measure of gin in his hand; he helped it out to the girls. I went home to dress to go to Chelsea. I went in again, and Flynn's sister came and asked him to go to breakfast - he was sitting outside the house on the cellar flap; he went away with her, and during his absence the prosecutor came out and said he was robbed, and supposed it was either the women in his company, or some boys, and if he could have some tobacco he should not concern himself about it. He said "I have been robbed by two d - d w - s or some of the boys." I believe the women were inside the house at this time.[8]

1824 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (4)

[28 Oct. 1824:]
THOMAS BOYLE. I keep the Robinhood, public-house, St. Giles's . I saw the boy with two glasses - the prisoner was with him; he ran out with the glasses, and I followed him. I looked round for a minute or two, and a boy told me where he was: I took him, and he said, "What a fool the boy is, to make such a noise about it."[9]

1826 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

[22 Jun. 1826:]
THOMAS BOYLE. I keep the Robin Hood public-house. On the 13th of June I saw Donovan in the street, dressed in a waistcoat with sleeves; he is very similar in appearance to the prisoner.[10]

1827 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

[5 Apr. 1827:]
THOMAS BOYLE. I keep the Robin Hood public house, Church-street, St. Giles. This coat was in my bed-room drawer; the prisoner came in to drink about ten o'clock at night; I was called by a young man, who caught him in my bed-room. I went up, and met him on the stairs; he knocked me down, and rushed out, leaving his hat and handkerchief behind. Mason took the coat from him; he was taken a fortnight afterwards.[11]

1829 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

[11 Jun. 1829:]
JAMES MASON. On the 22d of April, about eight o'clock in the evening, I missed a pair of shoes, a pair of stockings, and other things from my sleeping-room, on the third floor at the Robin Hood public-house, in Church-street, St. Giles'; the prisoner was pot-boy there - some of my articles were hanging up, and some were on the table; I saw them safe about six o'clock in the morning: I think the prisoner has one of my shirts on now.

OWEN CONNELL. I slept in the same room; I missed a coat, a waistcoat, and a handkerchief, which I had seen safe about half-past four o'clock that morning; he said he sold my coat in Rose-lane, for 3s., and the other things in Mommouth-street.

THOMAS BOYLE. I keep the Robin Hood. The prisoner was in my service; he had a linen tick to throw over his bed, which was taken the same day - he left me without notice: I took him myself on the 9th of May; he had Mason's shirt on - he said he would pay for the articles at 2s. per week, but the Magistrate would not permit it; he had been with me two or three months.[12]

1832 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (1)

[5 Apr. 1832:]
John Quin. Q. What took you to Brownlow-street first? A. I had not been there lately; I first saw you walking down George-street - Donovan was with me; I had got acquainted with him during the time I went backwards and forwards to St. Giles - he did not say, "There he is;" you came out of your house and went over to the Robin Hood - then you came out, and Donovan went and spoke to you; that was on the 22nd - you then turned to me, and said you had none by you, that you never sold less than a score; but you told me to wait - you went and fetched me six shillings, and gave me them under a lamp - we went, and had something to drink; Donovan stepped on one side, but I had not been in conversation with him - you then said if I could get you a customer you would give me a shilling's worth in, and appointed to meet me the next night at a quarter-past seven o'clock; I was against the pump at the time you appointed - you came, and asked me to go up; I went, and made a second purchase of you.[13]

1838 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (4)

[14 May 1838:]
THOMAS HARRIS. I am a fancy pearl-cutter, and live in Church-lane, Bloomsbury. On the evening of Friday, the 13th of April, my brother-in-law came to sup with me—we had some beer brought from Mr. Mason's, the Robin Hood public-house—it came in a can, and an empty quart pot with it—I believe Mr. Mason's name was on the pot, but I did not look—my brother left me about ten o'clock at night—I missed the quart pot about twelve o'clock the next morning—I had reason to believe my brother-in-law took it away—I sent for him—he told me something about it, and in consequence of that, he took me to the prisoner's, which is in Church-street, I believe—when I went to the prisoner's place, I knocked at the door—I had my brother-in-law alongside of me—the prisoner said, "Come in"—I went in, and he was sitting by the fire—I asked him whether he had bought a quart pot of this boy, showing him my brother-in-law—he denied it—I asked him again, and the boy spoke up, and said, "You did buy it"—I offered the prisoner the 4d. which the boy said he gave him, and then he said he had bought it, but he had taken it home to the landlord's, and put it into the passage—I requested him to go with me to Mr. Mason's, and we all three went together; and I asked Mr. Mason whether the prisoner had brought a quart pot home to him—he said he had not—the prisoner then said he left it in the passage, and then he said he did not, but if Mr. Mason would let him go home, he would get it—Mr. Mason said be would give him the 4d. out of his pocket if he would give him his pot, and he would go with him and get it—the prisoner said he could not get it without he went by himself—he was then given into custody.

FRANCIS BANKS. I was supping with my brother-in-law that night—I saw this quart pot and took it to the prisoner—I had not known him till he had come and spoke to me for two or three days, and then I took this pot to him—he gave me fourpence for it—I told my brother-in-law of it.

Prisoner. You asked if I wanted to buy it, and I said, "No," and you said you had not enough to pay for your lodging, and I gave you ten half-pence for it. Witness. No—you only gave me fourpence.

JAMES MASON. I am landlord of the Robin Hood. I remember the can of beer and the quart pot going to Harris's house—I believe the pot had the name of Boyle on it—I have never seen it since—the two witnesses and the prisoner came to me on the Monday morning—the prisoner requested me to let him go alone, and I would not—I offered to send any man in the room with him, or to go myself, and he would not—I then gave charge of him.[14]

1842 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (1)

[4 Jul. 1842:]
JAMES MASON. I keep the Robin Hood, in Church-lane, St. Giles's I have known Conroy four years—he frequented my public-house—he showed me the watch, laid it on the table, and said he had bought it—there were plenty of people there.

EDWARD CALL. I am a wine-cooper, in George-street, Bloomsbury, Conroy showed me this watch openly in the Robin Hood.[15]

1858 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (5)

[22 Nov. 1858:]
PATRICK MARA. I keep the Robin Hood public-house, Church-lane. On the Monday before 4th November, the prisoner came with another person, who called for a pint of porter, and threw down half-a-crown—I took it up, bent it in a detector, found it was bad, and returned it to him, saying that I would forgive him that time, and he had better keep away for the future, as I was rather too good a judge for him—on Thursday, 4th November, he came alone, called for a pint of porter, and gave me a bad shilling; I bent it in two places, told him I had forgiven him once, but would not forgive him a second time; sent for a constable, and gave him in custody—he then offered me another shilling, but I would not take it.

Prisoner. Q. Am not I a customer at your house? A. No, you are quite a stranger—I do not rent the house you live in next door—I am the landlord under the ground landlord, and the house is sub-let by two persons under me—it is a registered lodging-house, and I understand you lodge there occasionally by what I hear—I did not try to knock the shilling you offered me out of your hand—I did not put a hand to you—you were rather the worse for liquor.

DAVID HARRIS (Policeman, E 32). I was sent for to the Robin Hood, and took the prisoner—both his hands were clenched—I opened hit right hand, and found a good half-crown and a sixpence—I tried to open his left hand, but could not—I kept hold of that hand till we got to the station, where I got a sergeant and a constable to assist me, and opened his left hand, and found in it this counterfeit shilling, a good shilling, and four good sixpences, and in his pocket a penny.[16]





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