Publisher: Linneys of Mansfield
“No other archer was so good, and people called him Robin Hood.”
Like an arrow in the back, this little booklet struck me out of the blue! I love the heroes of ole literature like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, The Three Musketeers, and of course, Robin Hood. So when I saw this book purporting to have the story of the Merry Archer in fact and fancy, I just had to have it!
The booklet was produced by Linneys of Mansfield which is apparently in the heart of England’s Sherwood Forest, the legendary home of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. According to my research, a William Linney started a book shop in Mansfield about 170 years ago! Now the company is based in a 30-acre site in Mansfield, 20 minutes from the M1 and 25 minutes from the A1. It has developed into a sophisticated marketing services company. Wow! Full speed ahead, wot? You can check out their website here.
Our booklet appears to be a guide to the ‘events’ and places that provide the backdrop for feudal England.
First we have 7 pages of text explaining the legend of Robin Hood embellished with an image of a Major Oak tree and a line drawing of a buck.
The story of our adventurer is much as it has been portrayed in book and on film but with a bit more blood shed here. And the story doesn’t end with King Richard returning to pardon Robin and his men with a happy ending for all. The tale continues with King Richard dying, Robin being thrown in jail, escaping, becoming a fisherman, being attacked by pirates (?), who he mercilessly murders, and then he later becomes a very sick man. On his deathbed, he shoots an arrow through an open window and where it lands is where he is buried. This ending to his life was acted out by Sean Connery in the movie entitled Robin Hood and Maid Marion.
So much for fancy.
Next the booklet has 4 pages on the facts of the story of Robin Hood along with an image of the Edwinstowe Parish Church and a line drawing of Robin himself.
There is little to prove that Robin was a real man. But some sources claim he was real and was born in the town of Wakefield to a forester. Some documents seem to list a ‘Robin Hood’ as having received pay for services and a fine for unauthorized absence from this service.
So was he real? It is likely if he was, the stories we know today have been blown way out of proportion! But they’re fun, so who cares, right?
Next we get 7 more pages describing Sherwood Forest then and now. This section has three images of pertinent places within the wood along with the survey map you see above.
Below begins a 15-page section describing many places of interest to the legends.
Numerous images show several Abbeys, Halls, and Castles, the most famous being Nottingham Castle (seen in the picture above).
This would have been a wonderful guide to have as you wandered through the modern Sherwood Forest. It would help one to imagine the times, people, and places of the legends, and perhaps spark thought as to just how true such legends are. I would give this a 5 Out of 5 Stars for it’s comprehensive coverage of the subject matter and the great images that provide perspective.
FUN FACTS: This booklet was sold for 2’6 in English currency. It appears that this is the designation for a Half Crown. This coin was equivalent to two shillings and sixpence. One shilling was equal to 12 pence, so two shillings plus 6 pence would be a total cost of 30 pence. Pence is the same as the North American penny, or cent, and prior to 1971, they were about equal in value. So in America, it would have cost 30 cents. I could be off on this but the bottom line is… it was cheap! The Half Crown was discontinued in 1970. In 1971, the British pound changed to 100 pence per pound from 240 pence per pound. So I’m confident to date this booklet to a time prior to 1970. Looking at the cover and the artwork, along with the publishers long history, I’d say a release date could be placed as early as the late 50s.
We know that Disney did both an animated and a live-action version of the tales of Robin Hood. You can see a Read-along Record of the animated version here, and a reference to the live-action version here by means of another Disney production called The Sword and the Rose.