Loxley & Huntingdon
Locksleah, Locksley, Loxley are all synonymous with the claimed place-name for the birth-place of Robin. Surely then following naming patterns his name would have been Robin or Robert de Loxley?
If it can be relied upon, the 'Sloane Manuscript' of 1600 gives Robin's birthplace as Loxley. However, although the inspiration for the ballad character was granted 'Loxley' he was not born there. There is a Loxley in Warwickshire, another in Staffordshire and one in Yorkshire. Locksley/Loxley near Sheffield is reputed to be his birthplace. However there is no corroborating written record of this. If his name was Robert de Hode, could he not just as easily have been a native of Hodresfeld (Huddersfield)? or Hotham [D.B. Hode] in east Yorkshire? Just as in the words neighbourhood, knighthood or priesthood, could not the word "hood' represent a "state of being". In fact I find that the modern word 'Hood' has been completely hijacked by the allusions to hooded clothing, whilst hoods have become synonymous with criminals wishing to hide their identity. Yet the name for the inspiration of the ballad character was not Hood, Hode or Hod &c.
To confuse the issue a gravestone reputed to be a copy of Robin's
grave from Kirklees is known from Loxley in Warwickshire,
with a Lombardic style or fleuretty cross on the capping stone.
This confusion is modern conflation par excellence redolent
of some of England's finest story-tellers.
Loxley village in Yorkshire lies on the River Loxley about three
miles from the centre of present day Sheffield near the site of
a Roman road from Doncaster to Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire ("the
road to nowhere"). See The Last Eorl
However, from more recent findings neither this Yorkshire Loxley, the
Staffordshire Loxley nor the
Loxley in Warwickshire are the site of one of Robyn's manor houses. The name
has been changed as they say 'to protect the innocent' and has yet to be
announced. When the present owner discovers his good fortune, he will be
well pleased and 'Time Team' or their hopefully subsequent equivalent, will have to spend more than
three days sifting the soil.
See: Robin Hood Places
Further research has shown that in fact a coat of arms very similar
to the one provided above is found in the family of a traditional
adversary of the person styled 'Robin Hood', William Brewer, an early
Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The title earl of Huntington
is used by Munday in his plays but whether this refers to an imaginary
place of title or Huntington in Yorkshire, Huntington
in Staffordshire, Huntingdon in
Huntingdonshire/ Cambridgeshire or Huntingdon in Herefordshire/Worcestershire,
is not apparent. The phonetic spelling of Huntington as written in
Munday's plays and the ballad Robin Hood and Queen Katherine could
easily have been originally spelled with a "d". However it seems to be
common to spell Huntingdon as Huntington during the Tudor period.
The 2nd earl Warrene had two children [some sources state six],
William and Adeline. Adeline married Henry Canmore [Gaelic : Ceann
mhor] or Henry de Huntingdon [b. 1114, d. 1152] Prince of Scotland,
earl of Northumbria and Huntingdon. Prince Henry's fifth child, David
earl Lennox became the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon. One of Henry's grandchildren
[Isabella Ceann mhor] married Robert de Bruis [Bruce] of Scotland. The
title earl of Huntingdon was not lost to the [Ceann mhor] Canmores with
David's death in 1219 at Yardley [Northamptonshire] for his youngest
child John Ceann mhor inherited the title. However with John's death,
the Huntingdon honour was eventually broken up in 1245 when John Le Scot's
wife died. Earl David was succeeded by two daughters, for his eldest son
Robert, who some have equated with "Robin Hood" died at about the age of
thirty in 1221. Both Robert and John pre-deceased their two sisters,
Ada and Isabella. The title could then have passed through Ada to the Hastings
family but the title earl of Huntington was went into abeyance until granted
to William Clinton [Fiennes] of Climpton, Oxfordshire
by Edward III for his assistance against the Scots.
Thus the title earl of Huntingdon was taken from the Scottish line. Jean/John le Scot/Cean mhor, earl of Chester and Huntingdon was probably the the last in the Ceann mhor Scottish line to hold the title. Thus if there were a dispossesion of the earldom then this is where it definitely occurred. See: The Earls of Chester.
In the pedigree of the Scottish kings there is a Robert of Huntington [born before 1207 perhaps 1180]. He appears to be the eldest child of seven, of David Earl Lennox [2nd Earl Huntingdon]. This would appear to be Huntingdon in what is now Cambridgeshire but was then Huntingdonshire. Robert's mother was Mathilda [Maund/Maud] of Chester, Countess de Keveliock [Ceuelioc, Wales] whose father Hugh, was the earl of Chester. Coincidentally the first reference to the ballads of Robin Hood is titled 'Rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre' Thus this Robert should have inherited the title "Earl Huntingdon" but because he pre-deceased his father he did not aquire the title. According to Fordun, Robert Ceann mhor died in infancy. Robert's younger brother Jean le Scot appears to have inherited the title "Earl of Huntingdon" as well as the earldom of Chester. Interestingly, the 6th child of David and Mathilda was Isabella Ceann mhor [FitzDavid] of Huntingdon who married Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale which led to the line of Bruces including the great Robert le Bruis I King of Scotland.[note: Bruis, like other titled Scottish family names is in fact French!#].
Pedigree for the earls of Huntington*:
From the above pedigree it can also be noticed that Sir Henry de Hastings
married into the Canmore [Gaelic: Ceann mhor or "bighead"] family
which at that time lay claim to the title earl of Huntingdon, his
line ostensibly could have succeeded to the title earl of Huntington
but it was granted by Edward III in 1337 to William Fiennes for services
offered in the Scottish Wars.
Not shown in the pedigree above is the fact that another son of Henry Prince of Scotland, Malcolm IV ["The Maiden" reigned 1153-1165] was given the title of "The 6th earl of Huntingdon"4 Henry II had insisted that he surrender his claim to Northumbria in 1157 in return for a re-grant of the earldom of Huntingdon. Malcolm fought as an English baron in 1159 against the French and did homage to the English king in 1163. Between 1160 and 1164 Malcolm was busy suppressing rebellions in Scotland.
Even earlier, Maud [Matilda] of Huntingdon, had married David I,
King of Scotland secondly but firstly, Simon de St. Liz an earl of
Huntingdon. Maud was Waltheof II's daughter who was created
earl of Huntington under William the I. Maud and Simon I had
a son Simon II who according to the map-maker John Speed inherited
the title earl of Huntington [Speed uses the spelling in both ways]
through his mother. Speed says that Maud's son, Henry Ceann mhor by
David I of Scotland carried away the honour after the death of her husband
Simon I from his half and elder brother. However Prince Henry pre-deceased
his father, David I and by "mutability of fortune and favour of
princes, dignity was again restored to the de Lizours [sic] and against
the Scottish"3 So here again we have a case of dispossesion
of the earldom of Huntingdon.
Huntington manor in North Yorkshire lies today in the N.E. outskirts
of York city. York was the Primary Cathederal in England until William
I moved this hierarchy to Canterbury under a Norman Bishop. Huntington
Manor would have played an important part in food production
for the city and guarded the northern approaches to the city wall
In the Domesday book of 1086 Huntington is referred to
as Huntingdune [HVNTINGDVNE] but by 1579 Christopher Saxton has
it spelled Huntington as does John Speed in
1610 who also distinguished Huntingdonshire as Huntingdonia. By
Thomas Moule's time the spelling of Huntington in Yorkshire had retained
its spelling of Huntington.
In the DB Huntingdune near York consisted of two carucates
and six bovates [taxable] and land for two ploughs which was held
by Frithgestr & Arngrimr, [both Danish names] from King William
Munday's plays The Death of Robert Earle of Huntington & The Downfall of Robert Earle of Huntington have striking correlations with persons in history. These names are all associated with French-Norman family names in the North of England, indeed if Robin is a contraction of Robert then this is a particularly Norman name:
*Sir Hugh Lacy [Hugh Lacy
Lord of the manor of Midgley] The de Lacis were granted large estates in Yorkshire.
Place names also have actual places in the North [line numbers refer to The Downfall of Robert Earle of Huntington by Munday]:
Sowtham [Southowram near Halifax], line 284
Whether Munday was using unknown ballads or other sources as well
as the Geste is not known but there is certainly a good sprinkling
of recognisable Yorkshire names along with his 'grene wode' mentioned
many times. The Geste, which I can show was the original Robin Hood
ballad, never mentions 'Shirewode' or even 'Sherwood'. This was a
later addition to the Robin Hood ballads, again 'fact' has been constructed
upon fallacy, the Geste author did not only have the forest of Sherwood in
mind particularly when he penned his cryptic political song.
# De Ballilleul s= Balliol [Baliol] from Picardy10
De Bruce = Bruis/Brus [Fr.]11
Fraser = Freseliene, from Anjou11.
Grant = Fr. nickname Le Grande11.
Hay = from the Cotentin11.
FitzAlan = Picardy10 took the name Stewart = hereditary office of the steward of Scotland. The first steward of Scotlandwas Walter FitzAlan who was descended from a long line of Breton nobles who were hereditary stewards of Dol in Brittany11. It was imperative of course that the steward who was responsible for the king's household could be absolutely trusted, they had the responsibility for over-seeing the prepararation of food to ensure it was not poisoned. The name underwent a spelling modification in the form of 'Stuart' which enabled a more correct French pronunciation for the allies of Scotland.
1. Munday, Anthony. The Downfall of Robert Earle of Huntington.[pdf]
2. Look About You, 1600.
3. Speed, John. The Counties of Britain, 1610.
4. Hallam, Elizabeth [Gen.Ed.] The Plantagenet Encyclopaedia, Tiger Books, London, 1996.
5. Moule, Thomas. The County Maps of Old England, 1830.
6. Wildey,George. Map of the British Isles, 1715.
9. Domesday Book for Yorkshire.
10. Fry, Plantagenet, Somerset. Kings & Queens, Dorling Kindersley, 1990.
11. Andrews, Allen. Kings & Queens of England & Scotland, Marshall Cavendish, 1976.
Copyright © Tim Midgley 2000 internal links revised July 2023.