Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ralph Thoresby

On August 16, 1658, the antiquary Ralph Thoresby was born.  Like Scott, Thoresby was a diarist.  Thoresby started his diary earlier in life than Scott did, beginning in 1677, when he was about 19.  Thoresby focused his attention on his native Leeds.

One point of connection with Walter Scott involves the legend of Robin Hood.  Scott included Robin Hood as Lockesley , and others of Hood's band: Friar Tuck, Allen-a-dale, and Little John in his novel “Ivanhoe”.  There is even a Thoresby; ‘…Broad Thoresby, and the Three Spears of Spyinghow, come to me instantly;…’

A likely candidate for the historical Robin Hood is Robert Hode, the Earl of Huntington.  Thoresby is quoted as a source for this intelligence, as in the following:

‘According to The Annotated Edition of the English Poets - Early ballads (London, 1856, p.70):
"His death is stated by Ritson to have taken place on the 18th of November, 1247, about the eighty-seventh year of his age; but according to the following inscription found among the papers of the Dean of York, and quoted from the Appendix to Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis, by Mr. Gutch... the death occurred a month later. In this inscription, which bears evidence of high antiquity, Robin Hood is described as Earl of Huntington - his claim to which title has been as hotly contested as any disputed peerage upon record. 

Hear undernead dis laitl stean
Lais Robert Earl of Huntingtun
Near arcir der as hie sa geud
An pipl kauld im Robin Heud
Sic utlaws as hi an is men
Vil England nivr si agen.
          Obiit 24 Kal Dekembris 1247"

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