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Robin Hood's Well (Fountains Earth)

Locality
Coordinates 54.1135, -1.7751
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity Near Gouthwaite Reservoir in Nidderdale
Type Natural feature
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Defunct?
First Record 1863
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Location of Robin Hood's Well.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-25. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-10-29.

Like Robin Hood's Park, Robin Hood's Well was located in the immediate vicinity of Sigsworth Grange, in pre-Reformation times a cattle lodge belonging to Fountains Abbey.[1] Macquoid, Allusion 1883 below, gives an account of the well based on the 1863 Allusion but does not cite the verse quoted there or add anything of substance. Robin Hood's Well is not included in the 1838 tithe award for Fountains Earth.[2]

Note that the verse quoted in the 1863 Allusion is said elsewhere to have been written by Walter Scott for use as an inscription for Robin Hood's Well at Fountains Abbey. "Doubergill" is now Dauber Gill.

Allusions

1832 - Scott, Walter - Inscription for Robin Hood's Well

Beside this crystal font of old
Cooled his flushed brow an outlaw bold
His bow was slackened while he drank,
His quiver rested on the bank,
Giving brief pause of doubt and fear
To feudal lords and forest deer.
Long since the date — but village sires
Still sing his feats by Christmas fires,
And still old England's free-born mood
Stirs at the name of Robin Hood.[3]

1863 - Grainge, William - Nidderdale

Sigsworth Grange is the last of the monastic farms, and was valued at the dissolution at 100s. per annum. It is situated on a ridge of land overlooking the rugged, wild wood clad glen of Doubergill, also commanding a fine view of the valley towards Bewerley and Guy's-cliffe. The present house and buildings are all modern; in an enclosure a short distance to the westward are traces of the foundation of a building which appears to have been composed of large stones; a great part of which has been removed for the purpose of forming fence walls. A field adjoining, full of native rocks, bears the name of "Robin Hood's Park." A spring of pure water in the wood below, is called "Robin Hood's Well." How singular to find the renowned outlaw's name asociated with places so remote from his general haunts; but as he loved to chase the deer of the monks as well as those of the king, he certainly might enjoy that sport in Nidderdale, where deer were plentiful at a much later period than that in which he lived. It is also pleasing to contemplate the outlaw quenching his thirst at this rock-born fountain.

Beside this crystal fount of old,
Cool'd his flush'd brow — an outlaw bold;
His bow was slackened while he drank,
His quiver rested on the bank,
Giving brief pause of doubt and fear,
To feudal lords and forest deer: —
Long since the date, but village sires,
Still sing his feats by Christmas fires;
And still old England's free born mood,
Stirs at the name of Robin Hood."[4]

1883 - Macquoid, Thomas - About Yorkshire

There are several wild glens [on the hill above the village of Lofthouse] which well reward the explorer; Wath woods and waterfalls near Pateley Bridge on the Doubergill beck, near which we found a trace of Robin Hood ; a rocky field not far from Sigsworth Grange is called Robin Hood's Park, and a spring in the wood below Robin Hood's Well.[5]

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Background

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Notes