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Bishop's Tree (Barnsdale)

Locality
Coordinates 53.6025, -1.2208333333333
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity In Barnsdale; 11 km NNW of Doncaster
Type Natural feature
Interest Literary locale
Status Defunct
First Record 1749
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The site of the Bishop's Tree in Barnsdale.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-08. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-17.

Close to Robin Hood's Well, but to the northwest of it and west of the Great North Road, and so perhaps even closer to Robin Hood's Stone, once stood the Bishop's Tree, also sometimes known as Robin Hood's Tree. This was the tree round which Robin Hood was thought to have made the bishop of Hereford dance, as told in the ballad of Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford (broadsides of 1749 and later). The site of the tree is in the SE corner of an area known as Skelbrooke Park during the 19th to mid-20th century, now a rapeseed field.[1]

25" and 6" O.S. maps based on surveys carried out as late as 1904 include the label "Bishop's Tree Root", but maps based on a survey done in 1930 have "Bishop's Tree (Site of)", so evidently any visible trace of the tree had disappeared by then.

Allusions

1828 - Clarke, Stephen Reynolds - New Yorkshire Gazetteer

Robin Hood's Well [...] a hamlet, partly in the township of Burgh Wallis, parish of Owton, and partly in the township of Skelbrook, parish of Kirkby South, wapentake of Osgoldcross, 7 miles N. W. from Doncaster. This village is situated in what was once Barnsdale Forest, now enclosed, and one of the haunts of the renowned free-booter. The well is a square building, nine feet high, which adjoins the high road; near this place Robin Hood is said to have robbed the Bishop of Hereford, and afterwards compelled him to dance round a tree in his boots.[2]

Quotations

[1749:]
Robin Hood took the Bishop by the hand,
And he caused the music to play,
and he made the Bishop to dance in his boots,
And glad he could so get away[3]

[1828:]
Robin Hood's Well [...] a hamlet, partly in the township of Burgh Wallis, parish of Owton, and partly in the township of Skelbrook, parish of Kirkby South, wapentake of Osgoldcross, 7 miles N. W. from Doncaster. This village is situated in what was once Barnsdale Forest, now enclosed, and one of the haunts of the renowned free-booter. The well is a square building, nine feet high, which adjoins the high road; near this place Robin Hood is said to have robbed the Bishop of Hereford, and afterwards compelled him to dance round a tree in his boots.[4]

Gazetteers

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Also see

Notes