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.

Nottingham: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Nottingham.

  • Nottingham is a city in the county of Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands area of the UK. At the time of writing, it is the UK’s 9th largest city, with a population of about 730,000.
  • The city’s most famous resident was the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood, who was probably a real person. Many streets, buildings and institutions are named after Robin, and there are several Robin Hood festivals and events.

  • In nearby Sherwood Forest is the Major Oak tree. With a girth of 10 metres, it is England’s largest oak tree and it is said that Robin Hood hid in the tree.
  • Nottingham is the birthplace of two of the UK’s most well known brands, Raleigh bicycles, and Boots the chemist. A local grocer also invented HP Sauce in 1895, named for the Houses of Parliament.
  • An historic Nottingham neighbourhood is the Lace Market, once a major centre for lace making. The area is home to shops and restaurants as well as a 22 seat cinema, one of the world’s smallest.
  • Nottingham has some of England’s oldest pubs, including the Trip to Jerusalem, dating from 1189. In the bar is a model ship, and supposedly anyone who cleans it will die.
  • Nottingham’s famous Goose Fair dates back to the 13th century and is one of the UK’s oldest and largest fairs. Over a million people enjoy the rides, food and sideshows every October.
  • Nottingham Castle dates from the 17th century and was built on 40 metre high sandstone cliffs. The castle appeared on the logo of Players Cigarettes, once made in Nottingham.
  • The book and film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning were both set in Nottingham, and there are over 100 film versions of the Robin Hood story.
  • There are many caves under Nottingham, mostly man-made. One of the most famous is Mortimer’s Cave, under Nottingham Castle, said to be haunted by local nobleman Roger Mortimer.