The official blog of Historical Fantasy Author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Come and join me on the hunt for everything mythological, as well as historical. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Robin Hood and his Merry Men ~ Friar Tuck #Sherwood #folklore
Last time I
looked at Little John and his place in the legend that is Robin Hood. Today, I
want to look at another colourful character — Friar Tuck!
llustration by Louis Rhead
who had a rather large girth, a jollycountenance
and was, without a doubt, an all round good egg — be
it that he was an outlaw. But hey, I guess he could multitask.
really came into his own in the 15th Century, the same time Maid Marion did.
Tuck, like Marion, was part of the May Day celebrations. Our Medieval ancestors
loved everything Robin Hood and what better than a monk who had thrown in his
lot with a band of outlaws because he could see the injustice around him and he
wanted to make a difference. It is all rather romantic, isn't it?
there any truth in it?
rewind a little.There was a Robert Hood
who was getting into trouble with the law in 1225.Which would put him in the reign of Henry
III, but if we stick to the legend we are going back even further to the reign
of Richard I. Confused? Yes, I am!
and figure out who this Friar Tuck was — if he was real at all. Let's start with
the obvious — he was a Friar. It is a bit of a giveaway really, isn't it?! It
is, after all, in his name.
kind of Friar?
there are two possibilities
But look at
those dates. The legend kind of runs into trouble here because when Richard I
ruled there were no Friars in England — they had not even been founded yet. Now
that is just not cricket. I feel all disappointed now. We can’t have a Robin
Hood without a Friar Tuck.
fast-forward back to the early 15th Century, and here we meet a man called Richard
Stafford, a chapman in Lindfield, Sussex. But he wasn’t the most honest of
chapman’s. He had another side to him, an alias that so happened to be, yeah, you guess it,
rubbing my hands in glee, are we getting somewhere? This "Friar" who
was running around in the reign of Henry V was quite the criminal, stealing
from the king's lieges, burning foresters home, poaching, etc…
question has to be asked, was Stafford borrowing the allies? Was he modelling
himself on a real Friar Tuck who was running around Sherwood in the 12th
Century? Or has the legend of a Friar Tuck developed over the years from this
15th Century outlaw?
Questions. Questions. Questions. Are there any answers? Nothing definite, but we are dealing with legends, and they wouldn't be legends if we could pin historical fact to them would they?