High Peak place-name cluster
"Natural feature","Monument","Monument","Monument","Natural feature",
"Local tradition","Local tradition","Robin Hood name","Robin Hood name","Local tradition",
Chinley Churn (Chinley)¤1810|Dipping Stone (Whaley Moor)¤1810|Robin Hood's Bow Stones (Lyme Handley)¤1810|Robin Hood's Picking Rods (Chisworth)¤1810|Rough Low Tor (Buxton)¤1810|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-02-21. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-14.
If we can believe William Marriott, author of The Antiquities of Lyme and its Vicinity (1810), at least five supposed ancient stone monuments in the High Peak were connected in early 19th century popular tradition by Robin Hood's allegedly having shot an arrow from one to another. Alternatively, perhaps the traditions in question only concerned pairs of monuments, and Marriott connected them all in order, as it were, to construct a grand unified hypothesis on the origin of High Peak stone monuments.
According to Marriott, Robin Hood shot an arrow from the site of the Bow Stones near Lyme Handley to that of the Dipping Stone at Whaley Moor, from there to Chinley Churn and thence towards the north to Robin Hood's Picking Rods (Chisworth) and towards the south to a locality Marriott called "Rough Low Tor", situated north of Buxton, south of Combs and west of Long Hill. From each of the two latter localities Robin Hood finally shot an arrow back to the starting point near Lyme Handley. Marriott suggested that the superlative archer responsible for these feats of flight shooting was not in fact 'Hood' – he tended to omit the first name – but instead some anonymous prodigy of the longbow who had been tasked by his master with encircling by this means as much land as possible, which he – the master, not the archer – would then be granted by his overlord in recognition of his service at – why not? – the Battle of Crecy. The stone monuments were then set up where the arrows landed in commemoration of this feat, but subsequently the famous Hood was substituted for the unnamed and now unknown local master of the longbow. Marriott eventually discarded this hypothesis in favour of the less elaborate but equally unprovable one that the monuments were erected in ancient times in memory of battles fought at the localities in question but were much later connected with Robin Hood by a process which he in another context refers to as "[t]he agreement of the vulgar in credulity and formation of gross narrations".
For Marriot's lengthy discussion of these matters, see further 1810 - Marriott, William - Antiquities of Lyme and its Vicinity.
LocalitiesLocalities in the High Peak connected by bowshot according to William Marriott:
- Marriott, William. The Antiquities of Lyme and its Vicinity (Stockport, 1810), quote p. 19, and see pp. 18-27.