Robin Hood's Cave (Whitwell)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
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Coordinate 52.6636, -0.6514
Adm. div. Rutland
Vicinity c. 1.15 km SW of Whitwell; submerged since Rutland Water was established in 1975-76
Type Prehistoric site
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Defunct
First Record 1831
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The site of Robin Hood's Cave, now submerged by Rutland Water.
Robin Hood's Cave indicated on 6" O.S. map Rutland IX.NE (18895; surveyed 1884) / National Library of Scotland.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-26. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2022-04-25.

At the bottom of the large reservoir known as Rutland Water lie the remnants of a medieval moated site that used to be known as Robin Hood's Cave. What is left of Barnsdale Wood is located a little to the north, while Armley Wood, now largely submerged, was located a little south of the moated site. Bernard's Hill Park, later known as Barnsdale Park,[1] once covered the entire area, and it has been suggested that the moat surrounded a medieval park-keeper's lodge.[2] According to a recent article in a local newspaper, Robin Hood's Cave was filled in in 1939.[3] A few decades later the site, together with much of Barnsdale Wood, all of Armley Wood and other localities in the vicinity, was submerged when Rutland Water was created, a process that was completed in 1975-76.[4]

Robin Hood's Cave is noted in the English Place-Name Society's volume on Rutland[5], but no reference or date is cited, which in EPNS publications usually indicates that the place-names is first recorded relatively recently, probably 19th to 20th century. The earliest map source I have found for this place-name so far is the 6" O.S. map of the area published in 1885 and based on a survey made the preceding year (see Maps section below). The first edition (1831) of Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England mentions Robin Hood's Cave in its entry on Whitwell (see Allusions section below). This is the earliest source I have found yet.

Though Robin Hood's Cave is a medieval, not a prehistoric site, I have indicated 'Prehistoric site' in the infobox above. The data in the infoboxes serves as the basis for the charts found on the lading pages in the place-names section of IRHB, and for this purpose it is important to have only a few categories. As an earthwork the site fits most naturally in this category.

Note that Robin Hood's Cave (Creswell Crags) in Derbyshire is situated c. 2 km SSE of another Whitwell.


1831 - Lewis, Samuel - Topographical Dictionary of England (14)

 WHITWELL, a parish in the hundred of Alstoe, county of Rutland, 4½ miles (E.) from Oakham, containing 112 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Northampton, and diocese of Peterborough, rated in the king’s books at £5, and in the patronage of Sir G. Noel Noel, Bart. The church is dedicated to St. Michael. A small mound in the neighbourhood, bearing the name of Robin Hood’s Cave, is supposed to have been a retreat of that celebrated outlaw.[6]





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