Jolly Pinder of Wakefield, The [Child 124]

DESCRIPTION: "Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John" trespass on the fields guarded by the Jolly Pinder. The Pinder challenges them; they fight. The Pinder holds off all three. Robin offers the Pinder a place in his band. The Pinder agrees to come once his present job is done
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1663 (garland; there is a Stationer's Register entry for "Robin Hood and the Pinder of Wakefield" from 1558)
KEYWORDS: Robinhood fight
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Child 124, "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" (2 texts)
Bronson 124, "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" (2 versions)
Leach, pp. 365-366, "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" (1 text)
BBI, RZN16, "In Wakefield there lives a jolly pinder"
ADDITIONAL: Stephen Knight, editor (with a manuscript description by Hilton Kelliher), _Robin Hood: The Forresters Manuscript_ (British Library Additional MS 71158), D. S. Brewer, 1998, pp. 63-67, "Robin Hood and the Pinder of Wakefield 1"; pp. 68-70, "Robin Hood and the Pinder of Wakefield 2" (2 texts, the first being much longer than the garland text and probably edited; the second is close to the garlands)
R. B. Dobson and J. Taylor, _Rymes of Robyn Hood: An Introduction to the English Outlaw_, University of Pittsburg Press, 1976, pp. 147-149, "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield"( 2 texts, from a broadside and the Percy folio)
Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren, editors, _Robin Hood and Other Oudlaw Tales_, TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages), Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000, pp. 469-475, "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield" (1 text, conflated from the Garland and Percy versions)

Roud #3981
Bodleian, Wood 402(42), "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield," F. Coles (London), 1658-1664; also Douce Ballads 3(118a), "Robin Hood and the jolly pinder of Wakefield"; Wood 401(61), "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield: with Robin Hood, Scarlet, and Iohn"
NOTES: A pinder was an official charged with preventing trespassing and gathering strayed/lost/stolen livestock. This was a particularly significant task in towns which had open rather than enclosed fields. The pinder would also be responsible for caring for the livestock while ownership was determined, so the job could become fairly complicated.
For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117].
Although Child has only one ballad of the Pinder, the content of the Forresters manuscript implies that there were two (Knight, p. 62). The two ballads have the same plot, but the texts are of dramatically different lengths; the Forresters text preserves both, with Child's version corresponding to the shorter. The two Forresters texts are so close in plot that they must derive from the same material, but it is clear that there was substantial rewriting involved; the longer Forresters text is probably a rewrite, almost from scratch, of the shorter.
There is also a play, "George-a-Greene the Pinner of Wakefield," about this incident; it was published in 1599, according to Kunitz/Haycraft, p. 236. Knight, p. 62, seems convinced that it was written by Robert Greene (1558-1592), but Kunitz/Haycraft, p. 236, note that several plays were falsely printed under Green's name and allow only a possibility that this is one of his works. Child, who mentions the play in his headnotes, does not even refer to an author. NewCentury, p. 514, says, "ascribed to Green but without much evidence [is] George-a-Greene, the Pinner of Wakefield." Benet does not mention the "Pinner" at all in its entry on Greene.
To be sure, it hardly matters who wrote it; the key point is that the play -- and hence, presumably, this story -- was in existence before 1600 -- as was some ballad on the subject, as shown by the Stationer's Register entry, although we do not know whether it is this or another.
It is interesting to observe that the longer Forresters text of the "Pinder" calls the pinder "George a Green," as in the play (Knight, p. 63).
There actually was a George Green who was a Wakefield Pindar, according to Weinreb/Hibbert, p. 599. Having moved to London, he built in 1517 a building at 328 Gray's Inn Road. This came to be called the "Pindar of Wakefield," and in the time of Weinreb/Hibbert, it hosted "a regular 'Old Time Music-Hall'."
Fully half the Robin Hood ballads in the Child collection (numbers (121 -- the earliest and most basic example of the type), 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131, 132, (133), (134), (135), (136), (137), (150)) share all or part of the theme of a stranger meeting and defeating Robin, and being invited to join his band. Most of these are late, but it makes one wonder if Robin ever won a battle.
The connection of Robin Hood and a Pinder of Wakefield is proved to be early by the Stationer's Register entry, but we cannot prove that that entry refers to this song.
Bronson notes that his two tunes for this song are both associated with Rimbault, whose handling of other Robin Hood melodies was, at best, cavalier.
There are other mysteries associated with the piece, which survives only in very defective forms. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #816, p. 304, notes a stanza which does not seem to appear in the canonical texts:
The hart he loves the high wood,
The hare she loves the hill;
The knight he loves his bright sword,
The lady loves her will. - RBW
Opie-Oxford2 206, "The hart he loves the high wood" (1 text) dates the song quoted above in Baring-Gould-Mother Goose to "a late-fifteenth century commonplace book from Broome Hall, Norfolk." - BS
Bibliography Last updated in version 2.6
File: C124

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