Robin Hood (Holborn)
|Adm. div.||Middlesex, now Greater London|
|Vicinity||5 Robin Hood Court; West side of Shoe Lane|
|Interest||Robin Hood name|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-01-17. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-02-13.
A public house named the Robin Hood in Robin Hood Court, on the west side of Shoe Lane, is referred to as early as 1692, when it figures in the summary of a case at the Old Bailey.Information on publicans gleaned from trade directories etc. from the period 1839–75 can be found at the Pub Wiki. When one comes across references in the records, for instance Old Bailey case reports such as those listed below, to pubs named the Robin Hood in Holborn it is sometimes difficult to determine which is meant, for there were three Robin Hood pubs in Holborn: Robin Hood (High Holborn), Robin Hood (Holborn), Robin Hood (Leather Lane, Holborn). The one we are concerned with on this page is often identified in the records by reference to the street on which it was located. Its address was 5 Robin Hood Court, Shoe Lane.
[15 Jan. 1692:]
Anne Brodnix was tryed for being accessary to James Philips and Abraham Stacy in the Felony and Robbery they lately committed in the House of William Kent a Brewer, in Liquor-Pond-Street, in the Parish of St. Andrews Holbourn, on the 26th of December, which they confest upon their Arraignment. The chief Evidence was Griffith, who is before mentioned in the single Tryal of Stacy, who was with them at the Robbery which was done by himself: Philips, Stacy and Morris Moore, after they had compleated their Work, they went to the Robin Hood in Shoe-lane and then Griffith went and sold the Plate to Mrs. Brodnix the Prisoner for 34 l. 13 s. 9 d. part of which Money was paid him by the Prisoner's Order, and the Remainder was to be paid him when the Plate was melted down, which he afterwards received, and he said further, that he used to sell stolen Plate to the Prisoner, very frequently: The Prisoner denied the Charge against her, and said, she knew nothing of it; and would have called several Witnesses to prove her Reputation, which was not allowed of, because it was unnecessary in respect to the Law; for Philips and Stacy having confest their Indictment, she could not lie under any penalty, neither be found guilty upon that Indictment, so she was acquitted.
[7 Apr. 1813:]
Q. Did you know at that time, that Newport-street was the lodging of the advertising clerk - A. No. We went to a public-house, and concluded that the business was done away with, and all failed. It entered into our minds that the money might still be obtained. I thought it was a neglect in the man that was sent, for this purpose, that they had kept good look out, and at the Robin Hood, Robin Hood-court, Shoe-lane, at a public-house, it was agreed that a letter should be written. The prisoner wrote that letter, I think, (I am not confident,) for the purpose of giving it to a porter to carry to Francis-street.
Q. Did you or Birdett write a letter which was sent by a porter to Francis-street - A. There was no other than one letter written or sent.
Q. Did you see Kennet writing a letter to be sent to Francis-street - A. I did. I delivered the letter to the porter.
Q. Could any other letter go out without your knowledge - A. It was possible. I might be out of the way.
Q. Were you out of the way - A. I was not. I can have no doubt but that is the letter; I believe it to be Kennet's writing firmly. (The letter read, marked B.) It is a disguised hand writing.
Q. When you dispatched the porter, you, Richardson, Birdett, and Kennet, were at the Robin Hood - A. Yes, when this porter was dispatched, and the prisoner and myself waited at the end of Chancery-lane, and I believe Richardson was likewise there He got out of the coach, and returned, and said, he saw the clerk coming down.
Q. How long had you been in the coach, before Richardson returned, saying, he saw the young man come - A. About a quarter of an hour; when Richardson came to us, and said, he saw the young man go into the tap.
Q. How long had he been absent from you - A. Not ten minutes. We went from the Robin Hood together. I beg pardon, I believe the dress was changed by Kennet.
Q. Where did he change his dress - A. At Birdett's house, not of despoiling the money, he changed his dress.
COURT. Was he at the end of Chancery-lane, disguised - A. Yes, disguised; he put on this disguise again at Birdett's. He went from the Robin Hood to Ship-yard, and put on this disguise again. We took a coach in Fleet-street, from there we waited at the top of Chancery-lane. Richardson went out of the coach; he saw this clerk coming down Holborn. He was at a loss to find out this tavern.
Q. How long had Richardson been absent when he returned, and said he had found the young man. - A. Not ten minutes.
Q. When he reported the young man was just gone into the tavern, what was done then - A. When Richardson came back he took the prisoner, Kennet, from the coach.
Q. Did you actually see Kennet go into the tavern - A. I did. I saw Kennet and the young man come out together, and go up Warwick-court.
Mr. Solicitor General. How far did he go into the tavern - A. I don't know; I did not see.
Q. Did you there see Mr. Kennet go into the tavern - A. No, I did not.
Q. Did you lose sight of Kennet when you saw him go from the coach - A. I saw him go into the tavern, and some little time after I saw him come out of the tavern and go up the court. I beg your pardon, that was Richardson. Richardson got out of the coach; he was absent I suppose half an hour.
Mr. Solicitor General. I suppose upon your account the disguised figure has been put on, then you go into Chancery-lane. I want you to take up the transaction there; now the coach is stopped in Chancery-lane, who gets out there - A. Richardson gets out there.
Q. How long is he absent - A. Half an hour; and when he came back, he said, he had found the clerk, and that he seemed at a loss to know where he was going to. Richardson accosted him, and shewed him over to the tavern. Then after the young man had got into the tavern, he came to the coach.
Q. Who then got out of the coach - A. Kennet got out of the coach. I saw him go into the tavern. A little time after, I saw him come out of the tavern and go up Warwick-court.
Q. Had it been settled between you, where you were to meet again - A. I expected to meet them at the Robin Hood. I went there first, and did not meet them, and went from there to Birdett's. I saw them at Birdett's an hour after. I there saw the money divided in four shares. Three of us had six hundred pounds each; and Birdett had two hundred and ninety pounds. 
[30 Nov. 1831:]
PASCHO FAIRCHILD. I am a watchman of St. Andrew's. On the 8th of June, about half-past nine o'clock at night, I saw the prisoners together in Shoe-lane; the man had a child in his arms - they were both so intoxicated as not to be able to take care of it; I asked the man to deliver it to me, and I would take him to the watch-house, to protect him and the child, which he objected to, at first, but at last gave the child into my arms; a number of people collected - a woman took the child from me, to take care of it; the man resisted - I took him by the collar, and he dropped a half-crown and a shilling, which I produce; he was very near the Robin Hood - the female prisoner was about half-a-dozen paces from him; they were apart when he dropped the money - I am sure it dropped from him; he put his foot on the half-crown, but could not reach the shilling - I did not know it was bad, and wished to put it into my pocket to take care of for him, but he resisted my taking it up; I got assistance - Rentmore took charge of the woman; I saw some coin taken from the woman, but did not count it.
[17 May 1832:]
REBECCA CHRISTY. I am the wife of James Christy - we keep the Robin Hood, in Shoe-lane. On Saturday, the 14th of April, between five and six o'clock in the evening, the prisoner and another man came for a quartern of gin, which came to 4d.; I received a crown-piece from one of them, for which I gave change, and in about ten minutes discovered it to be counterfeit; I had no other in the house- the prisoner came again on Monday, alone, between five and six o'clock, and had half a pint of beer - I was at tea in the parlour; he gave 6d. to Fletcher, who called to me for change - he gave me the 6d.; I took it to my husband in the parlour - he sent for a constable, who took the prisoner; I gave the officer the same sixpence and crown, after marking them.
[10 Apr. 1834:]
MARTHA TAYLOR. I live in Robin Hood-court, Shoe-lane. I was working at the Robin Hood public-house - the prisoner came and asked me to take care of this rabbit for him - I said, if he would sell it, I would buy it of him- he said, no, it was to be raffled for - I let it run about the public-house for two days, and then took it home.
[15 May 1834:]
WILLIAM FROST. I lodge at the Robin Hood public-house: the prisoner slept in the same bed with me. On the morning of the 7th of May, I saw him out of bed between three and four o'clock - I remarked that it was rather early - he said, yes; but he was going to Newgate-market - I sat up and looked for my clothes, which I had left on the bed, and which were not there then - I found them by the bed side - I took up my trousers, and felt in them for a crown-piece, two shillings, and some half-pence, which I knew I had left in the pocket - they were all safe - I put them down again, and the prisoner went out of the room - I laid down, and in a few minutes he came into the room again - I suppose he thought I was asleep - I saw him take my trousers, and he was pushing up the pocket to get the money out - he went down - I jumped up and ran after him - I said, "Halloo" - he said, "Halloo," and came up into the bed-room again - I came up with him - I shut the door, and challenged him with having my crown-piece - he said he had not - I said he had - I got my clothes on, and locked the door of the room while I went out for a policeman - I saw a bricklayer's labourer, and sent him for a policeman - in about two minutes the policeman came; and, as we went up stairs, I heard the prisoner jump out of the window, which is on the first-floor - I opened the door, and he was not in the room - the window looked into some stable yards.
[2 Apr. 1838:]
THOMAS MORGAN. I keep the Robin Hood, Shoe-lane. The prisoner was at my house that Saturday evening about six o'clock—he had a small parcel in his hand—I always understood him to be a light porter—he had cap on his head, which he generally wears—I should say this, was the same sort of cap—(looking at one.)
[17 Dec. 1838:]
WILLIAM LENEY. I am barman to James Vivian, at the Anchor, in Farringdon-street. On the 4th of December I saw the prisoner with another man, who called himself Leman, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon—the prisoner asked for a pint of beer, which was 1½d.—he gave me a bad shilling—I saw it was bad—I asked him whether he knew what he gave me—he said, "Yes," and he had taken it of me half an hour before—I knew him before, but I had not seen him for the last three or four months—I kept the shilling—he told me not to keep it—that he had taken it at the Robin Hood—his companion offered to pay for the beer—I sent for a policeman, and then the prisoner paid me in copper—I gave the shilling to the policeman.
Prisoner. Q. Did you state at Guildhall that I told you I took it at the Robin Hood? A. I do not think I did—I was asked but very few questions there—I asked you if you knew the shilling was bad—you told me, "Yes"—I asked you to pay for the beer—you said you would not, but you did afterwards.
JOHN VIVIAN. I am the father of James Vivian. I was sent for to the Anchor public-house when this happened, and went—the constable asked me if I meant to press the charge—I said, he ought to know best, it was my son's business, not mine—the prisoner said I ought not to press the charge, as I knew him to be an old customer—he then said, "I suppose you to be a man of intellect, I know it is a bad shilling, I have other bad money about me, you ought not to do it"—I then told the officer to do his duty, and search him—the officer said, "You must go with me, to my Inspector"—he said, "I shall not go, till I think proper"—the officer sent for more assistance, and they took him away.
Prisoner. I never spoke a word to him.
SAMUEL ALLEN (City police-constable No. 51.) I was called into the Anchor public-house, and the prisoner was standing at the bar, with another man—I told the prisoner, he had much better pay for the beer—he said he would not pay for it—I asked him again—he said he would not—the other offered 1½d. to pay for it—the prisoner took the 1½d. out of his hand, and said he should not pay for it—the prisoner paid for the beer himself, with that 1½d.—I received this shilling from Leney—(producing it)—when Vivian was sent for, I heard the conversation between him and the prisoner—I heard him tell Mr. Vivian, "You are a man of intellect, you ought not to do it"—he said, "Do what?"—the prisoner said, "To press the charge—I know it is a bad shilling, and I have other bad money about me"—he was not searched, there being two together, I detained them till the arrival of my sergeant—he went very quietly half-way up Skinner-street, and then made use of very bad language, tried to force himself out of my hand, and threw himself on his back—I held him by the collar with my right hand, and with my left held his left hand—he struggled very much to get his left hand at liberty—I was present when he was searched at the watch-house, and something went down his trowsers—I picked a purse up, and gave it into the hand of my sergeant—I saw a good half-crown and a bad one, and two good sixpences taken from it.
CHARLES WALLER (City police-sergeant No. 8.) I was sent for, and helped to take the prisoner—I assisted in carrying him to the station-house in Giltspur-street—he tried to release himself, and laid himself down in the street—with great force we took him to the station-house—in searching him I heard something jingle—I could not see any thing—in the course of a minute, something went down the thigh of his trowsers—I had felt in his waistcoat-pocket before, and found 4½d. in copper, and nothing in his trowsers' pocket—something dropped—I cast my eye on it, and saw it was a purse—I told Allen to give it to me, which he did—I searched the prisoner, and in his coat-pocket found three pairs of tips for shoes—I asked the prisoner what he was—he said, "A miller"—I asked where he lived—he hesitated, and said, "No. 2, East Harding-street"—I sent Allen there—he came back, and said it was no such thing—the prisoner then said, "No. 2, Leather-lane"—I went there, and found he did not live there—I have kept the bad half-crown ever since—(producing it.)
Prisoner. Q. Did you state that you picked up the purse? A. No—I said it fell from your trowsers.
SAMUEL ALLEN, re-examined. I went to No. 2, East Harding-street, and found no person of the prisoner's name lived there.
Prisoner. Q. What was the name of the landlord? A. Neither the landlord nor landlady were within—I asked one of the lodgers—they did not know him by name nor by description.
MR. JOHN FIELD. This shilling and half-crown are both counterfeit.
Prisoner's Defence. At the request of the pot-boy of the Robin Hood, I went to Tower-hill to get a ship—we went into the Queen's Head, and made inquiry there whether they wanted recruits for the navy—the landlady said no, they were full—after having two or three pints of beer we returned home—I changed half-a-sovereign at a house near the Minories, and received a half-crown, four shillings, and five sixpences—we then went home—Leney, the boy, said we would have half-a-pint of beer—we went to Vivian's—I tendered a shilling, and he said it was bad—I did not state it was taken from him—he said he should send for a policeman, and I was taken—this half-crown I had received in Leather-lane a fortnight before, and had it knocking about, and on the day stated I put it into my purse—I live at No. 2, Hole-in-the-wall-court, Leather-lane—if I had been disposed to escape I should have paid for the beer and got away—it is evident no person could attempt to pass it as it is now.
[1 Mar. 1875:]
GEORGE FREDERICK WEAR. I keep the Robin Hood in Shoe Lane—on 19th February, about 5.30, I served the prisoner with half a pint of porter 1d. worth of tobacco—he put down a florin, and I saw that it was had before I served him—I told him so, and he broke it, put the pieces in his pocket, and gave me two pence—the customers in the bar would not lot him go till he gave up the pieces—he was searched by an inspector, who found another bad florin on him, and I gave him in charge with the broken pieces.
FREDERICK CARTER (City Police Inspector). I was called to the Robin Hood, and found the prisoner there—I asked him how he became posseed of the bad florin—he made no reply—I searched him, and found in his pocket another bad florin, three good sixpences, and 1s—the land lorgrab me this broken florin.
- Not included in Dobson, R. B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 293-311.
- 25" O.S. map London V.10 (1936; rev. 1914)
- 6" O.S. map Surrey III.NW (1898; rev. 1893-95)
- 6" O.S. map Middlesex XVII (1880-82; surveyed 1868-73).
- See Records below.
- UK Pub History: Robin Hood, 5 Robin Hood Court, Shoe Lane, Holborn. Also see Sources below.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: Anne Brodnix, Theft > receiving, 15th January 1692.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 7 Apr. 1813.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 30 Nov. 1831.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 17 May 1832.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 10 Apr. 1834.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 15 May 1834.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 2 Apr. 1838.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 17 Dec. 1838.
- Proceedings of the Old Bailey: 1 Mar. 1875.
- Also see the following pages at UK Pub History: The London 1839 Public House & Publican Directory - as listed in London 1839 Pigots Directory - R3; London 1841 Public House & Publican Directory - R3; London 1856 Public House & Publican Directory - R2; London 1869 Public House & Publican Directory - R2; London 1874 Licensed Victuallers and Hotel Keepers Directory - City LR.