Is there any written proof/documentation that Robin Hood ever existed? Did he ever get arrested and got his name written in the prison books or something like that?

  • Related Question I asked on Skeptics before this site existed about his grave in Kirklees Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 19:37
  • 2
    Welcome to History:Stack Exchange. Thank you for your question; please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 14:07

3 Answers 3

  • The surname 'Hood' implied where the individual was from. For all purposes, there were many people with the last name. The name Robin Hood is accounted as not an uncommon name in the middle ages.
  • There is a corpus of evidence that there were outlaw stories circulating about a Robin Hood during the reign of King John.
  • However, there are cases of multiple outlaws taking on the pseudonym Robin Hood during the 13th and 14th century.

So yes, there were Robin Hoods. But not precisely the one you're thinking of.

  • 1
    Also; At least one of these Robin Hoods was a horse thief, and another a rapist. CBC Radio did a show on various versions of Robin Hood and historical fact. Probably on the show Ideas.
    – Canageek
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 13:45

Robin Hood is an English folk hero and not based in fact.

Robin and his fellows were a popular subject in early printed texts, with their low price and wide appeal, and it is in the early days of printing that he finally comes into his own as a literary figure. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, antiquarians were especially invested in finding the sources of their national culture and heroes, and Robin proved to be of special interest to the English. They not only reviewed these early plays and poems for clues to the historical identity of the figure, but also scoured historical and legal records to find any information that may have led to a proof for his identity. Despite the efforts of authors like P. Valentine Harris (see case 5), no verifiable Robin Hood emerged from the historical record. Today, most scholars accept Robin as a literary invention, based in part on other figures like Gamelyn and Fouke fitz Waryn, as well as real-life outlaws. Any search for the ideal Robin Hood, a dispossessed noble who robs from the rich to give to the poor, is doomed to failure. That Robin is a modern figure whose individual characteristics were added in different stages, which are roughly represented in this exhibit.

Source- Rochester University

  • 10
    Instead pasting in the block of text, it could perhaps be more beneficial for you to target the central points. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 20:20

A good source on the historical Robin Hood is James Clarke Holt's book Robin Hood. Within, you will learn that there was no single one Robin Hood, but a corpus of ballads and stories that may have some basis in reality.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.