Ballad of Alan a Dale

Alan a Dale'Come listen to me, you gallants so free,
All who love mirth for to hear,
And I will tell you of a bold outlaw,
Who lived in Nottinghamshire.
 
As Robin stood in the green forest,
Under the greenwood tree,
He became aware of a bold young man,
As fine as fine might be.
 
The youngster was clothed all in red, in scarlet fine and gay;
And he did frisk it o'er the plain, and chanted a round-de-lay.
 
But next morning as Robin stood amongst the leaves so gay,
He did spy the same young man, come drooping along the way.
 
The scarlet he wore the day before, it was clean cast away;
And at every step he fetched a sigh: 'Alack and ah well a day!'
 
Then stepped forth brave Little John, and Much the miller's son,
Which made the young man bend his bow when he saw them come.
 
'Stand off! Stand off!' the young man said, 'What is your will with me?'
'You must come before our master straight, under yon greenwood tree.'
 
And when he stood before Robin there, Robin asked him courteously,
'Hast you any money to spare for my merry men and me?'
 
'I have no money,' the young man said, 'but five shillings and a ring,
That I have kept these seven long years, saved for the day of my wedding.'
 
'Yesterday I should have married a maid, but from me she has been taken,
And chosen to be a knight's delight, whereby my poor heart is broken.'
 
'What is your name?' asked Robin Hood, 'Come tell me without any fail.'
'By the faith of my body,' said the young man, 'my name is Alan a Dale.'
 
'What will you give?' asked Robin Hood, 'in ready gold or due,
To help you find your true love again, and deliver her unto you.'
 
'I have no money,' said the young man, 'no ready gold or fee,
But I will swear upon a book, your true servant I will be.'
 
'How many miles is it to your true love? Come tell me without any guile.'
'By the faith of my body,' said the young man, 'It is but five small miles.'
 
Then Robin hasted over the plain with neither stint nor dawdling,
Until he came unto the church where Alan should keep his wedding.
 
'Why are you here?' the Bishop asked, 'I prithee now tell unto me.'
'I am a bold harper,' said Robin Hood, 'and the best in the north country.'
 
'O welcome, welcome!' the bishop said, 'that music best pleaseth me.'
'You will have no music,' said Robin Hood, 'till the bride and groom do I see.'
 
With that, in came a wealthy knight who was both grave and old,
And after him a finikin lass did shine like glistening gold.
 
'This is no fit match,' said Robin Hood, 'that you appear to make here,
For since we are come into the church, the bride shall choose her own dear.'
 
Then Robin Hood put his horn to mouth and blew blasts two or three;
When four and twenty bold bowmen came leaping o'er the lee.
 
And when they came into the churchyard marching all in a row,
The first man in was Alan a Dale to give bold Robin his bow.
 
In Church'This is your true love,' said Robin Hood
'Young Alan; as I hear say,
You shall be married at this time,
Before we depart away.'
 
'That shall not be,' the bishop said,
'For your word will not stand;
They shall be asked three times in this church,
As is the law of our land.'
 
Robin Hood pulled off the bishop's coat,
And put it upon Little John;
'By the faith of my body,' Robin said.
'This cloth doth make you a man.'
 
When Little John went into the choir,
The people began to laugh:
He asked them seven times in the church,
Lest three times should not be enough.
 
'Who gives me this maid?' asked Little John. Said Robin Hood: 'That do I!
And he that takes her from Alan a Dale full dearly he shall her buy.'
 
And having thus ended this merry wedding, the bride she looked like a queen;
So they returned to the merry greenwood, amongst the leaves so green.'

Sherwood Times

A Town Divided by Two Boroughs

Short Hill

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham may have one sheriff and one prison but it has two boroughs, two courts, two markets and two traditions. A line drawn from York Gate along Bridlesmith Gate down Short Hill across the meadows to the River Trent divides Nottingham into two boroughs - English and French.

In the English borough Saxon tradition holds the youngest son inherits his father's estate whilst in the French the eldest son inherits. The English pray in St. Mary's church, the French in St. Peter and St. Nicholas. The English allow free passage along the ancient Roman highway along Stony Street whilst the French surround themselves with a ditch and wall defended by a castle.

If blood is drawn in a quarrel the offender pays the King 6s 4d in the English court but 18s in the French court. Now there is an old saying:

Norman's saw on English yoke;
On English neck a Norman yoke;
Norman spoon in English dish;
And England ruled as Normans' wish;
Blithe world to English never will be more
Till England's rid of all the four.

Well better accept that the Normans have been here for 140 years and are obviously here to stay. Best take London as an example where the people elect their own mayor and aldermen and administer their own courts. And does London prosper? Houses built for barons, bishops and abbots have paved courtyards, huge halls and spacious gardens. Houses are combined as shops with rear extensions and cesspits. The town boasts over 100 churches and many bustling markets. Suburbs are springing up outside its walls; a public cookhouse has been opened by the Thames serving fish and game dishes. To lessen the fouling of the streets a public riverside lavatory is in operation and a weekly horse sale that dwarf's that of Nottingham takes place outside the hospital and priory of St. Bartholomew's.

The only way for Nottingham to emulate London is for its two boroughs to unite as one with one court and one market.

 
Robin's Story
Little John's Story
Brother Tuck's Story
Ballad of Alan a Dale
Sherwood Forest
Sir Richard at the Lee
Robin Hood and the Potter
Sheriff Fooled
Debt Repaid Thrice
Sir Guy of Gisborne
Little John Rescued
Silver Arrow Contest
Tales of Robin Hood

Robin and Little John

 
Robin Shoots the Sheriff
Robin and Marian
King Richard Meets Robin
 
Marian Fitzwater
( reporter for the
Sherwood Times)
Interviews:
Robin Hood - good samaritan?
Little John - gentle giant?
Brother Tuck - a hermit monk
Alan a Dale - a minstrel
 
Sherwood Times