Little John: Facts and Information About the Legendary Robin Hood Outlaw

Here are some facts about Little John.

  • Little John is a legendary outlaw, and friend of Robin Hood.

  • He was Robin Hood’s second-in-command, and a member of his Merry Men.
  • In most stories, Little John is very tall and fights with a quarterstaff. The name ‘Little’ is a joke.
  • Sometimes, in some of the Robin hood tales, Little John’s name used to be John Little.
  • Little John appears in some of the earliest versions of the Robin Hood stories. He is mentioned by both Andrew of Wyntoun and Walter Bower, writing in the 15th century.
  • In a 17th century Robin hood ballad Robin Hood and Little John fight with quarterstaves on a bridge, and this is now the most popular version to explain how the two outlaws meet.
  • Some people believe that Little John is buried in St Michael’s Church graveyard in Hathersage, Derbyshire. Others say that he is buried at Thorpe Salvin in Cheshire.
  • Some Irish legends suggest that Little John once visited Dublin in the 1100s after Robin Hood’s death.
  • Clive Mantle played the character of Little John in the Robin of Sherwood TV series.
  • In the Dick King-Smith book Dragon Boy, it is implied that the main character, John Little, will grow up to be Little John.
  • Some historians have suggested that the real Little John was a man called Reynolde Greenleaf from Beverley in Yorkshire.
  • Other historians think he was originally called John Nailer or John Naylor.
  • Local traditions suggest that Little John’s Cottage once stood on Peafield Lane, between Edwinstowe and Mansfield Woodhouse.
  • In the Robin Hood stories Little John is incredibly strong, brave and an excellent archer.
  • In the 1973 Disney animation Robin Hood, Little John is a bear, voiced by Phil Harris.
  • In Sherwood Forest there is a statue of Robin Hood fighting Little John on a bridge.

Sherwood Forest: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Sherwood Forest.

  • Sherwood Forest is famous for being the home of the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood. It is located in the county of Nottinghamshire, and covers just over 1,000 acres.
  • In the 10th century the forest was established as a Royal hunting ground. Only the King and other lucky and wealthy people, such as the Archbishop of York, were allowed to hunt there.

  • The King introduced strict laws against building in the forest, or removing wood. Anyone caught would be fined, put in jail or even killed if they were caught more than once.
  • It was once the largest of almost 100 Royal forests that covered England during medieval times. During the 13th century, about 30 percent of England was forest.
  • Nearby is the village of Edwinstowe, which is listed in the Domesday Book. According to legend, Robin Hood and Maid Marion were married in the village’s 12th century St. Mary’s Church.
  • Robin Hood supposedly hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham in the Major Oak. The huge tree is thought to be at least 800 years old and its trunk measures about 10 metres around.
  • In 2002, the Major Oak was voted Britain’s favourite tree. Metal chains were used to support its large branches during the early 20th century, and it is regularly inspected by tree surgeons.
Major Oak, Sherwood Forest
Major Oak, Sherwood Forest
  • Some areas of Sherwood Forest have become a nature reserve and an important centre for wildlife in recent years. Over 1,400 species of beetles and 200 types of spiders can be found in the forest.
  • The Sherwood Forest arts and crafts centre is in the middle of the forest. It features traditional arts and crafts such as glass making, soap making, jewellery, and wildlife photography.
  • The Robin Hood Festival takes place in Sherwood Forest every summer. It includes archery demonstrations, medieval style music and dancing, jousting and costumed historical characters.

Robin Hood: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Robin Hood.

  • Robin Hood was an outlaw who, according to legend, lived in Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham. He regularly fought against his enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • Robin is known for dressing in green, for being a skillful archer and for robbing the rich to give to the poor. His band of Merry Men included Friar Tuck, Little John and Will Scarlet.

  • He was probably based on a real person, although if that is so, nobody knows for sure who he was. He may have been a Yorkshireman called Robin of Loxley.
  • Robin Hood has been portrayed in over 100 films and many books. He has been played by Errol Flynn, Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, and portrayed as a fox in the Disney cartoon version.
  • Robin is usually said to have lived in the 11th or 12th centuries, although the earliest reference to him in a song was during the 14th century. He is described as a yeoman, or knight.
  • Robin is said to have hidden from his enemies in the Major Oak tree in Sherwood Forest. The huge tree measures about 30 metres around and is almost 1,000 years old.
  • During the 15th century, Robin Hood became associated with May Day celebrations in England. He also supposedly met Maid Marian at one of these fairs.
  • In some versions of the Robin Hood legend, Richard the Lionheart is Robin’s friend; in others he is his enemy. Richard was unpopular with most of the people at the time. In some of the Robin hood stories, King John was Robin’s enemy.
  • If Robin was a real person, there is a grave at Kirklees Priory in Yorkshire said to be his. Legend says that when he knew he was dying, Robin fired an arrow, asking to be buried where it landed.
  • Nottinghamshire is promoted as ‘Robin Hood County’, and there are hundreds of places named after the outlaw.