Robin Hood's Chair (Reagill)
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-11. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-04-05.
According to the allusion of c. 1860 cited below, "two large stones, known as Robin Hood's Chair and Punch Bowl" were then located on "Ploverigg Edge". Plover Rigg was/is located between Sleagill, Reagill, Wickerslack, Hardendale, Shap and Towcett. Apparently the name 'Plover Rigg ' ('Ploverigg') is now only preserved in that of Ploverigg farmhouse, a listed building perhaps dating from the 17th century. About 870 meters NNW of this farmhouse and c. 1.5 km WSW of Reagill is a (formerly inhabited) locality named Edge. This must be where the Chair and Punch Bowl sat. I have not found any evidence that the names are still in use. In fact, no one seems to have mentioned them since the c. 1860 allusion. The coordinates on the Google map and in the infobox point to a random location in Edge and are thus only approximate.
Robin Hood's Grave is an oblong mound, seven yards by three. It is situated at the bottom of a narrow rocky dell at the head of Crosby Gill, where the footpath from Orton to Crosby enters the woods, once the chase of Sir Lancelot Threlkeld. It is noticed by Mr. Sullivan in his "Cumberland and Westmorland," but he speaks of two heaps: this is, however, a mistake, there being only one. Of this mound he says "It was once customary for every person who went a-nutting in the wood, at the south end of which this heap is situated, to throw a stone on Robin's grave, repeating the following rhyme:—
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, here lie thy bones;
Load me with nuts as I load thee with stones."
Whoever was the original of the famous outlaw, and whether he was properly Robin of the Wood or Robin with the Hood, his name is now connected with mounds and stones innumerable in various parts of England, On [p. 16:] Ploverigg Edge are two large stones, known as Robin Hood's Chair and Punch Bowl; in short, too much popularity has converted him, according to the view of critical investigation, into a myth. Probably the well-known rhyme of schoolboy notoriety may be in allusion also to the famed outlaw of Sherwood Forest:—
Robin a Ree, Robin a Ree, if I let thee dee
Many sticks, many steanes be heaped o' my weary beanes
If I sud set Robin a Ree to dee:
This game is usually attendant on bonfires, near which, those joining the game stand in a row; the first then takes a fiery stick, and whirling it round and round repeats the rhyme, then handing it to the next, who repeats it, and so on till the stick dies out; the unfortunate individual, in whose hand this happens, is then at the mercy of the grimy sticks and wet sods of his companions.
Not far from Robin Hood's Grave is a spring known as "King's Well," which is supposed to bear its royal title from being visited by King Henry VII.; but of this we have no more reliable proof than we have that Robin Hood's remains lie beneath the mound, which, on being opened, was found to contain only an old sheep's skull.
- 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.
- Bland, John Salkeld; Parker, F. H. M, ed. The Vale of Lyvennet, its Picturesque Peeps and Legendary Lore: a Manuscript Book (Kendal, 1910), pp. 15-16.
- 6" O.S. map Westmorland XIV (1863; surveyed 1858-59)
- 6" O.S. map Westmorland XIV.NE (1899; rev. 1897)
- 6" O.S. map Westmorland XIV.NE (1899; rev. 1897) (georeferenced)
- 6" O.S. map Westmorland XIV.NE (1920; rev. 1913)