Robyn Hood

According to Hall’s Chronicle, Henry VIII met Robin Hood on Shooters Hill in 1516 — When it comes to outlaws, Dick Turpin’s is the name most commonly mentioned in association with the Hill, but he’s nothing compared to the greatest of them all.

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The king & the quene accopanyed with many lordes & ladies roade to the high ground of shoters hil to take the open ayre, and as they passed by the way, they espied a copany of tall yomen, clothed all in grene with grene whodts & bowes & arrowes, to the nuber of. Amaiyn e. jj Q Then one of them, which called him selfe Itobyn hood, came to the kyng, de.syring him to se his men shoote, & the kyng was cotent. Then he whisteled, al the. ii.C. ar- chers shot & losed at once, & then he whisteled agayne, & they like wyse shot agayne, their arrowes whisteled bycrafte of the head, so that the noycswas straunge and great, & muche pleased the kynge the quene and all the company. All these; archers were of thekynges garde and had thus appareled them selues to make solace to the kynge. Then Kobyn hood de- syred the kynge and queue to come into the grenc wood, & to sc how the outlawes lyue. The kyngdemaunded of y quene & her ladyes, if they durst aduenture to go into the wood with so many outlawes. Then the queue sayde, that if it pleased him, she was content, then the homes blcwe tyl they came to the wood vnder shoters hil, and there was an Arber made of boowes with a hal, and a great ch7iber and an inner chamber very well made & couered with floures & swete herbes, whiche the kyng muche praysed. Then said Kobyn hood, Sir Outlawes brekefastes is venyson, and therefore you must be content with such fare as we vse. Then the kyng and quene sate doune, iSc were scrued with vcnyson and wyne by Robyn hood and his men, to their great contcntacion.

The above text from the 1809 edition has been reworked a bit for a robin hood blog:

The King and Queen [Henry VIII and Queen Katherine] accompanied with many lords and ladies rode to the high ground of Shooters Hill to take the open air; and as they passed by the way, they espied a company of tall yeoman, clothed all in green with green hoods and bows and arrows, to the number of two hundred. Then one of them, which called himself Robyn hood, came to the King, desiring him to see his men shoot, and the king was content. Then he whistled and all the two hundred archers shot and loosed at once, and then he whistled again, and they likewise shot again; their arrows whistled by craft of the head, so that the noise was strange and great, and much pleased the King and Queen and all the company. All of these archers were of the King’s guard and had thus appareled themselves to make solace to the King. The Robyn hood desired the King and the Queen to come into the green wood, and to see how the outlaws live. The King demanded of the Queen and her ladies, if they durst adventure to go into the wood with so many outlaws. Then the Queen said that if it pleased him, she was content. Then the horns blew till they came to the wood under Shooters Hill, and there was an arbour made of boughs, with a hall and a great chamber very well made and covered with flowers and sweet herbs, which the King much praised. Then said Robyn hood, Sir, outlaws breakfast in venison, and therefore you must be content with such fare as we use. Then the King and Queen sat down, and were served with venison and wine by Robyn hood and his men to great contention.

Henry the VIII grew up in Eltham Palace, and spent a lot of time in south east London, so it seems quite plausible that he would encounter some hoodies whilst out hunting in the undergrowth, but a chance encounter with Robin Hood seems to be the stuff of legend somehow, mainly as Robin Hood’s turf was so far away. According to the blogger, this was an early step in the cleaning of the myth…Still, it’s a nice thought, and whilst the reverie continues, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone of Robin Hood’s naughty-but-nice calibre around today…he could go on swashbuckling rides down into canary wharf to get our money back from those latter day Sheriffs of Mottingham, the Sir Freds of this world.