1857 - Sullivan, Jeremiah - Cumberland and Westmorland (1)
|Title||Cumberland & Westmorland, Ancient & Modern: The People, Dialect, Superstitions and Customs|
|Mentions||Robin Hood's Grave (Crosby Ravensworth Fell); Robin Hood's Bed (Blackstone Edge); Robin Hood's Well (in Catterlen Wood)|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-11. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-12-18.
In the south of Ireland, and other places, when a murder has been committed, every person who passes the spot is under an obligation to leave a stone, and the custom being continued for an indefinite time, a considerable heap is generally raised. It once happened that a man of brutal disposition, resident in a town, wantonly slew a number of persons who passed his house singing and shouting for their amusement. The blow, which was probably not intended to kill, proved fatal; the murderer escaped the punishment of the law, but for many weeks was obliged to keep a labourer in regular, occasional employment, to remove cairns from before his door. Some provinces of Spain have a similar custom, but to take the words of the writer, the stone is there thrown on the grave. On the borders of Gallicia, says an English traveller, are found heaps of stones. Every Gallician who goes out of the province to seek work, either going or returning, throws a stone on the heap.
We thus come to a curious nutting custom of Westmorland, connected with no less personages than Robin Hood and Little John. In the neighbourhood of Orton are two heaps of stones, under which it is believed the outlaw of Sherwood Forest and his lieutenant, are buried. It was once customary for every person who went a nutting in the wood, at the south end of which these heaps are situated, to throw a stone on Robin's grave, repeating the following rhyme:
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, here lie thy bones,Whoever was the original of this famous outlaw, and whether he was properly Robin of the Wood, or Robin with the Hood, his name is now connected with mounds and stones innumerable in various parts of England. Lancashire has made him a giant, and [p. 131:] given him Blackstone Edge for a bed. Barrows in many places are called Robin Hood's butts. He has become a favourite ballad hero, and has been worked up with the celebration of the May festival; in Westmorland, as we see, he is the patron of nutters. And, in short, too much popularity has converted him, according to the view of critical investigators, into a myth. Near the village of Catterlen, in a retired part of the wood, is a spring called Robin Hood's well, but how it acquired the name is not now known.
Load me with nuts as I load thee with stones.
IRHB's brackets. Italics as in printed source.
- Not included in Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 315-19.
- Outside scope of Sussex, Lucy, compil. 'References to Robin Hood up to 1600', in: Knight, Stephen. Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw (Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 262-88.
- Sullivan, J. Cumberland & Westmorland, Ancient & Modern: The People, Dialect, Superstitions and Customs (London; Kendal, 1857), pp. 130-31.
- 1860 - Bland, John Salkeld - Vale of Lyvenett (2)
- Robin Hood's Grave (Crosby Ravensworth Fell)
- Robin Hood's Bed (Blackstone Edge)
- Robin Hood's Well (Catterlen).