Robin Hood is significant, not because of the life of any real person but because he is a symbol. So, appropriations of his name in later centuries are significant because they highlight what the name meant to people like you and I in times past.
William Holman Hunt’s painting of “The Awakening Conscience” (1853) told an all-too-familiar story: that of the working-class “kept woman” ensnared into a debauched lifestyle by an upper class man.
Hark ye! My Merry Men all and listen to me!
Of a very bad bishop who was a Tory!
“I only strive to arouse the grovelling spirit of the industrious millions to a sense of the wrongs under which they labour.”
“A plebeian fighting for the poor and rewarded with poverty.”
Young lads have always enjoyed playing football, but sometimes their love for it can land them in trouble with the police. This is as true today as it was in the Victorian era, where in court records we find two residents from Richmond, London, William Ford, aged 19, and Henry Hold, aged 15, arrested for having broken into a shop and stealing a football.
Pierce Egan’s “Robin Hood” was an early Victorian bestseller. In the first edition, Egan also appended a collection of Robin Hood ballads alongside his novel, for which he provided the illustrations.
“I had four blak arrows under my belt, Four for the greefs that I have felt, Four for the number of ill menne, That have opressid me now and then.”
After G W M Reynolds and Thomas Miller decided to stop writing Victorian crime novel “The Mysteries of London”, E. L. Blanchard took up the narrative with a brand new story with original characters.
Robin Hood has always been an awkward socialist figure, but according to William Morris (1834-1896), he prepared the way for the radical preacher, John Ball (d.1381).