1985 - Fowles, John - A Maggot
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2016-01-08. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-01-08.
I have spent these two previous days at the very place of your most concern, and write while all is fresh in mind. This place is to my best computation two and a half miles above the ford upon the Bideford road and the valley thereto is known as the Cleeve, after its cleft and woody sides, that make it more ravine than vale, like many in this country. The cavern lies with a sward and drinking-pool for beasts before, in the upper part of a side-valley to the aforesaid, the branch path to which is reached in one and three quarter miles from the ford upon the high road. All is desart in these parts, and the valley most seldom used unless by shepherds to gain the moor above. One such, named James Lock, and his boy, of the parish of Daccombe, was at the cavern when we came; as he told us was his summer wont, for he has passed many such there. This Mopsus appeared a plain fellow, no more [p. 279:] lettered than his sheep, but honest in his manner
The place has a mischievous history, being known to him and his like as Dolling's or Dollin's Cave, after one of that name in his great-grandfather's time who led a notorious gang of rogues that boldly resided here and lived a merry life in the manner of Robin Hood (or so said this Lock), with long impunity, by reason of the remoteness of the place and their cunning in thieving more abroad than in the neighbourhood itself; were never brought to justice that he knows, and in the end removed away. And in proof thereof he showed me inside the entrance to his grotto and rude-carved upon the native rock the initials I.D.H.H., that is, John Dolling His House. The rogue would have been a free-holder, it seems.
The passage occurs in a chapter entitled "The further deposition of David Jones".
- 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.
- Fowles, John. A Maggot (London, 1996), pp. 279-80.