Robinhood Lane (Winnersh)

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Coordinate 51.433307, -0.874524
Adm. div. Berkshire
Vicinity NNE from Reading Road to become Davis Street after A329 (M) overpass; in Winnersh
Type Thoroughfare
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1883
A.k.a. Robin Hood Lane
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Robinhood Lane, Winnersh
Robinhood Lane, Winnersh / Google Maps Street View.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-05-28. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-03-22.

Robinhood Lane in Winnersh runs north-east from Reading Road to become Davis Street north of the A329 (M) overpass.

Until sometime in the latter half of the 20th century, the road followed a less direct course than it does at present. North of Arbor Lane, it turned NNE, following the course of the present Robin Hood Way. See this for further discussion of changes to the course of the road. The earliest source to include the road name known to IRHB is a 6" O.S. map dating from 1883 (see below). The English Place-Name Society's volume on this part of Berkshire conflates it with Robin Hoods and Robin Hoods Ground, citing no date for Robinhood Lane.[1]

Robin Hood's Arbour?

Margaret Gelling, the editor of the English Place-Name Society's volumes on Berkshire, suggests that the names of Robinhood Lane, the Robin Hoods and Robin Hoods Ground in Winnersh may preserve the memory of a lost Robin Hood's Arbour. She notes that there is an Arbour Cottage near Robinhood Lane. "The Arbor" figures in an early 17th century survey and (presumably) again in an 1843 enclosure award as "The Harbour". We may note also that there is currently an Arbor Lane in the vicinity. She further cites a "Robynpriserber" recorded in 1579 and points to the fact that there is a Robin Hood's Arbour in Maidenhead.[2]

With so many place-names to cover in the English Place-Name Society's county surveys, there is hardly ever space for detailed discussion of minor names such as these, and what Gelling offers here is a suggestion made in passing, not a fully developed hypothesis. Presumably we are meant to take the last element in "Robynpriserber" as "arbor", in which case the name should then perhaps be parsed as "Robin Price Arbor". Given the element "Robin" it is of course conceivable that the arbour could later have come to be connected with Robin Hood, but we have no evidence whatsoever of this. It is surprising that Robin Hood's Arbour, an ancient earthwork in Maidenhead, is brought into the discussion. Did Gelling think that the arbor in Winnersh was an earthwork? Of the 13 archaeological sites in Winnersh listed at PastScape[3] only one is even remotely like Robin Hood's Arbour in Maidenhead and it is not located near Arbour Lane but on the north side of Hatch Farm Way, not far from Sindlesham and c. 1.5 km from the intersection of Arbor Lane and Robinhood Lane.[4]

It is not obvious why there should be more reason to see a connection between the arbour in Winnersh – whatever its nature – and the Robin Hood names there than between Arborfield and the two Robin Hood place-names found there. One may wonder if Gelling would have thought it necessary to construct this singular hypothesis to account for a couple of Robin Hood-related place-names had she known how very common they are.





Also see