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Robin Hood's Wood (Fountains Abbey)

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Locality
Coordinates 54.108749, -1.578177
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity Fountains Abbey grounds, a few meters S of the Abbot's House
Type Natural feature
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1734
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Robin Hood's Wood.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-21. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-12.

First mentioned in a land deed of 1734,[1] 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".[2]

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.

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