Robin Hood Street Close (Outwood)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
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Robin Hood Street Close would have been in this neighbourhood.

[[File:|thumb|right|500px|Looking roughly north on Potovens Lane; Robin Hood Street Close would have been somewhere east or south-east of this spot / Google Earth Street View.]]

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-08-15. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-05.

'Robinhoodstreteclose' figures in the records as early as 1651. It must have been situated somwhere on the east side of Potovens or Wrenthorpe Lane.

A. H. Smith treats the mention of this in the court roll of the Manor of Wakefield for 1651 as the earliest reference to a locality known in 1657 and later as Robin Hood Hill (see Records below).[1] However, rather than referring to the entire hill, the name probably referred to a close on the east side side of Potovens Lane, a street crossing Robin Hood's Hill in an area about equidistant from Wrenthorpe, Carr Gate and Outwood. This stretch of the lane was previously known as Robin Hood Hill Lane. On the east side of it formerly stood Robin Hood House, while at the north end of the hill, Robin Hood Bridge still takes Potovens Lane over the line of the former West Yorkshire Railway, which is now the Doncaster and Leeds Line. In 1790-91, a couple of generations before the railway came, several fields on the east side of Robin Hood Hill were named after Robin Hood or had been so within living memory:

Back in the mid-17th century Robin Hood Street Close was found there. In order to avoid nedless repetition across several pages, all these are discussed together here.

None of the closes on the east side of Potovens Lane can be pinpointed on the map, but they all lay on land belonging to the Manor of Wakefield, for they are all referred to in the Wakefield Manor Court Rolls. Since no tithes must be paid for them, they are not listed in the tithe award for Stanley cum Wrenthorpe (1845), but very helpfully they are included on the accompanying tithe map where, unlike those included in the tithe award, they are shown without a number referring to the corresponding schedule entry. The fact that 'numberless' fields and closes can potentially be identified as belonging to the manor tells us, together with the identity of the owner of the lands and a couple of references to identifiable localities in the court roll entries from 1790-91, in which neighbourhood the Robin Hood closes must have been located.

Lands of Outwood Hall

The records dating from 1790-91 (see Records below) are concerned with lands occupied by Joseph Armytage of 'the Lodge', the first group of properties being a 'capital mess[uage] at the Outwood Side called the Lodge', group vi a messuage situated 'near the Lodge, adjoining Brag Lane'. A web page on the history of Outwood Hall tells us that it was known in the 18th and 19th centuries as Woodside Lodge or 'the Lodge' tout court.[2] On 6" O.S. map Yorkshire 233 (1854) (see Maps below), only the part of Potovens Lane north of Bradford Road is known under that name, its name south of that road and as far south as Wrenthorpe being then named Brag Lane. The map also reveals that at the time the neighbourhood immediately south of Bradford Road and west of Brag Lane (Potovens Lane in modern terms) was known as Brag Lane End, a name which remained in use for a few decades but then disappeared from the maps. 25" O.S. map Yorkshire CCXXXIII.14 (1907) (see Maps below) includes the site of the Brag Lane Pit some 40 m NE of the present Potovens Lane/Bradford Road intersection, which suggests that the name Brag Lane may formerly have applied also to at least a stretch of Potovens Lane north of this interesction. Property group xi mentions Snow Hill, which is/was located near Red Hall Lane, south of Wrenthorpe. Modern residential streets in the vicinity are named Snow Hill Close and Rise. If this information is paired with what we can glean from the tithe award for Stanley cum Wrenthorpe it becomes clear that the Robin Hood closes must have been situated within an area bounded (approximately) on the north by Ledger Lane, on the east by Leeds Road (A61) as far south as the Bar Lane intersection, on the south by a line from the latter point to Wrenthorpe, on the west by Wrenthorpe Road and Potovens Lane to the interesction of the latter and Ledger Lane.

Here, in slightly condensed form, is the information given for the 15 property groups, with the estimated areas converted to m2 and rounded:

  1. Capital messuage at the Outwood Side called the Lodge, with barns, stables, dovecote, granary, outbuildings, gardens, orchard, foldstead and appurtenances, and a nearby or adjoining close of meadow or pasture, formerly a single close called Ox Close, now divided into 5 closes: Ox Close, Ponds Close, Calf Croft, the Paddock and Willans Close (estim. 36400 m2).
  2. Two closes, formerly called Eddish (variant form: Eddige) Close and Calf Croft, now part of Ox Close and called the Park (estim. 64750 m2, incl. gardens and orchard)
  3. 3 closes of meadow or pasture called Great Ing and Upper and Lower Walton Close (estim. 52600 m2); similar close or parcel of meadow or pasture formerly called Robin Hood Near Stile Close, now part of Upper Walton Close and called Waterhouse Close
  4. 1 close or parcel of arable, meadow or pasture called Robin Hood Farr Stile Close
  5. 1 close of meadow or pasture called Upper Robin Hood Close
  6. 1 messuage near the Lodge, adjoining Brag Lane, with outbuildings, croft, appurtenances and closes or parcels of meadow or pasture called Laith Close (formerly Robtree Royd), Square Close (formerly Robin Royd), and Seel Close (formerly Lower Robin Hood Close)
  7. 4 closes of meadow or pasture called Savile Close (formerly Pasture Close or Great Pasture), Boardman Close and Near and Far Beckett Close
  8. 1 close called Long Tongue (estim. area 8000 m2), Kelshaw Close (formerly Green Close), Lower Ing, now part of Bottom of Ox Close
  9. 1 close of meadow or pasture called Little or Middle Field (estim. 12150 m2). The several closes above all lie together or adjoining each other
  10. 1 parcel of land called Butler Car (estim. 4000 m2) in or near Ouchthorpe in Stanley
  11. 1 messuage called Cutt Yard House with adjoining close or parcel of land now used as a garden or orchard (estim. 1000 m2), near Snow Hill
  12. 1 close or parcel of arable, meadow or pasture called Lower Robin Hood Close, formerly in 2 closes called the Flagg Closes lately called Cow Close (estim. 8 acres), adjoining the 3 closes in item vi above.
  13. 1 close called Cobler Close formerly Square Close (estim. 16200 m2), lying between Boardman Close and Savile Close
  14. 1 close or parcel of land called the Three Nooked Close (estim. 16200 m2), adjoining Boardman Close, Far and Near Beckett Close and Little Field
  15. All other messuages, cottages, lands, hereditaments, premises and appurtenances in the Manor of Joseph Armytage, esq, of the Lodge.

It is clear from item vi that Lower Robin Hood Close must have been situated not very far from the hall and so near the north end of the area, but I do not believe it is possible to determine the location of this or any of the other Robin Hood closes on the basis of the information at hand. All that can be said is that they must have been in the area indicated on the interactive map shown on this page. In order to have the Robin Hood closes included on IRHB's maps, hey have been given different coordinates slightly east of Potovens Lane. Robin Hood House (Outwood) was located in the north-western corner of the area, so it may have been situated in one or other of the former Robin Hood Closes. The Robin Hood Close mentioned in the 1665 record may well be indetical with one of the closes mentioned in 1790-91, but again it does not seem possible to determine which (if any) of them. Perhaps some local history buff will be able to tell us where they were in fact located? Template:PnItemQry


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