Robin Hood and his Crew of Souldiers

This political comedy was acted at Nottingham to celebrate the crowning of King Charles II at Westminster abbey on 23 April 1661. Nottingham was firmly established as the main home of Robin Hood and the authorities were keen to display their loyalty. The opportunity to convert the outlaw hero into a supporter of the new king was not to be missed. Robin is presented as a military commander while Little John, William and Scadlocke are ‘Souldiers’. In the play, the rebellious outlaws are to be pardoned, provided they submit to His Majesties laws. If not, they are to ‘expect the miseries of a sudden destruction’. After much fanfare Robin and his crew submit to the king and all ends happily. This play by an anonymous author, does not display any familiarity with the Robin Hood legend, however it gives us an interesting demonstration of the way in which the outlaw hero was transformed into a supporter of the king.(1)

1. In ‘Robin Whood Revived, A Cavalier Song’ (printed in Gutch, II 404-7), the young Charles II is identified with Robin.

Source: Robin Hood and his Crew of Souldiers. A COMEDY. Acted at Nottingham on the day of His sacred Majesties Corronation. Vivat Rex. The Actors names: Robin Hood, Commander; Little JohnWillian Scadlocke, Souldiers; Messenger from the Shieriffe.
London, Printed for James Davis, 1661. (Unpaginated quarto pamphlet in the British Museum, E. 1088, 6.) 

Other Editions: Rymes of Robyn Hood, Dobson and Taylor, pp. 237-242.