“Robin Hood and the Monk”


Robin Hood decides to take mass in Nottingham. He quarrels with Little John after a shooting match, and proceeds alone. A monk betrays him to the sheriff. John and Much trick the king into giving them his seal; they go to the sheriff and rescue Robin


In terms of the date of the manuscript, this is regarded as the oldest surviving Robin Hood piece (though in fact, except for John Jacob Niles's probable fake, it does not seem to survive outside the one manuscript). It is considered by J. C. Holt (following Child and others), to be one of the five "basic" Robin Hood ballads. (For more details on chronology see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117]).

Bronson observes that Chappell associated a tune with this piece, but that the association was Chappell's own, on weak grounds, and therefore does not cite the melody. The Opies quote Dobson and Taylor to the effect that this was more likely recited than sung.

The Cambridge manuscript, again according to the Opies, is sort of a do-it-yourself minstrel kit: 135 pages not only of tales but also prayers and prophecies. - RBW


  1. Child 119, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 119, comments only; cf. Chappell/Wooldridge II, pp. 53-54, "Oh, How They Frisk It, or, Leather Apron, or Under the Greenwood Tree"
  3. Leach, pp. 340-349, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  4. Friedman, p. 327, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  5. OBB 117, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  6. Niles 42, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text, 1 tune -- another questionable JJN collection)
  7. Gummere, pp. 77-89+321-322, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  8. TBB 27, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  9. Hodgart, p. 81, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  10. ADDITIONAL: Iona & Peter Opie, The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse, pp. 22-32, "Robin Hood and the Monk" (1 text)
  11. Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #148, "In Summer" (1 fragment, consisting of the first five verses)
  12. Roud #3978
  13. BI, C119


Alternate titles: “Robin Hood and the Twenty Pounds of Gold”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: ms. Cambridge Ff. 5.48, c. 1450