Blidworth - Will Scarlet's Grave

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By longstanding local tradition, the churchyard at Blidworth is the final resting place of Will Scarlet - one of the most famous of Robin Hood's "Merry Men." It was also the scene of a real historical incident involving outlaws that echoes many of the tales told of Hood.

While his grave (should it be there) is not marked, a black marble plaque commerorating one "T. Leake" on the church wall is surrounded by an alabaster frame. This alabaster frame is said to be a surviving remnant of Will Scarlet's memorial. Whether this is true or not is of course unknown and unknowable, but the alabaster is carved with various images of hunting - figures, hounds, crossbows, horns and longbows. Far from compelling, it is true, but like many places associated with the Hood legend it resonates in local legend - a tradition dating back to at least 1877, when it was recorded in Nottinghamshire Facts and Fiction by John Potter Briscoe.

In 1276, the steward of Nottingham - John de Lascelles - caught two men with bows and arrows in the forest and took them to Blidworth, presumably intending to hand them over to the Sheriff of Nottingham. During the night, however, twenty men with swords, bows and arrows broken open the guard house, beat up the guardsmen and freed the men. The identities of the poachers and their rescuers were never discovered.

This documented incident is very similar to many tales of daring rescues to be found in tales of Robin Hood.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 17th October 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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