The siege of Nottingham ended, so what’s a king to do? Relax! Go hunting in Sherwood Forest.
“On the twenty-ninth day of March, Richard, king of England, went to Clipston and the forests of Sherwood, which he had never seen before, and they pleased him greatly; after which, on the same day, he returned to Nottingham.”
–from The Annals of Roger de Hoveden
Stretching north from Nottingham to Yorkshire, 12th century Sherwood Forest covered about 100,000 acres. The visitor today must drive about 20 miles north of Nottingham to see Sherwood’s 1,000+ acres. It is extremely lovely and serene, well worth the visit.
Sherwood Forest is frequently associated with Robin Hood. Did King Richard meet Robin there? Did King John have the Sheriff of Nottingham chasing Robin and his band of Merry Men through the greenwood? No – Robin is just a character in legends, though most agree Robin may have been based on a real man or men. But the fictional tales of Robin continue to delight us. Not all stories take place in Sherwood. I use Sherwood and Nottingham in my novel, For King and Country, but many place Robin in Barnsdale Forest in Yorkshire during the reign of Edward II in the 14th century.
Clipston (i.e., Clipstone) is the home of what we now call King John’s Palace, a site that first appears in records during the reign of Richard’s father, King Henry II. Twenty pounds was spent on work there in 1164, possibly on the building of a hunting lodge. In the 1170s, Henry spent £500 on the site, a huge sum. By the mid-14th century, the large complex was referred to as the King’s Houses and dozens of buildings occupied over 7 acres of land.
King Richard visited Clipstone twice – the day after the siege ended (March 29), and again on April 3 when he met with the Scottish king William the Lion.
Sherwood Forest photos by me, from a visit in 2010. CC BY-SA.
King John’s Palace ruins by JPWarchaeology – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16741588
Wright, J. A Palace for Our Kings. Triskele Publishing, 2016.