The best-known feature of the legend of Robin Hood is the so-called ‘Robin Hood shot’.
Robin is said to have been able to shoot an arrow at another one already sticking in the target, which he thereby split in half.
A shot like this has definitively never occurred, simply because Robin Hood never existed.
This does not mean that such a shot is not possible. To the contrary, this can be seen quite often and usually happens just by accident. Therefore, a ‘Robin Hood shot’ only makes an impression if it has been done intentionally and the archer announces it beforehand.
If I spread around several arrows in the target area and another one subsequently hits and splits one of them, the result is also called a Robin Hood shot; although this was not done on purpose. In fact, it is rather a nuisance, because of the inevitable damage to the arrows.
The figure of Robin Hood is pure fiction. It has evolved over time, originating with a Common Highwayman, from there to acquire the title of Noble Patriot and finally became an early Advocate for Social Justice – ‘take it from the rich and give it to the poor’. Frequently reworked versions, which have been adapted over time, and additionally invented ballads, made him become a legend.
Owing to an entry in an administrative file, which was effected in the year 1225, the ‘authentic’ Robin Hood was just a simple good-for-nothing with the name affix ‘hobbehod’. Too bad, because during those times, there have been many entries with the same affix given to very different persons.
It is a well-known fact that ‘hobbehod’ is merely an old English synonym for a lawbreaker. The figure of Robin Hood would therefore only derive from a generally used medieval nickname for a thief or a robber.
Then, there are historians who have – ‘beyond any doubt’ – identified Robert Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntington (1160-1247) as the ‘genuine’ Robin Hood.
Some ‘authorities’ are even more convinced that it must have been the Anglo-Saxon Robert de Kyme (1210-1285), who was banned in the year 1226 for thievery and breach of the King’s peace. As a result, he has fled into the Sherwood Forest.
Roger Godberd is another candidate for the ‘real’ Robin Hood. He has terrorized the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire in the years following the Montford Rebellion (1265) as the leader of a group of outlaws.
And finally, there would yet be Robert Hood (1290-1347), who was supposedly involved in a rebellion against King Edward II. He was expelled and fled into the Barnsdale Forest.
The oldest written evidence of the existence of a Robin Hood ballad originates from a collection of folksy poems composed by William Langland around the year 1377 with the title ‘The Vision of Piers Plowman’.
In one of the poems a certain Mr. Sloth flatters himself that he can barely remember the Lord’s Prayer, but knows the rhymes of Robin Hood by heart: “I kan nought parfitly my Paternoster as the preest...