Robin Hood - Other Characters In The Medieval Legend

Robin Hood with Maid MarianWhen we think of the legend of Robin Hood, we also recall the many, colourful characters associated with the story - Maid Marian and The Merry Men in particular. Here is a list of the main characters connected with the legend along with a little detail of how and when we believe they came to be associated ....

Maid Marian - The early stories have no female interest. Maid Marion was originally a character in the the May games and this is probably how she came to be entwined with the Robin Hood stories. By the late 16th century she was firmly within the legend of Robin Hood.

The Merry Men - Always associated with Robin Hood and a reference to them occurs in the oldest known ballad " Robin Hood and the Monk" from around 1450.

Much the Miller's Son - He appears in some of the oldest ballads and is said to have been outlawed as a poacher.

Little John - Also associated with the very early Ballads he is usually portrayed as the second in command.

Friar Tuck - Again associated with some of the earliest ballads. A Friar was basically a monk who had chosen to serve the people as opposed to spending his life in a monastery. It has to be said that the first Friars who served in the community did not arrive until after the death of Richard the Lionheart.

Allan-a-Dale - A wondering minstrel he was a relatively late addition to Robin Hood legends with an appearance in a 17th century ballad.

Will Scarlet - Appearing in the very earliest ballads Will Scarlet is described as a wealthy young man who seeks shelter with the outlaws. In some of the early ballads the name of Will Stutly is used.

Gilbert Whitehand - Mentioned in only the earliest ballads he is renowned for being as good an archer as Robin Hood.

Arthur a Bland - Appears in just one Ballad, "Robin Hood and the Tanner".

David of Doncaster - Appears in "Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow" with a minor role.

Sir Guy of Gisbourne - Along with the Sheriff of Nottingham, the main villains in all the ballads and tales. Gisborne is actually a village near Lancaster and approximately 100 miles from Sherwood Forest. Interestingly there is some speculation that the tale of how Gisbourne is killed and beheaded was taken from a separate legend and merged with the Robin Hood stories.

The Bishop of Hereford - Appears in several ballads and is portrayed as extremely greedy.

Richard at the Lee - Common to many early ballads. Often portrayed as a nobleman with a castle and lands who has ended up in extreme debt.