Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Robin Hood Ballads at South East London Folklore Society

Coming up tomorrow (Thursday 10th November 2016) at South East London Folklore Society, Bob Askew will be given a talk on 'Robin Hood Ballads: The ‘Real Robin Hood’?

'The Robin Hood Ballads are the source for the core stories of the Robin Hood figure that we know today. They have been sung, recited and read for centuries; long before people wrote novels, or made films and TV programmes. Do the ballads depict the ‘real Robin Hood’, a different person to the English hero that we know so well today? Bob will trace the development of the Robin Hood story, and look at the many ballads about him.

Bob Askew is a lifelong lover of folk songs. He is particularly interested in the folk songs of his native Hampshire, and has researched the singers of these songs. He has also explored the life of George Gardiner, the Edwardian folk song collector, who noted over 1000 songs there. He writes articles, and gives talks on Hampshire Folk Songs. His interest in Robin Hood Ballads was provoked by the fact that seven different Robin Hood ballads were noted in a small area of Hampshire in 1907'.

The talk starts at 8pm in the upstairs room of the Old King's Head, King's Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High Street, SE1 1NA. Entrance is £3/1.50 concessions,  email to book a place or chance your arm and roll up on the night.

I don't think anyone's ever claimed Robin Hood as a Londoner, though his tale has featured in transpontine festivities

On May Day 1515, Henry VIII and the Queen ‘rode a Maying from Greenwich to the high ground of Shooters hill, where as they passed by the way, they spied a company of tall yeomen clothed all in Green’. The staged pageant included ‘Robin Hoode’ leading a band of 200 archers. ‘Robin Hoode desired the King & Queene with their retinue to enter the greene wood, where, in harbours made of boughs, and decked with flowers, they were set and served plentifully with venison and wine, by Robin Hoode and his men, to their great contentment, and had other Pageants and pastimes’ (Stow, 1603). 

Likewise on the 25th June 1559 there was a special performance for Queen Elizabeth I at Greenwich of ‘a May game’ featuring a giant, St George and the Dragon, Morris dancing, Robin Hood, Little John , Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and the Nine Worthies of Christendom. 

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