Potted History of Robin Hoods Village

Man on knees kissing ladies hand - the History of Robin Hoods VillageEdwinstowe is an ancient rural village and civil parish in the heart of Sherwood Forest, north Nottinghamshire. It derives from the final resting place or “stowe” of King Edwin of Northumbria who was killed at the Battle of Hatfield in 633 AD. Legend has it that later to prevent his body falling into enemy hands, King Edwin’s friends buried him secretly in a clearing in the forest and they built a small wooden chapel on the spot.  

In 1066 Edwinstowe was royal land part of the Saxon king’s manor of nearby Mansfield. In the Domesday survey of 1086 the village is referred to as Edenstou. The Doomsday records indicate that Edwinstowe was situated within the roughly 20 miles long by 7 miles wide Royal Forest of Sherwood.

During King John’s reign in the 13th century the forest was the hunting grounds of Royalty and the rich. At the height of his power the king seized land and he gave it away as favours to the Dukes which then became the Ducal Estates. It is popularly believed that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married in Edwinstowe. There was certainly some sort of church in the village during the periods ascribed to Robin Hood although whether that was the current St Mary’s Church has never been proven.

In the 16th century a process of change started following the dissolution of the monasteries. The king no longer had a proprietary interest in the area and the days of the Royal Forest were over, the days of “The Dukeries” were beginning. As the 18th Century progressed Edwinstowe was no longer surrounded by natural forest more and more of the land was taken into the Rufford, Thoresby, Welbeck and Clipstone parks which surrounded the village

History of Robin Hoods Village in the 1900’s

In the 1920’s when the plans for Thoresby colliery were put into operation the character, personality and the appearance of the village changed radically. Thoresby colliery was the first all electric fully mechanised colliery and the first two shafts were 690m deep. The village developed an industrial rather than a purely agricultural air and it attracted many new families. 

During World War II the army occupied Rufford Abbey and the nearby forest housed one of the largest ammunition dumps in the U.K. The area was also used for tank training and for housing thousands of troops prior to D-Day. The facilities built for the troops were then used after the war for European displaced persons.

Today Edwinstowe is a vibrant and busy village with a variety of shops, restaurants and pubs. On the outskirts of the village, just past the church, is the Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre.

Just a 10 minute walk from the village is the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and National Nature Reserve, the legendary home of Robin Hood. Many of the oaks in Sherwood Forest have stood for over 5 centuries and the mighty Major Oak (Robin Hood’s tree) is estimated to be over 800 years old. The forest is a Special Area of Conservation and is teeming with life with over 200 different species of spider and 1500 species of beetle along with birds and beasts. It has already attained the status of an area of Special Scientific Interest and it is imminently to become a National Park

There are a number of attractions in the area including Sherwood Forest, Sherwood Pines, Rufford Abbey Country Park, ClumberPark and Thorseby Hall, and others. You can see more information about places of interest in the vicinity below.