Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires [Child 140]

DESCRIPTION: Robin learns from (a women/their mother) that three men are to be hanged for deer-killing. He meets a (palmer/beggar) who confirms this. Robin insists on trading clothes, goes disguised to Nottingham, blows his horn for his men, and rescues the three.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1750 (Percy Folio)
KEYWORDS: Robinhood execution disguise rescue
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,South,West),Scotland) US(NE,SE)
REFERENCES (22 citations):
Child 140, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (4 texts)
Bronson 140, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (7 versions+2 in addenda) {Bronson's #3}
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 140, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (3 versions: #3, #5.1, #7)
Hales/Furnival-BishopPercysFolioManuscript, volume I, pp. 13-18, "Robin Hood, A Beggar, & the Three Squires" (1 text, with a text of "Robin Hood and the Beggar"=Robin Hood and the Beggar (I) [Child 133] in the notes)
Ritson-RobinHood, pp. 210-214, "Robin Hood Rescuing the Widow's Three Songs from the Sheriff When Going to be Executed" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan2 243 (plus 1 verse on p. 547), "Robin Hood and the Squires" (2 texts)
OShaughnessy-YellowbellyBalladsPart2 42, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #32, "Robin Hood and the Three Squires" (1 text, 1 tune)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 2420-242, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 text)
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 69-72, "Bold Robin Hood Rescuing the Three Squires" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland3, pp. 107-116, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (3 texts, with A1 and A2 being variant versions from the same informant, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2, with some small variants}
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 140, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 text with variants from several performances by the same informant)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 33, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 341, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 122, "Robin Hood and the Widow's Three Sons" (1 text)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 69, "Robin Hood and the Sheriff" (1 text)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 47, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (2 texts, 2 tunes, the second perhaps being mixed with Child 143)
Chase-AmericanFolkTalesAndSongs, pp. 124-126, "Bold Robin Hood" (1 text, 1 tune, clearly this piece although it has many floating lyrics, e.g. from "The House Carpenter") {Bronson's #4}
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 87-90, "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren, editors, _Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales_, TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages), Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000, pp. 476-485, "Robin Hood Rescues Three Young Men" (1 text,based on one of the garlands)
MANUSCRIPT: {MSPercyFolio}, The Percy Folio, London, British Library MS. Additional 27879, page 5

Roud #71
Robin Hood and the Old Maid
Robin Hood and the Old Woman
NOTES [338 words]: For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117].
Knight/Ohlgren, p. 513, notes the interesting fact that this is the only ballad incident to appear in the plays of Anthony Munday, who seems to have distorted the Robin Hood legend into a very different (and less attractive) direction after the appearance of his plays in 1598-1599. Knight/Ohlgren think that Munday borrowed the story. I am not sure I agree. The ballad feels like a seventeenth, or even eighteenth, century composition, by a literary hack who is trying to imitate true ballad style (and not succeeding very well). I would not be surprised if the poem takes the incident from Munday rather than the reverse.
And yet, it is Child's opinion that "Robin Hood Rescuing Will Stutly" [Child 141] is an "imitation" of this piece, which means it must predate the 1663 garland which contains "Will Stutly." Also, there are several garland prints of this, all undated, but this strongly hints at a date before 1675. Possibly well before.
Even so, it's odd that this relatively weak piece is one of the few Robin Hood ballads to survive into the twentieth century, and is one of the popular, if not the most popular, in the canon.
The relevant portion of Munday's "The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington" is scene 7, starting on p. 329 in Knight/Ohlgren; the scene begins with line 910, and in the Knight/Ohlgren text opens
Master Frier, be briefe, delay no time.
Scarlet and Scathlock, never hope for life.
Here is the place of execution,
And you must answere lawe for what is done.
Note the curious fact that Munday has turned Scarlet and Scathelock (the forerunner of Will Scarlet; we meet Scathelock in the "Gest of Robyn Hode") into two separate people!
Both "Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires" [Child 140] and "Robin Hood Rescuing Will Stutly" [Child 141] open with variants on "Robin Hood in [the] greenwood stood," but this line is very much older; see the (shadow) entry for "Robin Hood in Greenwood Stood." - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
File: C140

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