ROBERT III BUTLER OF SKELBROOKE, YORKSHIRE
A CRIMINAL OPERATING IN BARNSDALE IN THE 1290's
Following twelve years of research into the ballad character of 'Robin Hood', it emerged that the folkloric character seemed at first a creation of a fertile imagination. Even the name Robyn Hode [Robin Hood] was found to have originated from what is now recognised as a cryptic political song A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode. This observation alone explains the difficulty of identifying such a person with this epithet and has confounded many genuine researchers looking for an historical inspiration for the ballad character.
However there was a real person living in Skelbrooke in an area commonly called 'Barnsdale' upon whom the character of the ballads at first appears to have been conceived. This young man was convicted of a number of heinous crimes in the Barnsdale area in the late 1200s. From research of the local families it has been recognised that they were not only understandably in direct contact with each other, but to some extent intermarried. This is important because in a culture of criminality, these families operated within a closed network.
Probably the most important name in the grouping is FitzWilliam of Emley and Sprotbrough. It is speculated that a member of the Le Waleys [Wallis/Walleis/Wallace] family authored the Geste. This person was possibly Sir Stephen II Waleys of Burghwallis [d.1347] a descendant of Sir Richard I Le Waleys the first rector of Burgh [Wallis] whose son Sir Stephen I is thought to be the cousin to Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke, a plunderer and murderer from 'Barnsdale. Burghwallis is a village alongside the Great North Road near Skelbrooke, what in the Geste was called 'Watling Street'.
The FitzWilliam family was anciently seated at Emley and gained Sprotborough by marriage with the De Lizours line. In the next generation the line of Plantagenet from Hamelyn Plantagenet [b ~1129] of nearby Conisbrough Castle was married to that of the FitzWilliams. Hamelyn was an illegitimate son of Geoffrey of Anjou and probably Adela [Ela] Talvas, Geoffrey of Anjou's concubine, for we see this first name in Adela Plantagenet, one of Hamelyn's daughters.
Adela Plantagenet was Robert III Butler's great
grandmother whilst Hamelyn Plantagenet and Isabel de Warenne
Robert's great x 2 grandfather and grandmother
who were buried far away from South Yorkshire in the Chapter
House at Lewes, Sussex. Hamelyn was thus a half brother to Henri
II], one of the Norman Angevin Kings of England. Two
generations later Robert II Butler of Skelbrooke appears to
have been married to Agnes FitzWilliam. Their union produced
Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke. This line of noble descent supports
the ideas that developed in the 1500s that 'Robyn Hode'
was born of the nobility [i.e. Agnes FitzWilliam] who descended
from Geoffrey of Anjou through the illegitimate Hamelyn Plantagenet
of Conisbrough to his daughter Adela Plantagenet [alias Ela de Warenne].
Adela Plantagenet married Sir William FitzWilliam who descended from
Charlemagne, these two were Robert III Butler's great-grandparents.
The film, 'Robin Hood' appears to be once again falsely associated with Richard I 'Coeur de Lion' and the often maligned King John. It is directed by the Englishman, Sir Ridley Scott and the script, as with the film of 'A Knights Tale', is written by Brian Helgeland but again, it is without any historical basis whatsoever. The false trail perpetrated by the film industry continues ever such.
Theme Music [mp3]
This is the popular image of the ballad hero. However the arrows would have been held by the belt and it is probable that he had a more pronounced moustache as was popular throughout the earlier medieval period. Here Robyn is painted as a left-handed bowman.
of Martin Parkerís
Footnote: In our search for a real person who modelled for the ballad character Robyn Hode, we may look to the criminal network of the 1290s in the Barnsdale area exposed by the trial of Robert III Butler of Skelbrooke. Skelbrooke is situated near where the vill of Barnsdale was sited at Barnsdale Bar. This is now marked by a round-about for the A1. However, further research leads us on to a far greater well-spring, the findings of which I hope to publish in the near future
Anglo-Norman-Welsh-Scoto-Dutch-Hanoverian-SaxeCoburg Royal lineage for England
|ANOTHER REASON TO PRESERVE ENGLISH FOREST AND WOODLAND Here we have the brass statue of the ballad hero at Nottingham superimposed upon a background of a brook and woodland which lie within the manor where the real Robyn was born and in all likelihood where he played as a young child. The scene was taken in July with bluebells still evident before the summer tree canopy obscured most of the daylight. Note how in this case the artist has Robyn as a right-hand bowman.