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Robin Hood alongside the Thames!

One of the most unexpected places to claim a Robin Hood connection is the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames! Although it only has a population of about a sixth of the Greater Nottingham conurbation it boasts several significant references to Robin Hood. In fact a note in the minister’s accounts for the year 1541 mentions the existence of a Robyn Hoode Walke in what is now Richmond Park. Even more surprising is the fact that this reference appears a full 150 years before any Robin Hood place name was ever recorded in Sherwood Forest!

Speculation suggests that Robyn Hoode Walke was named in the outlaw’s honour, possibly even by the King himself, for according to local historian, Clive Whichelow, in his booklet “The Local Mystery of Robin Hood”, Richmond Park was a favourite hunting ground of King Henry VIII and the sovereign was also known to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Medieval Games that included the Robin Hood game which featured displays of archery and plays that included the characters of Robin Hood and his men dressed in Lincoln Green and also introduced Maid Marian, Little John and Friar Tuck. The legendary connection appears to have subsequently triggered several local landmarks being given a Robin Hood name and in and around Kingston you can still find a Robin Hood church; a Robin Hood Inn; a Robin Hood School; Hill; Well; Close; and Farm together with a Robin Hood Gate to Richmond Park and a Sherwood Lodge. In the last 2 years, Kingston Museum have also introduced an annual Robin Hood Festival to celebrate the town’s connections with the iconic legend and the event has been a great success.