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What's new at IRHB


By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-06. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-04-26.

Illustration by Harry E. Theaker from: Vivian, E. Charles. Robin Hood and his Merry Men (London and Melbourne, [1927]), plate facing p. 116.

By way of introduction

It is hoped this wiki will in due course come to live up to its somewhat grand title. I have called it "International" because in addition to the vast amount of material that exists in English, I intend to add information about materials in other languages such as translations of ballads, secondary literature, children's fiction, literature on foreign analogues of Robin Hood etc. Arguably "Bibliography" is a misnomer as the site already includes a wealth of all sorts of information one would not normally expect to find in a bibliography, but the bibliographical aspect is in all cases taken quite seriously, and there is already a wiki named the Robin Hood Wiki, so I had to find another name for the site.

Perennial work in progress

The menu items in the sidebar provide a rough guide to the Robin Hood-related topics and genres that are covered on this site. Given the vastness of the Robin Hood tradition — and this is no exaggeration — the site will always remain work in progress. This is important to keep in mind when reading specific entries, for although I sometimes gather materials from several sources and write a more or less well-rounded in-depth page on some topic, more often than not I work my way through the sources and add the various nuggets they contain where I believe they belong in the structure I have created. So any entry may at a given time lack important pieces of information because I have not yet got round to adding them. Over time this problem should become less pronounced.

At present there is at least a little bit of information on each topic or area of interest. As time will permit I gradually add information under all these headings, but as there is such a wealth of data I have felt it necessary to focus on a couple of areas in order to retain the feeling – illusion? – that I am making measurable progress. Current high priority areas are allusions (especially from the 16th and 17th centuries) and place-names. With regard to the latter a milestone was reached on 12 October 2014 in that all relevant names from the eight English Place-Name Society volumes for the West Riding of Yorkshire have now been entered: a good one hundred Robin Hood-related place-names and localities were found for that (important) area alone. My tally for Yorkshire alone now exceeds that of Dobson & Taylor[1] for all of England, and in many cases I have been able to supplement or correct information they provide. My entries on specific localities are often written up into short articles and generally are accompanied by photos, Google maps, links to, or images of, online O.S. maps at NLS, links to other sites with information, bibliographical lists and (where relevant) lists of quotations from ballad sources or from IRHB's Allusions section. My attention in this area is currently focused on Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Maps, maps

In the spring of 2016 I embarked on a systematic search for Robin Hood-related place-names on the 6" O.S. maps of England and Wales at NLS. There are 38,370 maps, so in order to reduce the magnitude of the task I decided to focus on England and first edition map sheets only. However, when a sheet is found to include a relevant place-name, I also check all later revisions available at NLS. Very likely the 25" series would yield still more place-names, but scanning of the 25" sheets is still ongoing at NLS; currently 59,336 sheets, a little more than one-third, have been processed and put online, and these all cover the South and South Midlands, areas of England with far fewer Robin Hood-related place-names than the North Midlands and the North. So far I have worked my way through all the 6" sheets of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Durham, Cheshire, and Rutland, Shropshire etc. I am currently checking Norfolk, where I do not expect to find many relevant place-names. The search so far has yielded a good many 'new' place-names which are added to the site by and by. I am also in the process of checking all English Place-Name Society volumes for relevant material, most but not all of which is included in Dobson & Taylor.[1]

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank the following for help, information, photos, unpublished papers, encouragement, stimulating discussions, a Robin Hood teapot and hat etc.: Mogens Andersen, B.A.; Karl Bencke; Jill Boyes; Professor Graham D. Caie; Mogens Christensen, M.A.; Malte Christian Thiil Ehlers, M.A.; Andrew Dawson; Professor Søren Balling Engelsen; Robert Fortunaso; Karen Glente, M.A.; Peter Harrod; Richard Hawlor; David Hepworth, Ph.D.; The Historic Counties Trust for permission to quote their county descriptions in toto; Søren Bartholin Holm, M.A.; Sir James Holt (who is no longer with us); Annette Jung, M.A.; Gerner Dan Lauridsen, M.A.; Robert Lynley; Søs Museth; Markus Kai Nielsen for the IRHB logo; Vagn Thiil Nielsen (who is no longer with us) for his support and many hours of photocopying; Nottingham Hidden History Team through their liaison officer Mr Jimmy Notts for permission to use illustrations from their blog; Thomas Ohlgren, professor emeritus; Jan Eigil Pedersen; Philip Sampson; Ian Short, professor emeritus; Hans-Christian Simonsen, M.A.; Vibeke Sommer, M.A.; Geoff Spencer; Mimi Stawski, and the members of 'robinhhoodforum4'.

Participants wanted

Unlike many other wikis, this one cannot be edited or added to by casual visitors who also cannot sign up via the site. The reason for this restrictive policy is that I wish to avoid vandalism and confine active membership to people with knowledge of the Robin Hood tradition. Contributors are more than welcome. There are really only two requirements: interest in the Robin Hood tradition and an objective mindset. The learning curve will not be steep if you are used to editing Wikipedia or other Mediawiki sites and know basic html. If you don't, I will put a little list of how-to's together. If you do not wish to spend time and energy learning mark-up, you are very welcome to write your contributions as plain text and let me handle the technical stuff. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to IRHB. See next for contact information.

Contact

Do contact me with comments, corrections etc. Do let me know if you wish to contribute to IRHB. You can reach me via the Contact page.

— Henrik Thiil Nielsen (MA, AP cand. computer science),
Copenhagen, Denmark

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 293-311