3. Marian Meets Queen Eleanor

Surrounded by their escort, the Earl of Huntingdon and his daughter crossed the drawbridge of Nottingham Castle and rode into the crowded yard. As they entered the Great Hall they were just in time to see King Richard leaving the Council Chamber with his mother Queen Eleanor and his brother Prince John. Alongside them was the Archbishop of Canterbury and many of the most powerful barons in England.

The King smiled as he saw Marian’s father.
“Welcome Huntingdon!” He cried. “Now truly we can say that the bravest of our realm are gathered here.”
“God make us worthy of your trust sire,” said the earl as he bowed gracefully to the king and his mother.
“Sire,” continued the earl, “ I have a boon to ask the Queen your mother.”
King Richard nodded graciously.
“I pray you madam,” he asked, “ take my daughter into your house hold until my return.”
“Come here child,” said Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Marian approached them timidly and dropped to her knees to kiss the Queen’s hand.
“What is your name, child?” The Queen asked.
“Marian,” said the girl.
“A sweet and gentle name,” the Queen reflected, “ does your nature match it?”
“If it pleases the Queen,” replied Marian in a whisper.
The Queen looked carefully for a few moments into the girl’s face and then answered, “I will have her!”

Marian’s father bowed gratefully as the royal family moved to the outer door. But then they all stopped as the Sheriff of Nottingham went down on one knee.
“My Lord King,” he said, “I too would beg a boon. My men and I would follow our king across the seas.”
The Sheriff looked up nervously as King Richard hesitated.
“Find a new sheriff for Nottingham,” the king said to his brother John, “and men to serve him.”

“God save King Richard!” chanted the assembled knights.

“My Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,” said King Richard as they went down the castle steps, “We ask a blessing on this most holy enterprise.”

Heads bowed as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York blessed the many armed soldiers gathered in and beyond the castle walls. Then King Richard drew his sword and kissed the hilt. “To horse!” he cried. “Advance my banner! God wills it!”

With the sound of trumpets the great cavalcade began winding its way along the dusty road. Someone began singing a marching song and soon the whole army seemed to be singing along as the great Crusade left Nottingham Castle.

Robin Fitzooth

In this story and film, Robin Hood has the ‘real’ name Robin Fitzooth and is the son of Hugh Fitzooth, gamekeeper of the Earl of Huntingdon. It was the doctor and parson, William Stukeley (1678-1765), who first provided Robin Hood with a family tree of this name in 1746.

Stukeley used William Dugdale’s ‘Baronage’ of 1675 and set about creating Robin Hood’s genealogy amongst the early Norman landowners. One branch of the family he used, included an invented Maud, who married a ficticious knight called Ralph fitz Ooth. From this branch of the family we eventually get a Robert Fitz Ooth, commonly called Robin Hood. This pedigree has since been described as a complete fabrication by most modern day scholars.

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007

2. Robin and Marian

“What ails ye ?”

Hugh Fitzooth, gamekeeper to the Earl stared at the flustered old nurse.

“Master Fitzooth….” gasped the woman breathlessly, as she faced the grizzled, kindly keen-eyed man with the longbow slung across his shoulder and two large greyhounds by his side. “I seek the Maid. Where is that harum-scarum son of yours?”

“She is not with Robin,” came the reply. My lad is yonder drawing his bow against a willow wand.”

“Find one bad penny and you’ll find two! Snapped Tyb crossly. “I bid you good day, Master Fitzooth!” And curtsying, she hastened off towards young Robin Fitzooth amongst the trees in the distance, still crossly calling, “Marian…Marian!”

It was, indeed to bad that, after decking and adorning her charge like a daffodil so that Queen Eleanor would be certain to give the maid a place in her household, poor Tyb should have to go seeking Maid Marian in this way.

Yet it looked like Hugh Fitzooth was right, Robin seemed alone as he planted his feet firmly, drew back his bow and let fly an arrow towards the four foot willow wand. WHIZZZZZ! But the arrow missed its target for the third time and quite suddenly, the archer knew he was not alone, that hidden behind a tree, a girls hand holding a stick had gently pushed the target each time the marksman had shot.

“Ah!” exclaimed Robin as he made a sudden darting movement towards Marians hiding place. “So that is why my aim is not so true, eh?”

A merry laugh answered him.

“Did you miss the mark again poor fellow?” Maid Marian teased.

The couple dodged between the trees, but Robin caught his foot on a root and rather embarrassingly tumbled down.

The old nurse then arrived through the grove of trees. “Marian saints above!” She exclaimed in horror.

“Now look at you. My Lord Earl waiting and here you are grovelling in the dirt. A lady old enough to serve the Queen is old enough to act like a lady.”

Marian noticed the expression on Robin’s face and drew herself up stiffly, then replied, “inform the Earl, my dear Lord and Father, that I will attend him presently. You have my leave to go!”

The old nurse was taken by surprise, but gave a little bobbing curtsey, then went off shaking her head. Robin chuckled and as Marion made her way towards the manor house she turned and called, “farewell old clod-hopper!”

1. Huntingdon Manor

It was the year 1190 and the manor house of the Earl of Huntingdon was filled with bustle and activity. Pages scurried and servants dashed hither and thither to prepare for the departure of the Earl of Huntingdon for Nottingham. It was there that he was to join King Richard on a Crusade to free the Holy Land.

“Is everything ready?” The Earl asked his steward, as he scanned the courtyard with a knowledgeable gaze.

“Yes sire,” was the stewards reply as he gave his master a stirrup cup. But suddenly they were interrupted by an old nurse who came clattering down the steps.

“Marian!” The old woman called, “Marian!”

“Is our daughter not yet ready to leave?” Asked the Earl frowning.

“Aye sire,” Nurse Tyb replied breathlessly, “ready and decked and adorned like any daffadowndilly. So fine she is, sire, there will none to compare. The Queen will take her and gladly.”

“Go quickly good Tyb and find her!” Said the Earl. “Unless we leave in an hour I’ll miss the King at Nottingham.”

Nurse Tyb raised her hands in desperation and went off muttering across the courtyard.

“Marian……..Mar-i-an!” She called in her shrill voice as she nearly collided with a tall bearded man in the gateway.

Full Cast

In credits order:

Richard Todd :- Robin Hood

Joan Rice:- Maid Marian

Peter Finch:- Sheriff of Nottingham

James Hayter:- Friar Tuck

James Robertson Justice:- Little John

Martita Hunt:- Queen Eleanor

Hubert Gregg:- Prince John

Bill Owen:- Stutely

Reginald Tate:- Hugh Fitzooth

Elton Hayes:- Alan A Dale

Anthony Eustrel:- Archbishop of Canterbury

Patrick Barr:- King Richard

Anthony Forwood:- Will Scarlet

Hal Osmond:- Midge the Miller

Michael Hordern:- Scathelok

Clement McCallin:- Earl of Huntingdon

Louise Hampton:- Tyb

Archie Duncan:- Red Gill

Rest of cast in alphabetical order:

John Brooking:- Merrie Man

Ivan Craig:- Merrie Man

David Davies:- Forester

John French:- Merrie Man

Richard Graydon:- Merrie Man

Geoffrey Lumsden:- Merrie Man

John Martin:- Merrie Man

Larry Mooney:- Merrie Man

Nigel Neilson:- Merrie Man

Charles Perry:- Merrie Man

Ewen Solon:- Merrie Man

Julian Somers:- Posse Leader

John Stamp:- Merrie Man

Jack Taylor:- Merrie Man

Bill Travers:- Posse Man

In The Studio With Ken Annakin

Behind The Camera

First Unit

Director:- Ken Annakin

Unit Manager:- Frank Sherwin Green

Director of Photography:- Guy Green

Camera Operative:- Dave Harcourt

Technicolor Technician:- Ian Craig

Asst. Technicolor Technician:- John Tiley

Clappers:- Derrick Whitehurst

1st. Assistant Director:- Peter Bolton

2nd. Assistant Director:- Peter Manley

3rd Assistant Director:- Kip Gowan

Continuity:- Joan Davis

Sound Mixer:- C.C. Stevens

Boom Operator:- Fred Ryan

Sound Camera:- K Rawkins

Floor Props:- Jim Herald

Floor Electrician:- Maurice Gillet

Floor Stills:- Frank Bellingham

Production Secretary:- Teresa Bolland

Second Unit

Director:- Alex Bryce

Unit Manager:- Anthony Nelson-Keys

Cinematographer:- Geoffrey Unsworth

Camera Operator:- Bob Walker

Technicolor Technician:- Robert Kindred

Asst. Technicolor Technician:- Michael Brandt

1st. Asst. Director:- Basil Keys

2nd. Asst. Director:- Len Lee

3rd Asst. Director:- Chris Sutton

Boom Operator:- George Paternoster

Continuity:- Connie Newton

Clapper Loader:- Ken Nicholson

Asst. Wardrobe:- Fred Gayton

Hairdresser:- A Baber

Floor Props:- Ernie Quick

Floor Stills:- George Ward

Production Secretary:- Kathleen Hosgood

Screenplay:- Lawrence Edward Watkin

Producer:- Perce Pearce

Executive Producer:- Walt Disney

Editor:- Gordon Pilkington

Asst. Editor:- Ann Coates

2nd Asst. Editor:- Deveril Goodman

2nd Asst. Editor:- Leslie Hodgson

2nd Asst. Editor:- Terry Poulton

Casting Director:-Maude Spector

Casting Asst.:- John Owen

Art Director:- Carmen Dillon

Asst. Art Director:- Arthur Lawson

Asst. Art Director:- Jack Stevens

Costume Design:- Michael Whittaker

Wardrobe Supervisor:- Yvonne Caffin

Wardrobe Master:- Goff Price

Wardrobe Mistress:- Mrs Gilbert

Wardrobe Assistant:- Betty Simms

Wardrobe Assistant:- Roy Lemon

Period Advisor:- Charles R. Beard

Makeup Supervisor:- Geoffrey Rodway

Makeup Artist:- Trevor Crole-Rees

Makeup Artist:- Stuart Freeborn

Makeup Artist:- Eddie Knight

Makeup Artist:- A. L. Lawrence

Makeup Artist:- Robert Alexander

Makeup Artist:- Molly Schneiderman

Production Manager:- Douglas Peirce

Chief Draughtsman:- Ernest Archer

Sketch Artist:- Ivor Beddos

Sketch Artist:- Stephen Grimes

Asst. Draughtsman:- John Box

Asst. Draughtsman:- Roy Dorman

Asst. Draughtsman:- Don Picton

Junior Draughtsman:- Peter Lamont

Junior Draughtsman:- Richard Frigg

Sound Editor:- Wyn Ryder

Dubbing Mixer:- Peter Davies

Boom Operator:- Basil Fenton-Smith

Sound Editor:- Winston Ryder

Matte Artist:- Peter Ellenshaw

Matte Effect Technician:- Alan Hulme

Matte Effect Technician:- Peter Hall

Scenic Artist:- Robert Dawe

Set Dresser:- Harry White

Technicolor Colour Consultant:- Joan Bridge

Conductor: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra:- Muir Mathieson

Clapper Loader:- John Alcott

Assembly Cutter:- Anne V. Coates

Assistant Camera:- Peter Hall

Focus Puller:- Alan Hume

Still Photographer:- Ian Jeayes

Still Photographer:- George Courtney Ward

Hair Dressing Supervisor:- Vivienne Walker

Hairdresser:- Joyce Wood

Hairdresser:- Joan White

Hairdresser:- Alf Beeber

Hairdresser:- Gordon Bond

Hairdresser:- Ann Fordyce

Hairdresser:- Pearl Tipaldi

Construction Manager:- Gus Walker

Property Master:- Bill Mason

Production Buyer:- Jim Baker

Production Publicist:- Catherine O’ Brien

Production Publicist:- Joan R. Davis

Producers Secretary:- Denise Carey

Casting Secretary:- Pat Bull

Publicity Secretary:- Nita Oswin

Ballads:- Elton Hayes

Ballads:- Clifton Parker

Ballads:- George Wyle

Ballads and Lyricist:- Eddie Pola

Ballads and Lyricist:- Lawrence Edward Watkin

Denham Studios

I was blissfully unaware as I sat in my local ABC cinema in the 1970’s, watching Disney’s live action version of ‘Robin Hood’, that the studios in which this wonderful film was made were being demolished.

After the Second World War some of the money made by American film companies had been frozen by the British Government, this encouraged the big production companies from America to return to English studios like Denham. Disney’s ‘Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men,’ had given the studios a life-line, but sadly, this was the last main feature to be produced at that massive complex.

Denham is located just north of Uxbridge at junction 1 of the M40. It was Hungarian impresario, Alexander Korda (1893-1956) capitalising on his record breaking box office success with ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII’ (1933) and 'The Scarlet Pimpernel’ (1934) who managed to get the funding to build the studios. This movie had earned the first ever Oscar for a British film star, Charles Laughton and a sixteen picture deal for Korda. Who managed to secure funding from the Prudential Assurance Company to underwrite future productions and finance his dream of building his own British film studios.

So Korda purchased a country house and estate at Denham in Buckinghamshire for £15.000 and decided to build a 165 acre complex. The massive Studios were created by Jake Okey, who had previously created the Fist National and Paramount Studios.

Building work started in late summer of 1935. The River Colne was diverted, to make an elegant pond, which later housed a gift of white swans, given to Korda by Winston Churchill. The stables of the original house were converted to cutting rooms and the site had built, its own electricity generating station and a complete Technicolor laboratory. Its 2,000 employees were instructed by Korda to produce movies of 'prestige, pomp, magic and madness’. To do this they had at their disposal, seven sound stages with a floor area of 120,000 square feet, a massive water tank, many large workshops for scenery construction, restaurants and even a train service from London.

But it wasn’t long before Korda noticed a design fault.
The problem was, that the site was too big. The stages were too far away from the workshops.

But completion of Britain's largest film-making facility was in May 1936 and some noted films started to roll off the production line:

Southern Roses
The Ghost Goes West
Things To Come
The Man Who Could Work Miracles
Knight Without Armour
A Yank at Oxford
South Riding

Korda established his own catalogue of contracted actors including Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon (whom he married in 1939) Wendy Barrie, Robert Donat, Maurice Evans and Vivian Leigh. But his worst fears became reality as the design layout came under serious criticism and film projects started to dry up. Combined with this, came the infamous film companies crash of 1937. So Prudential stepped in and offered Denham Studios as a going concern to Charles Boot and J. Arthur Rank. Korda’s control of his ‘dream factory’ was effectively taken off his hands as Denham merged with Pinewood. Rank later used Denham chiefly for his Two Cities productions. Some of Britain's most memorable films continued to be made there:

Goodbye Mr Chips
Thief of Baghdad
In Which We Serve
Green for Danger
Black Narcissus
49th Parallel
Red Shoes
The Happy Breed
Blythe Spirit
Henry V
The Life And Death of Colonel Blimp
Brief Encounter

But Denham’s production costs remained far higher than Pinewood.
Pinewood studios were far more compact, grouped around a central construction area, unlike the long walkways between departments at Denham. So after World War II the massive sound stages gradually became neglected.

Technology was also advancing as equipment became lighter and more portable, and the huge studios used in the 30’s and 40’s were no longer needed. J. Arthur Rank was also having serious financial problems and he had more floor space than he could possibly use, so was eager to rid himself of this financial burden. So the Denham offices became the home of Rank Xerox and the only film making tenant was Anvil Films, who used the cutting rooms.

Meanwhile, Alexander Korda, received a knighthood from George VI and continued to have movie success with such films as:

The Third Man
Breaking the Sound Barrier
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Anna Karenina

The National Film Finance Board invested some tax payers cash into the studios but the axe was ready to fall and in 1952 Disney’s ‘Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men’ was the last major feature film to be made there.

Aged 63 Alexander Korda died of a massive heart attack four years later. The site of the studios was eventually sold to a developer in 1970 and the whole area was flattened to build an industrial park. Sadly nothing now remains of Korda’s ‘prestige, pomp and madness’.

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007

Plan of Denham Studios


In the early 1970’s I watched a film at my local cinema that sent me on a historical journey. That film was Walt Disney’s ‘Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’. As a child I had seen other films and read the books, but this film in particular inspired me to research the historical evidence behind one of the most famous legends in the world.

Studying the attempts to find Robin Hood, by many antiquaries and historians, has taken me on a complex, but fascinating path through the dense forest of British history. So using the story from the film, come with me as we journey with Allan A Dale, through the past and see what has been discovered about Robin Hood and how they made that wonderful film.

This is the tale of Robin Hood

"O, I'll sing a song, a rollicky song,
As, I roll along my way,
With a hey derry die 'n' a derry die do
And a riddle de diddle de day!

This is the tale of Robin Hood,
And of his merry men,
His like you are not like to see,
In all the world again."