Robin Hood Street Close (Outwood)

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(?The former) Robin Hood Close.

[[File:|thumb|right|500px|Mount Avenue; this area was once part of Robin Hood Street Close / Betty Longbottom, 22 July 2013, Creative Commons, via Geograph.]]

Approximate indication in dark gray of the area formerly known as Robin Hood (Street) Close / 6" O.S. map Yorkshire 233 (1854; surveyed 1848–51) – Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-08-15. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2020-08-22.

'Robinhoodstreteclose' figures in the records as early as 1651. It can almost certainly be identified with a Robin Hood Close listed in the tithe award for Stanley and Wrenthorpe (1845).

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.[1] However, this is not strictly correct, for rather than referring to the entire hill, Robin Hood (Street) Close must have been the name of a close on the north side of Potovens Lane, a street crossing Robin Hood's Hill in an area about equidistant from Wrenthorpe, Carr Gate and Outwood. The lane was previously known as Robin Hood Hill Lane. On Robin Hood Hill, just across from Robin Hood (Street) Close was formerly found Robin Hood House, while at the north end of the hill, Robin Hood Bridge takes Potovens Lane over the line of the former West Yorkshire Railway, now the Doncaster and Leeds Line.

The tithe award for Stanley and Wrenthorpe (1845) includes three contiguous plots, all occupied by a John Marshland:

  • Robin Hood Close, owned by the Vicar of Wakefield, state of cultivation: Pasture; area: 3 acres, 3 roods and 37 perches (Template:AcreRoodPerchToM2 m2)
  • Robin Hood Close, owned by the Vicar of Wakefield, state of cultivation: Meadow; area: 1 acre and 6 perches (Template:AcreRoodPerchToM2 m2)
  • Robinhood Close, owned by Edward Hemingway, state of cultivation: Arable; area: 3 acre, 3 roods and 29 perches (Template:AcreRoodPerchToM2 m2).[2]

While there is no proof this Robin Hood Close is identical with Robin Hood Street Close, this may well be the case. The location of Robin Hood Close (1845) can be established from the tithe map, and it is quite in keeping with that given in more general terms in 1651 for Robin Hood Street Close: 'near the Outwoodside of Wakefeld' (see Records below). Moreover, as we know, Robin Hood-themed place-names tend to occur in clusters and Robin Hood Close (1845) was situated at Robin Hood Hill, which is recorded as early as 1657. This context provides a clue to the origin of the form 'Robin Hood Street Close'. Most probably the stretch of road across Robin Hood Hill, now known as Potovens Lane and previously as Robin Hood Hill Lane, was known as 'Robin Hood Street' in the mid-16th century, and 'Robin Hood Street Close' was then the close beside that street. See further the section 'Five Robin Hood Closes' below.

The court rolls of the manor of Wakefield, which include several entries relating to Robin Hood Street Close, also include 103 records relating to Robert Hoods holding land, as villeins or otherwise in the years 1307 to 1350, within the large area of the West Riding of Yorkshire that belonged to the manor. These include men of that name in Stanley, Newton and Alverthorpe. It is conceivable that the close and/or hill was named after one of these men or a descendant of some of them. After the mid-14th century they seem to disappear from the record, but very many later rolls are yet to be edited or calendared and published, so slightly more recent R. Hoods may yet be found.

Five Robin Hood Closes

Each of the four records dating from 1790-91 which are included in the Records section below refers to five closes in Outwood with Robin Hood-themed names. Each field name/locality has its own page at IRHB:

The last but one was said in 1790-91 to have been formerly known as Lower Robin Hood Close, while the last was then currently so called. It is possible that the first two were located near Robin Hood (Street) Close, while the last three were identical with the three parts of it later listed in the tithe award (1845). Since the vicar of Wakefield was the owner of the three plots in the latter, identifying them with plots belonging to the manor or Wakefield in 1790-91 of course requires the assumption that he had acquired them from the manor by 1845. Perhaps some or other of the as yet unpublished court rolls from this period will yield proof of this. In the meantime, a look at the salient parts of the text of these records – it is identical in the three earliest of them and hardly differs in the latest one – will suggest that these five Robin Hood Closes covered much the same ground as Robin Hood (Street) Close.

The street name 'Brag Lane' and the place- or field name 'Snow Hill' tell us that the records are concerned with land in the Outwood area. On the 6" O.S. map Yorkshire 233 (1854), only the part of Potovens Lane north of Bradford Road is known under that name, its name south of that road being then 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. This name remained in use for a few decades, but then disappears from the maps. Snow Hill is found centre-foot on the 1854 map referred to above, south of Red Hall Lane and in the north-western corner of the intersection of Wrenthorpe Road, Bradford Road and Red Hall Lane. Modern residential streets in the vicinity are named Snow Hill Close and Rise. This is close to Alverthorpe. The listing of the sixth group of plots in the records is very helpful. It concerns a

mess near the Lodge, adjoining Brag Lane, with outbuildings, croft, appurts 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

As is generally the case with the field names included in these records, the more distinctive of those found in this passage do not recur in the tithe award drawn up about half a century later. What instead helps us is the information that the messuage was situated 'near the Lodge, adjoining Brag Lane', for according to Wakefield local history buffs 'Woodside Lodge', or simply 'the Lodge', was then the current name of Outwood Hall.[3] This shows that the quondam Lower Robin Hood Close must have been situated in the near vicinity of Robin Hood (Street) Close. While it is possible that a careful study of the tithe award and map might reveal more precisely the location of some of these closes, it must be said that very few of the older field-names were still extant in 1845. Perhaps a local hiotorian with access to teh enclosure award and map might be able to help.Template:PnItemQry


MS sources

  • 1845 tithe award for Stanley cum Wrenthorpe, online at the Genealogist, piece 43, sub-piece 374, image 025 (items #146 and #160), image 041 (item #147) (subscription required)
  • accompanying map, online at the Genealogist, piece 43, sub-piece 374, sub-image 001 (subscription required).

Printed sources





  1. Smith, A.H. The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire (English Place-Name Society, vols. XXX-XXXVII) (Cambridge, 1961-63), pt. II, p. 158, where the date is cited as 1650.
  2. 1845 tithe award for Stanley cum Wrenthorpe, online at the Genealogist, piece 43, sub-piece 374, image 025 (items #146 and #160), image 041 (item #147) (subscription required); accompanying map, online at the Genealogist, piece 43, sub-piece 374, sub-image 001 (subscription required).
  3. Outwood Community Video: The Story of Outwood Hall.