Echoes of my Neighbourhood: Welcome to the Greenwood

This post is for Jacqueline’s Echoes of my Neighbourhood. This week I’m sharing pictures from one of my favourite places – the home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest.

Major Oak

The Major Oak

Growing up in Nottinghamshire, Sherwood was a place we visited regularly, on both school trips and family days out. Tales of Robin Hood were instrumental in developing my love of the medieval period, something that I later studied at university. On this occasion, however, I don’t plan to merely share pictures of the forest (although I do plan to do so at some point). Last weekend was the yearly ‘Sherwood Through the Ages’ event, a gathering of reenactment troops depicting life from various points in the history of the forest. On the day we visited the groups were all from times during the last 1000 years. Their camps were set up all along the Major Oak path.

5 ye olde medieval shoppe

Ye olde medieval shoppe

First were the many medieval groups, all focussing on different centuries. These included King John and his Knights from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a group of the Knights of St John, the Bowden Retinue and also a group from during the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century.

Each reenactor played their part with great energy and enthusiasm, whether they were royalty, knight, peasant or even one of the dreadfully diseased lepers, whose jangling bells informed people of their presence.

Next we encountered Scots from the seventeenth century Jacobite Rebellion and some highwaymen of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, looking for travellers on the Great North Road as it passed through the heart of Sherwood.

At the end of the trail were a final two more recent groups – one from World War One and a second from the Falklands War of the 1980s.

The camps and the characters within them were not the only attractions of the day. During the afternoon, in a clearing by the Major Oak, several groups put on displays. These were quite hard to photograph as the participants were moving around the area so quickly, but I did my best. 🙂 First we watched a duel between two of the Jacobite soldiers – a ‘gentleman’s disagreement’ as it was called.

Next was a tournament hosted by King John. Even one of the lepers joined in, hoping the be granted the healing touch of the monarch.

The tournament was won by a mysterious knight in green – yes, Robin Hood also made an appearance! After the tournament the Jacobites returned to the arena where they battled with their enemies, the Scottish supporters of English rule.

To finish off I thought I’d share one of my favourte shots of the day. Whilst most of the reenactors tried to stay in character (and period) as much as possible, a few anachronisms could be found. I doubt medieval Arabian knights would have eaten ice creams!

49 Ananchronistic Arabian Knights

I hope you all enjoyed the post. If you’d like to know mkre about and its history, check t Millie Thom’s post, here.

Unfortunately I’m unlikely to be back on the blog for a little while as I’m off on holiday tomorrow and we’ve been warned that the internet is unreliable where we’re staying.

I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back!

30 thoughts on “Echoes of my Neighbourhood: Welcome to the Greenwood

    • Thank you, Sabina. 🙂 It was a wonderful day out. The tree in the first photo is the Major Oak and is believed to be 800-1000 years old. Legend says that it was the tree Robin Hood would hide inside to escape from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men – though it would have actually only been a sapling when he was around! There have been supports for the branches since Victorian times as the weight of them is too much for the tree to support on its own.

      Sorry for my delay in replying. I’ve been away on holiday for the past week and I was determined not to spend all of my time away on the blog!

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  1. Last weekend the Society for Creative Anachronism held an annual camp in southern California, in the US. I was honored to make a couple Medieval outfits for some friends who take part. I know the SCA is worldwide; was last weekend the occasion of a worldwide event?

    10 years ago, I took a tour bus ride from London to Edinburgh. The guide pointed out Sherwood Forest as we approached, and said that during Robin Hood’s time, the forest actually stretched from horizon to horizon — far vaster and denser than nowadays. It was difficult to imagine.

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    • I’ve never heard of the SCA, though it sounds like an interesting organisation. We have a lot of re-enactment troops around the UK and you can find an event going on somewhere most weekends. Sherwood Through the Ages fell on a bank holiday weekend over here, which is always a popular time for the bigger events.

      Medieval maps show Sherwood covering about 100,000 acres (compared to about 37 acres now), though it wouldn’t have just been the woodland that we think of as being ‘forest’ now. ‘Forest’ in medieval times was a legal term that meant it was subject to special laws designed to protect the resources (timber and deer – known as ‘Vert and Venison’) within its bounds. It would also have been areas of heath and grassland. 🙂

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    • Thanks, PJ. 🙂 Sherwood is a wonderful place that I always love to visit, even when there isn’t a re-enactment on!.

      Sorry my reply took so long – I’ve been down in Cornwall on holiday for the last week and was determined not to spend all my time there on the blog. I scribbled out an idea for your last week’s prompt on the way home but I’m not sure I’ll have time to edit it down to the word limit before the next one comes out. Unfortunately, I’m back to work tomorrow!

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      • I read where you would be on holiday and I’m glad you enjoyed it! And, how exciting to get to have a meal with Ali! If you are able to submit your story, then I look forward to reading it! If not, then I hope you will be able to participate next week.

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  2. Pingback: Sherwood Through the Ages | Millie Thom

  3. I loved “Sherwood Through the Ages” – well done for all who participated. your photos covered the events so that anyone wanting to attend at a future time will have an idea of what to expect. when I was a child, there was a Robin Hood Series on television and we all used to play-act scenes from Sherwood Forest. It must have been wonderful for a young imagination to actually live where the history took place.

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    • It’s a beautiful place and very inspiring. 🙂 I remember reading notices on a few challenge posts the other week that pingbacks weren’t working – this post probably went up around that time. Thanks for visiting, Jacqueline. 🙂

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  4. Great post. We do have Ren Faires here, but nothing that comprehensive. Though in early June we have the Scottish Highland Festival and Games down near Salt Lake, They’ve been going on for 30+ years. There’s a large Scottish presence here. They have the kirkin’ o’ the ‘ tartan in a local church, and they have an opening and closing tattoo. The athletes that compete come from all over the world. It’s pretty cool.

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    • Thank you. 🙂 Re-enactment has become increasingly popular over the last few decades in the UK. Most weekends you can find one going on somewhere. Most focus on a single period. This event was particularly impressive because of the range of time covered by the different troops. The Scottish Highland Festival sounds great – exactly the type of event I like to visit. 🙂

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      • If you ever make it to the states, I can sure suggest visiting “Plimoth Plantation” in Massachusetts. It’s the recreation of Plymouth where the pilgrims landed. It’s staffed year round (the entire village) including children in the summer months. It includes Native American history as well. Spent two days there. 😀

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  5. Pingback: Creek side and pit stop at Al Ghurair Mall…Echoes of my neighbourhood # 24 | a cooking pot and twistedtales

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