of Robin Hood (4)
Robin Hood's Well (Map
ref SE51SW 518120) is situated six miles north of Doncaster, on the eastern side of the
Great North Road. A traveller in 1634 left this charming description, "We tasted a
cup at Robin Hood's Well; and then were in his rocky chair of ceremony dignified with
order of knighthood and sworn to observe his laws". John Evelyn in Sylvia
wrote that, "We all alighted at the highway to drink at the crystal spring, which
they call Robin Hood's Well, neere it is a stone chair and an iron ladle to drink out of,
chained to the seat". The stream, known as the Skell, from which the villages of
Skelbrooke and Skellow take their names, bubbled up into the well and flowed beneath the
old Roman road. Alas, due to modern alterations, the stream has been diverted and the well
is dry. Its rustic dome designed by Vanbrugh can easily be seen from the road.
Robin Hood's Stone (Map ref SE51SW 510130) is mentioned in a charter of Monk
Bretton Priory of 1422, and was situated somewhere in Sleep Hill fields, a short distance
from Robin Hood's Well.
Robin Hood's Stride
Little John's Well (Map ref SE41 SE 499 1 08) is a short distance from
Skelbrooke and is also called little John's Cave. Situated by the A638, to the west of
Barnsdale, it was once engraved with the outlaws name but is now derelict.
Churches at Skelbrooke (Map ref SE51SW 511121), Burghwallis (Map ref SE51SW
538121) and Campsall (Map ref SE51SW 544141). These churches are all very ancient;
Burghwallis has an Anglo-Saxon nave and chancel, but it is Campsall that is reputed to be
the place where Robin and Marian were married. Near the end of the Geste Robin begs
the king to allow him to return to the north to pray at the chapel of St. Mary Magdalen in
Bernysdale. The Cluniac priory of Monk Bretton, near Robin Hood's Well, is dedicated to
that saint, as too was Campsall and one of the chantry chapels in Wakefield. The Magdalen
cult was strongly involved with the legends of the Holy Grail, the Merovingian royal
family in France, Knights Templar and the medieval Cathar heresy, although it is not
certain whether any of these influences had found their way into the English Church.
Robin Hood's Stone, Keighley (Map ref sheet 96SE 045465) is to be found 950
feet above sea level in Holden Park, 4 miles south east of Skipton. Holden Park was an
ancient deer forest through which the Airedale trunk road is cut. It is mentioned by
Haliwell Sutcliffe in his book By Moor and Fell in West Yorkshire in which he also tells
of three wells near Ponden Kirk. The wells are now buried under shale but bore the names
Robin Hood, Little John and Will Scarlet, though no-one knows why this is so.