Robin Hood's Wood (Fountains Abbey)
|Adm. div.||West Riding of Yorkshire|
|Vicinity||Fountains Abbey grounds, a few meters S of the Abbot's House|
|Interest||Robin Hood name|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-21. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-04-05.
First mentioned in a land deed of 1734, this little wood borders the grounds of Fountains Abbey, which is the home of the "Curtal Friar" and the scene of the main action of the ballad of Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar (Version A in MS of c. 1650, version B first printed 1663). This Cistercian monastery was founded in 1132 and dissolved in 1539. The ruins are a grade I listed building owned by the National Trust. Together with the gardens and adjacent deer park they form the UNESCO World Heritage site "Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey".
Although the play of Robin Hood and the Friar (printed c. 1560) has essentially the same plot as the ballad of Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar it never mentions Fountains Abbey or refers to Robin Hood's adversary as the/a Curtal Friar. The ballad is the first known source to connect the friar with Fountains Abbey. In all probability the place-name Robin Hood's Wood arose after the abbey ruins had become connected with Robin Hood through the ballad. Robin Hood's Wood and Robin Hood's Well just within the wood and visible from Fountain Abbey grounds are not connected with the outlaw through the plot of the ballad.
- Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), p. 310.
- Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar (A version), in: Child, Francis James, ed.; [Kittredge, G.L., ed.]; [Ireland, Catharine Innes, bibl.] The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Boston and New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, ©1882-98), vol. III, p. 123.
- Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar (B version), in: Child, Francis James, ed.; [Kittredge, G.L., ed.]; [Ireland, Catharine Innes, bibl.] The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Boston and New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, ©1882-98), vol. III, pp. 124, 126.
- Smith, A.H. The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire (English Place-Name Society, vols. XXX-XXXVII) (Cambridge, 1961-63), pt. V, p. 192.
- 6" O.S. map Yorkshire 119 (1856; surveyed 1849-53)
- 6" O.S. map Yorkshire CXIX.SW (1910; surveyed 1907)
- 6" O.S. map Yorkshire CXIX.SW (1930; surveyed 1928)
- 6" O.S. map Yorkshire CXIX.SW (1947; surveyed 1938)
- 1:25,000 O.S. Map SE26 (1952); has Robin Hood's Wood somewhat to the east of its position on the Google map, closer to the bend in the Skell.