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The Last Days and Death of Robin Hood in 1247

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Robin Hood's Grave

Image source: John P Coates | Licence

The Death of Robin Hood at Kirklees Priory

Robin Hood was born in AD 1160 in the village of Locksley or Loxley. Depending on the story, ballad or tale this village is either in Yorkshire (as in the real world) or Nottinghamshire. It is reported that he died in 1247. Much has been said and written through the ages about the legend of Robin hood, his exploits with other outlaws in the forests of Barnsdale, northern England, and his death at the hands of his cousin in the Kirklees Priory (now situated on private land) of which there is little real documented evidence.

Realising that he is dying, Robin Hood sets out to visit the prioress of Kirklees who was said to have had great healing skills. Will Scarlet, one of Robin Hood's trusted friends and a bodyguard, was against this so Robin continued on his way accompanied by another trusted friend and outlaw, Little John. During the journey to the priory they came across an old witch who put a curse on Robin. It is not clear why or if it was a curse at all.

When they arrived at the nunnery Little John was sent away by the prioress and Robin Hood was taken to the gatehouse to be bled, part of the usual treatment for many illnesses in the Mddle Ages. However, the prioress and her lover, the convent priest Red Roger of Doncaster, had no intention of letting Robin live as they were angry with him for failing to support corruption in the church.

When Robin realised that he was being slowly killed he summoned Little John to return to him by blowing a pre-arranged signal on his hunting horn. Little John went immediately to Robin's assistance but was too late to save him. The story goes that Little John helped Robin to the gatehouse window in the nunnery where he shot his last arrow after asking Little John to bury him where it fell.

Robin Hood's grave lies deep in the heart of ancient woodlands about 50 metres from the Kirklees gatehouse in a small, neglected clearing surrounded by overgrown brambles and enclosed by ancient trees and dense undergrowth. Only a few people know of the grave's existence or its whereabouts. Over the years there have been reports that the grave site is haunted, with a ghostly manifestation of a malevolent nature - thought to be the prioress.

The grave lies in the grounds of Kirklees Hall estate near Brighouse, West Yorkshire. The estate is private property.

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