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Chapter 6 - The Robin Hood Names

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2020

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Summary

Since the mid nineteenth century it has often been said that the occurrence of the surname of the legendary outlaw, and even of his Christian name and surname together, is not uncommon in historical sources, and examples were sometimes pointed out. Six were cited by Joseph Hunter in 1852 in his paper seeking to identify the original Robin Hood, and in 1861 his critic Francis Child also remarked on the frequency with which the surname ‘Hood’ and its variants occurred in medieval English documents already in print by that time; he cited three additional examples. Until now, however, no-one has made a more systematic search for, and study of, such names in significant numbers, in spite of, or perhaps even because of, the richness of the available sources. These include the early records of the English state and courts of law, as well as local sources, especially deeds, from the end of the twelfth century onwards. The great increase in the number of documents published and indexed since the time of Hunter and Child has provided easier access to many more examples, in a variety of temporal and geographical contexts. A significant proportion of them are preceded by the Christian name ‘Robert’, whose diminutive form ‘Robin’ seems rarely if ever to have been used in documents written in Latin, although it could occasionally appear in ones using Anglo-Norman French.

The surname ‘Hood’, usually in the form Hod but sometimes Hodd, Hodde, Hoode, Houd, Hudde or Hude, was common in thirteenth and fourteenth century England, and occasionally also occurs in Scotland. It can be explained as deriving originally from someone who made hoods (although the name Hoder or Hodere is a much less common alternative form), or, more frequently, who was noted for or characterised by the wearing of a hood. Occasionally, a name in the form ‘de Hod’ indicates an origin from a place called Hood, there being such locations in Devon and Yorkshire. It is possible that the Robert de Hod found in Richmond in Yorkshire in 1301 was one such individual, from the place of that name, now Hood Grange, in the parish of Kilburn, while the Devon place is in the parish of Rattery.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2020

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  • The Robin Hood Names
  • David Crook
  • Book: Robin Hood: Legend and Reality
  • Online publication: 16 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787449411.008
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  • The Robin Hood Names
  • David Crook
  • Book: Robin Hood: Legend and Reality
  • Online publication: 16 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787449411.008
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Robin Hood Names
  • David Crook
  • Book: Robin Hood: Legend and Reality
  • Online publication: 16 September 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787449411.008
Available formats
×