William Wallace. and His Merry Men; Was Scotland's Hero the Inspiration for Robin Hood?

Daily Mail (London), January 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

William Wallace. and His Merry Men; Was Scotland's Hero the Inspiration for Robin Hood?


Byline: Jim McBeth, Tim Bugler

AS Scotland's greatest hero, William Wallace has many claims to fame - patriot, warrior and martyr.

But a new layer has been added to the legend - he may also have been Robin Hood.

We will never know what the gigantic, defiantly Scottish military leader would make of being the inspiration for an archetypal Englishman.

But, according to historical novelist Jack Whyte, you cannot ignore the connection between Wallace and the leader of the Merry Men who thwarted the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Mr Whyte believes the Hood legend grew out of the life of the victor of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

He was researching his latest book, The Forest Laird, when he began to identify parallels between the Scot and the Englishman. He claims the big clue is to be found in the Lubeck Letter, which Wallace sent to the German city in 1297 - a month after his victory at Stirling Bridge.

The letter was an attempt to persuade European traders that Scotland was open for business in spite of a little local difficulty with the English. It holds the only example of Wallace's seal - including a longbow.

Mr Whyte said: 'The seal shows Wallace's personal emblem was a longbow.

'And when you dig into the research, it shows he worked for his uncle, Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie, Renfrewshire, and that he was a woodsman. He was accused of poaching and was outlawed, so he spent time hiding in Selkirk Forest.

Mr Whyte also turned up other links. …

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