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Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robin Hood[1]

Male Abt 1200 - 1294  (~ 94 years)

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  • Name Robert Earl of Huntingdon 
    Suffix Robin Hood 
    Born Abt 1200  Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Dec 24, 1294  Yorkshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Robert of Huntingdon - aka Robin Hood:  "Let me have length and breadth enough, and under my head a sod; That they may say when I am dead, 'Here lies bold Robin Hood." (Old Eng. ballad)  d. 1294.
    Buried Kirklees, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Said to have been "Roben Heud" or Robin Hood, of Sherwood Forest.  Robert, Earl of Huntington was probably born abt 1200-1210, after the reign of Richard I,  England's Richard the Lionhearted, who had gone on the third crusade to free Jerusalem in the Holy Land.  On his way home from the Holy Land he was taken captive and held for Ransom by the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI.  Richard died in 1199, wounded by an arrow near Limoges, France.
      England was then under the rule of his brother, John Lackland, also known as "John Soft Sword" then King of England (1199-1216.)  During these years, David of Scotland, son of Malcom III Canmore, was married to Maud of Huntingdon, daughter of Waltheof of Northumbria, and now the widow of Simon de St. Liz, the former Earl of Huntingdon.  She inherited the estates of both Northumberland (from her father), and the earldom of Huntingdon (from her husband).  Maud's new husband, David of Scotland, then became the Earl of Huntingdon.
      The earldom of Huntingdon comprised part of southern Scotland, and part of northern England.  David and Maud had a son who became Henry, Earl of Huntingdon (born 1114) .  Henry married Ada Warenne, daughter of Hugh Warenne, Earl of Chester.  Their son, David, became the third Earl of Huntingdon, born in 1144.  In 1190, when David was age 36, he married Maud of Chester, daughter of Hugh Kevelioc, Earl of Chester.  Some time after this their son, Robert was born.  His mother, Maud, was a grand daughter of Simon de Montfort.  John, King of England, known as John Lackland, died of dysentery in 1216, about the time Robert of Huntingdon  was reaching puberty.  The king's nine year old son, Henry then became King of England as Henry III, under the regent of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who, with the moderate party took control of England.  Henry III took control of his throne in 1227.
      Robert of Huntingdon's father, David, was brother of Malcom IV, who had succeeded his grandfather, David I of Scotland, on the Scottish throne.  David, Earl of Huntingdon, became a pawn in the battle for power between England and Scotland, and he and other barons of Scotland became hostages when King William of Scotland was captured at the battle of Alnwick.  Their brother, Malcom IV, surrendered the Scottish nobles in exchange for the freedom of his brother, William.  It is not clear just how David, Earl of Huntingdon died, but he was dead in 1214, when his son, Robert, was still a young boy.
      History says Robert lived until 1294, making him live until the ripe old age of 70 or more,  according to the tombstone.  (see below).  Whether or not he was the famed Robin Hood has been the subject of many theories, stories, myths and legends.  Webster's states he was "undoubtedly" a myth, stemming from early Germanic folk tales.  As Robin Hood he is mentioned in "Piers Plowman" epic poem in 1377, and in following years in a chronicle of Scotland (1420); Ben Jonson's "Sad Shepherd" (1641); Scott's "Ivanhoe"; and Tennysons' "The Forresters".  Robin Hood is also ascribed to a Saxon knight fighting against the invading Normans.  But Robin Hood is also said to have been "an adherent of the Earl of Lancaster insurrection of a later Earl Simon de Montfort (1322).  And in 1601 Anthony Munday cast him as an "early Earl of Huntingdon" aka Robin Hood, which may come closest to the actual fact.  Many later fictional accounts place him in the earlier times, making him a "peer" of Richard The Lionhearted, and living in the times of King John Lackland, when in fact he was born after Richard died, and was still a small boy during the time of King John.
      All of the stories of Robin Hood are to be discounted as romantic fiction.  Robert of Huntingdon actually lived - and may well have been the source of the stories of Robin of Locksley.  Webster states Robin Hood died in a Cisterian Nunnery on Christmas Eve  of 1294.  A tombstone near KirKlees reads:
      "Hear underneath dis laitl stean
      Laz robert earl of Huntingtun
      Ne’er arcir ver as hie sa geud
      An pipl kauld im robin heud
      Sick [such] utlawz as he an iz men
      Vil england nivr si agen
      Obiit 24 kal: Dekembris, 1247"
      (Trager's "People Chronology" page 108.)  This is near KirKlees, "a Yorkshire village on the Calder, 4 miles N.E. of Huddersfield, Yorkshire."  Robin Hood died, it is said, in a Cistercian nunnery here.  (Chamber's Concise Gazetteer) 28.5 miles from Mansfield lies Cooper Bridge (Three Nuns Inn).  To the left is Kirklees, with some remains of a Cistercian nunnery (incorporated today into a farm) and the alleged grave of Robin Hood. (Muirhead's "England.)  Near Mansfield in North of Nottingham, Capital city of Yorkshire.  The Castle of Nottingham (House of Mowbray) there are bronze statutes to the memory of Robin Hood and his men.
      Fact or Fiction, Robert, Earl of Huntingdon was real.  Was he Robin Hood?  His tombstone is real!  Whether placed at the time of his death, or later by someone wanting to perpetuate the myth of Robin Hood, will we ever know?  Whatever -- fact or fiction -- Robin Hood is still fascinating people enough to make new books and movies about his life.
    Person ID I20415  mykindred
    Last Modified Aug 22, 2016 

    Father David Earl of Huntingdon, *,   b. 1144, Northumberland - son of Prince Henry Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1219  (Age 75 years) 
    Mother Maud of Chester, *,   b. Abt 1160, Chester - dtr of Hugh Kevelioc Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1200, Scotland ? - wife of Earl David of Huntingdon Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 41 years) 
    Married 1189 
    Family ID F7403  Group Sheet

  • Sources 
    1. [S580] Gedcom - Rein-Shwayder, Carol.

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