Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
The way in which Robin and his band of Merry Men use the forest, a royal preserve, enrages the sheriff. If every peasant in England felt entitled to kill the preserve’s deer for food, their numbers would surely dwindle. The road cutting through the center of the forest is used by business travelers, government messengers, religious pilgrims, and ordinary people. Sometimes these travelers are robbed by outlaws, who represent a threat to civil order and commerce, much as train robbers did in the Old West. Land rights and issues of social justice emerge in Sherwood Forest in complex form.
Because so many changes have taken place over the centuries, it is hard to tell how much the Sherwood Forest of the ballads and folktales departs from historical reality.
*Nottingham. Midsize market town and seat of local government in northern England, with Nottingham Castle close by. Public proclamations were read in the town square; archery and other contests were held either there or in the castle’s courtyard or tower. Executions and the mustering of men to track down the outlaws also took place at Nottingham. To Robin Hood and his band, the town meant danger and oppression, yet it provided a marvelous public stage for tricking the sheriff. It was their best locale for embarrassing and taunting corrupt officials and building support for their own efforts and for the absent King Richard.