Robin Hood and Little John (Bradford)
|Adm. div.||West Riding of Yorkshire|
|Vicinity||Hunt Yard, Great Horton|
|Interest||Robin Hood name|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-26. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-05.
According to William Cudworth, the hostelry Robin Hood and Little John was built in 1622 and demolished in 1800. It was situated in Hunt Yard, in the village of Great Horton (now a south-western ward of Bradford). In present day terms Hunt Yard is just west of Beckside Road and immediately north of Great Horton Road, an area where Great Horton Methodist Church is now located. If, as Cudworth seems to imply, the inn was named Robin Hood and Little John from the start, is it perhaps the oldest known inn to have carried that name?
The "Fair Rebecca" referred to in the 1886 Allusion was the ghost of a local beauty who, according to legend, haunted the area after being murdered by her lover who had promised to marry her. Her dying words were reported to have been that "she would come ageean as long as holly grew green".
The neighbourhood of Hunt Yard has been strangely altered since the commencement of the present [i.e. 19th] century. When the old road from Bradford to Halifax, by way of Silsbridge Lane, Green Lane, Toby Lane, Scarr Lane, was the chief highway, there was an open space at Hunt Yard, used in later times by the surveyors for a dross hill. Excepting an old hostelry there were only two or three dwellings in Hunt Yard. According to the evidence of an inscribed stone still preserved, the old hostelry was erected in 1622, the sign being the "Robin Hood and Little John." The building was pulled down in 1800 for the erection of more modern dwellings. The original cellars, however, remain, and are arched, and in an underground recess there are several stone pillars which supported the old building. A portion of the original walling is above a yard in thickness. There used to be an old building connected with this hostelry called "Brick Castle", in which travellers were lodged; the beds of oak being built into the walls. Altogether, the "Robin Hood" was a noted house when the old Scarr Lane passed in front of it. It was at a "hen drinking" in this house, in which the murderer of "Fair Rebecca" took part, that her ghost, it is said, first appeared.
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.
- Cudworth, William. Rambles round Horton: Historical, Topographical, and Descriptive (Bradford, 1886), pp. 171, 186.