Philip Marc, High Sheriff Of Nottinghamshire And Derbyshire

Down the centuries, historians and antiquaries have suggested a variety of contenders for Robin Hood’s arch enemy, the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. If you click on the Sheriff of Nottingham in the label column opposite you will see the details of this powerful position and how it was often abused by the nobleman who were given the title. One such contender who is often put forward, is the Angevin soldier, Philip Marc/Mark, more recently the subject of a novel by Richard Cluger. Below is a chronolical table giving details from surviving medieval documents of his life, giving us a small insight into someone who just might have fired the imagination of the balladeers.

1204: King John establishes a completely new administration in the northern counties of England. Of the sheriff’s of the earlier years, only one remained and he was in Northumberland. In an attempt to increase his war chest and regain his lost territories in Normandy, Maine and Anjou, John made his new sheriff’s more accountable for the profits of their office.

Gerard d’Athee had been a soldier in the service of the Plantagenet's since Richard’s reign. King John had placed him in command of the great fortress of Loches, the castle of the Anjou family, but when the castle fell to Philip Augustus, John paid 1,000 marks ransom for Gerard and brought him to England along with his wife, son and other relatives. These included Engelard de Cigogne, Peter, Guy and Andrew of Chanceux, Guy de Cigogne, Geoffrey de Martigney and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers and his nephew Geoffrey. The three villages of Athee, Cigogne and Chanceux lie close together, not far from the cities of Toures and Loches, in Touraine. The men were all able, Angevin soldiers and efficient, heavy handed administrators and in 1204
Gerard d’Athee became Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, with Philip Marc, his relative, as his assistant.

The appointment of these foreign soldiers to English shrievalties is fiercely resented by the barons. Roger of Wendover later described Gerard d’Athee and his nephew Engelard de Cigogne as King John’s consilarios iniquissimos (evil councillors).

During King John’s reign, the forests of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were in the hands of temporary royal keepers. Richard de Lexington is given the manor of Laxton and the administration of the forest, except the royal enclosures and the park within it, which were administered by the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

1207: Marc is ordered to get £100 from the three men of Newark and others, for the king. Richard de Lexington falls out of favour with King John and loses his manor because of maladministration of the forest. The manor of Lexington and forest was now administered by Brian de Lisle.

1209-1224: Philip Marc is made High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and keeper of the parks, including Bestwood and Bulwell Wood. He was granted the manor of Bulwell at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest and to present the priest for life.

For fifteen years, Marc is said to have envenomed the local politics of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The conduct of his shrievalty included robbery, false arrest, both secular and ecclesiastical. Ralph of Greasby, Roger de Montbregon, Robert de Neville, Matilda de Caux (former hereditary royal keeper of the forests of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) and the monks of the house of Grosmont near Whitby all clashed with him.

1209-1210: Gerard d’Athee, King John’s new Sheriff of Gloucester, harries the lands of William Braose in Wales. William’s wife Maud ( sometimes called Matilda) and his eldest son are later allegedly starved to death by King John in Windsor Castle (or Corfe Castle). This became the subject of various legends.

1210: Death of Gerard d’Athee.

Marc has custody of Sherwood Forest from 1212-1217.

1212:Nicolaa de la Haye and Philip Marc, then castellan and Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, were made joint sheriff’s of Lincolnshire.

While at Nottingham, King John summoned the sheriff’s. He told them to each bring six knights of their shires, who were to do what we tell them.

1213: An outer bailey is added to Nottingham Castle and a tower was built on the motte. Philip Marc supervised King John’s construction plans including a curtain wall which is marked by the location of the present gatehouse.

Siege machines for attack and defence are also included.

1214: 30th October: Twenty Sergeants are sent to Philip Marc at Nottingham Castle.
28th January: More reinforcements are sent to Philip Marc at Nottingham.
17th February: Six knights are sent to Philip Marc at Nottingham.
15th June: Baronial rebellion results in Magna Carta.

Magna Carta:

Clause 50:
We will dismiss completely from their offices the relations of Gerard d’Athee* that henceforth they shall have no office in England, Engelard de Cigogne, Peter and Guy and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogne, Geoffrey de Martigny with his brothers, Philip Marc with his brothers [A Reginald Marc, said to be Philip’s brother, held Annesly in 1220] and his nephew, Geoffrey, and all their followers.

Clause 51: Immediately after concluding peace, we will remove from the kingdom all alien knights, crossbowmen, sergeants and mercenary soldiers ( alienigenus milites, balistarios, servientes, stipendiarios) who have come with horses and arms to hurt of the realm.

*But Engelard de Cigogne, Philip Marc and the kinsman of d’Athee remained in the country and played a part in the administration under Henry III.

Philip Marc was never removed from his posts as sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and constable of Nottingham Castle. It was from his base at Nottingham Castle that he had directed the royalist cause on behalf of King John, acting more like a military overlord, in the north and east midlands during the civil war. With a triangle of fortresses under his command, south of Lincoln, including Newark and Sleaford.

1220: In April many complaints were made to the young Henry III and the papal legate, Pandalf, about the number of Philip Marc’s men in the forest of Nottinghamshire and the grave exactions and oppressions they were making. Marc eventually completed a survey of his own and reported to the king on how many royal officials he needed in the forest. But Marc was abruptly told to withdraw his men and not to bother Maud de Caux who had recently had her hereditary forestership restored. She was to remain in office until her death in 1224.

1224: Philip Marc is replaced by Ralph fitz Nicholas as Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

1234: Brian de Lisle the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire of Derbyshire, accounted for Ann, Marc’s widow 100 shillings per year as long as she lived at Bullwell Manor near Sherwood Forest.

1265: The protection racket passed by the successive Sheriff’s of Nottingham and Derbyshire was stopped by a Court of Law. The growth of the importance of Justices of the Peace starts to limit the power of the sheriff’s.

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007

Joan Rice

Information on Joan Rice is very scarce. But over the last few years, I have managed to piece together some fragmentary facts about her life, from a wide range of sources. In particular I am indebted to Maria Steyn on The Adventures of Robin Hood Message Board, who met Joan in Maidenhead in 1978 and became a friend. Maria has very kindly passed on some details of Joan’s later life. So if you are aware of any more information on this beautiful actress, or see any errors, please contact me on this site.

Dorothy Joan Rice was born in Derby, in England on the 3rd February 1930. The early years of her life were apparently spent in Abbey Street, Derby and at a school/convent in Nottingham, where according to Life magazine, she might have been training for her role as Maid Marian, playing in
Sherwood Forest.
After finishing her education, the beautiful green-eyed brunette, took various jobs in London and eventually began working as a waitress in the smart uniform of a ‘corner house girl’ or Nippie, in a Lyon’s Corner House in London (possibly Marble Arch). It was while working there, that she entered a Beach Beauty competition and won the title Miss Lyons in 1949. This led to her being introduced, by a film extra, to actor and director, Harold Huth, and eventually a seven year film contract with J. Arthur Rank.

Joan’s first film role was as the character Alma, in Huth’s own production, Blackmailed (1951) alongside Dirk Bogarde, James Robertson Justice and Mai Zetterling. She then went on to play a maid called Annie, in the clever farce, One Wild Oat (1951) which also included the first screen appearance of Audrey Hepburn, another future Maid Marian.

According to Ken Annakin, Walt Disney’s only Achilles heel, during the making of Robin Hood was the casting of Joan Rice as Maid Marian. Annakin described her as an attractive brunette with a determined face and good figure, but no acting experience. Her acting ability was also criticised by the star of the film, Richard Todd in a recent radio interview. But although six other young actresses had also been screen tested, Walt Disney, would not change his mind, he said that he saw Joan as a great little ‘emoter’.

The other girls may be easier to work with, Disney said, but Joan has a quality. The camera loves her. She gets my vote. With your documentary experience it shouldn’t be beyond your skill to get a performance out of her. Treat her like a child. Spend time with her. So for Ken Annakin, the choice was made and Joan Rice was a cross, he said, he had to bear.

In April 1951 shooting began on Disney’s Story of Robin Hood (1952) and soon things became fraught between Joan Rice and Ken Annakin. In his book, So You Wanna Be A Director, Annakin describes how accident prone she was. During filming she used to ride to and from the local hotel at Denham on a bicycle and fall off nearly every single day. One evening, Annakin saw her standing forlornly by the studio door. He stopped and asked her what was wrong. Joan had smashed up her bike yet again. He offered her a lift, so she climbed in his MG Midget but during the journey she accidently dropped some ash from her cigarette and burnt a hole in one of the red leather rumble seats. The car was Annakin’s pride of his life and this incident reduced poor Joan to tears!

If there was a batten lying on the floor, she’d trip over it, and the funny thing is that nobody on the crew fancied her! Annakin said.

I had to go over dialogue with her word by word and guide her with chalk numbers on the floor, for her moves. The crew would often, shake their head and sigh audibly. One day an electrician sidled past while, while Joan was struggling with her lines and said to Ken Annakin, she’s nowt but a big, soft milk tart, Governor! Big tits and no drawers! This sent Joan off crying again and informing Annakin’s assistant, that that if he didn’t want her, she could always go back to being a waitress! But Disney had chosen her, so Ken Annakin and Joan Rice were chained irrevocably together for the rest of the show!
Despite this cruel criticism, the film, and Joan’s role as a spirited Maid Marian was a success. In fact for many, including myself, she was certainly one of the best, if not the best Maid Marian that ever graced the silver screen. So perhaps Uncle Walt was right!

Her film career took-off, and from story-book history, Joan Rice moved on to a WWII Navy drama, in her next movie, Gift Horse (1952) with Trevor Howard and Richard Attenborough, as June Mallory a Wren cipher clerk. Christmas 1952 saw Joan’s first television appearance as a guest on the BBC’s Current Release: Party Edition, transmitted on the 17th December with a whole host of top celebrities of the time, including Richard Todd, Dirk Bogarde, Trevor Howard, Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins and Petula Clark.

Joan then teamed up again with James Hayter and Bill Owen, from those Disney days, in the rather poor B movie, A Day To Remember released on 29th March 1953. Her next role was as Avis in the typical British farce Curtain Up (1953) alongside such great British talents as Margaret Rutherford and Robert Morley. The movie about a megalomaniac producer, who has to have a new play, ‘Tarnished Gold,’ ready in one week, was directed by Ralph Smart, who later worked on 18 episodes of TV’s hugely successful The Adventures of Robin Hood between 1955-1956.

It was in 1953 that Joan married film producer David Green, son of Harry Green who owned a top London club, frequented by film celebrities in the 1950’s, called Kiss Corner. Joan and Harry later had a son, Michael, but their marriage only lasted up until 1964.

Her last film of 1953 was The Steel Key, a melodrama which has Joan as the love interest, Doreen Wilson, alongside Terence Morgan as attractive rogue, Johnny O’Flynn. Between them they investigate the theft of a secret formula for hardened steel and get involved in international espionage. The movie is often described as a prototype for The Saint and was directed by Robert Baker, who later worked on that successful television series.

It was in the first movie to be filmed in Fiji, His Majesty O’Keefe, released in America on the 16th January 1954, that Joan Rice reached the pinnacle of her brief movie career. This lavish Technicolor adventure in the South Seas, featured Joan as a beautiful island girl who eventually marries Irish American, Captain David O’Keefe, a fortune hunter, played by Burt Lancaster.

After being washed up on the tiny island of Yap in the Solomon Islands, O’Keefe teaches the local islanders modern agriculture and eventually manages to establish a group of trading posts selling Copra, an oil yielding coconut pulp, across the South Seas. But not before he takes as his bride, a dusky Polynesian maiden, Dalabo aki Dali, played by Joan Rice and has a series of battles, not only with local superstitions, but with the native farmers, pirates and white Europeans.

In October 1954 Joan’s ninth movie was released, a comedy drama, The Crowded Day. In this she played Peggy Woman alongside John Gregson, Freda Jackson, and Rachael Roberts, in the five individual stories of a group of salesgirls and their boyfriends at a department store during Christmas week. A colleague from Disney’s Robin Hood, Hal Osmond, also appeared.

Sadly, Joan’s movie career was starting to fade, when she appeared as Iris, alongside much loved funny man Norman Wisdom’s second film appearance, One Good Turn(1955). Following this, Joan worked once again with Harold Huth in his ‘B Film’ as Pat Lewis in Police Dog. In 1956 she appeared in her first Hammer production, Women Without Men also known as Blonde Bait. A prison drama about three women who for various reasons decide to arrange an escape to settle things on the outside, then give themselves back up to the authorities. Joan played Cleo Thompson.

After a couple of years, Joan moved into the world of television with appearances in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan as Sybil Adams. Meanwhile in August 1958 The Long Knife was released. A melodrama about a nurse, Jill Holden, played by Joan, working in a convalescent home wrongly accused of killing several of her patients. As the story unravels, she begins her own investigation to prove her innocence and discovers that the victims were all being blackmailed. But the movie failed to have much of an impact and by November 1958 Joan moved back to the small screen, appearing alongside debonair Roger Moore in an episode of the series Ivanhoe.
June 1959 saw Joan’s appearance in the comedy film Operation Bullshine as Private Finch, with Donald Sinden and Barbara Murray. Set along the English coast at an anti aircraft station, the movie follows the mayhem caused at the base by a group of new female recruits.

After a role in an episode of the TV series The Pursuers in 1961 Joan made her last major screen appearance before her retirement from the film industry. This was in the highly rated heist movie, Payroll released in 1961. With a particularly good performances from Billie Whitelaw and Kenneth Griffith, the gritty story involves a gang of working class criminals in Newcastle, whose payroll robbery ends up with an unplanned fatality. The deceased's wife then decides to set off and track down the villains.

Joan appeared in one more television series, Zero One, aired on British television on the 9th January 1963. Then she retired from acting for nine years. She came out of retirement for a brief character role, as a grave robbers wife, in her second Hammer film, The Horror of Frankenstein in 1970.

She then set up The Joan Rice Bureau in Maidenhead, Berkshire, during the 1970’s and it was here that her office dealt with real estate and property. Joan was being cared for financially at this time by David Green and she lived in a local apartment with her much loved golden retriever called ‘Jessy’. It was in Maidenhead during 1978 that Maria Steyn met Joan Rice and Maria and has kindly informed me of Joan’s later years. They became close friends after Maria had arranged to rent an apartment through Joan’s bureau and they later met several times at Joan’s apartment. Sadly both Joan’s mother and her golden retriever passed away in 1979.

In 1984 Joan married Ken McKenzie a Salesman from Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis and they both moved to Cookham near Maidenhead. But by the start of the 1980’s Joan had been suffering with depression, which led to her drinking and smoking heavily. During this period, Maria describes Joan as looking very pale and unhealthy, with regular severe coughing fits. As time went on, Maria began to find it hard to communicate with her. Soon they lost touch.

Joan died aged 67on January 1st 1997 in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

We all have our favourite characters in the world of television and film. For me Joan Rice will always be Maid Marian.

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007

(To read more about Joan Rice please click on the label 'Joan Rice' in the panel opposite or below).

The Release Dates Of Disney's Story Of Robin Hood

Filming began at Denham Studios, in Buckinghamshire, England on 30th April 1951.

The World Premier was in London on Thursday 13th March 1952. The film was given the title The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (RKO Radio Pictures Limited).

Duration 9 Reels 82 or 84 minutes.

In New York on 26th June 1952 as The Story of Robin Hood (RKO RadioPictures)

13th August 1952

W. Germany
September 1952 as Robin Hood und seine tollkuhnen Gesellen

3rd November 1952 as Robin Hood og hans lystige snende

6th November 1952 as La Storia di Robin Hood

25th November 1952 as The Story of Robin Hood


26th November 1952 as Robin Hood

Honk Kong
29th January 1953

27th February 1953 as Robin Hood ja iloiset veikot

August 1953 as Robin Hood und seine lustigen Gesellen

8th January 1955

as Los Arqueros del rey

as Opowiesc o Robin Hoodziei jego wesolych kimpanach

as Robin dos Bosques, o Justicerio

Whitby Abbey

The atmospheric 13th Century ruins of Whitby Abbey stand on the steep windswept headland overlooking its picturesque old whaling town and the North Sea. This once magnificent monastery was founded in the seventh century by the Saxon princess St Hild. She later became the focus of many traditional stories and miraculous deeds, including ridding the town of snakes by turning them to stone. Another legendry character linked with this dramatic, monastic site, is Dracula the vampire, the creation of one time Whitby resident, Bram Stoker. So with the fishing village, known as Robin Hood’s Bay, six miles along the coast and the bronze age burial mounds at Stroupe Brow, dug into the moorland about a mile away, known by the locals as Robin Hood’s Butts, it was inevitable that down the centuries, local stories about the outlaw hero would emerge.

Lionel Charlton often known as the first historian of Whitby, was born at Hexham about 1722. Described as lame from his youth, halting with one leg, and having one hand shrunk up, did not prevent him studying at Edinburgh University and becoming a land surveyor and teacher of mathematics. About 1748, Charlton settled in Whitby, in North Yorkshire, where he would stay for the next forty years running his school in the old town house. But it was towards the end of his life that he undertook the task for which he became famous, writing The History of Whitby and Whitby Abbey which was published in York, in 1779.

With free access to the ancient records of Whitby Town and its Abbey, given to him by the Lord of the Manor, Nathanial Cholmley, Lionel Charlton began to painstakingly decipher the rolls of parchment. His groundbreaking work is today often criticized for his occasional fanciful detours away from the restraints of historical research and his piece on Robin Hood and Little John’s visit to Whitby Abbey, is a good example. It is also interesting to note that Charlton was assisted by Dr Thomas Percy (1729-1811), the first of the great ballad collectors, and author of ‘Reliques of Ancient English Poetry’ published four years before Charlton’s work. Percy’s collection on Robin Hood and in particular the unusual later ballad Robin Hood’s Fishing, commonly known as The Noble Fisherman: Or Robin Hood’s Preferment, probably inspired, what Professor Dobson describes as Charlton’s ingenious powers of invention, about Robin Hood’s visit.

Now, quoth Robin Hood, I’ll to
Scarborough goe,
It seems to be a very fair day,
Who tooke up his inn in a widow
woman’s house,
Hard by upon the waters gray.
(The Noble Fisherman)

Tradition informs us Lionel Charlton begins, that in one of Robin Hood’s peregrinations, he attended by his Little John went to dine a Whitby Abbey with the Abbot Richard [de Waterville] , who having heard them often famed for their great dexterity in shooting with the longbow, begged them after dinner to show him a specimen there of; when to oblige the abbot they went up to the top of the abbey, whence each of them shot an arrow, which fell not far from Whitby-Laths, but on the contrary side of the lane; and in memorial there of, a pillar was set up by the abbot in the place where each of the arrows was found, which are yet standing in these our days; the field where the pillar for Robin Hood’s arrow stands being, still called Robin Hood’s Field and the other where the pillar for Little John’s arrow, John’s Field. Their distance from Whitby Abbey is MORE THAN A MEASURED MILE, which seems very far for the flight of an arrow, and is a circumstance that will stagger the faith of many; but, as to the credibility of the story, every reader may judge thereof as he thinks proper; only I must here beg leave to observe that these very pillars are mentioned, in the old deeds for that ground, now in the possession of Mr Thomas Watson.
(History of Whitby, York, 1779.)

Whitby’s other colourful historian Rev. Dr. George Young (1777-1848) later gives us more details in his History of Whitby (1818):

.......they both shot from the top of the abbey, and their arrows fell on the west side of Whitby Lathes, besides the lane leading from thence to Stainsacre; that of Robin Hood falling on the north side of the lane, and that of Little John about 100 feet further, on the south side of the lane. In the spot where Robin’s arrow is said to have lighted stands a stone pillar about a foot square, and 4 feet high; and a similar pillar, 2 1/2 feet high, marks the place where John’s arrow fell. The fields on the one side are called Robin Hood Closes and those on the other Little John Closes. They are so termed in the conveyance, dated in 1713, from Hugh Cholmley Esq.

In the 1890’s both pillars were seen lying in a ditch of the field bearing their name. One had been removed because it was in the way of the farmer’s mowing machine ! And in 1937 one of the stones was put to use as a field roller at Summerfield Farm near Hawsker Church.

In 1903 two new pillars were erected and described by Stanhope White in Standing Stones & Earthworks on the North Yorkshire Moors (1987) as :

......two saddle-like stones, round pillars with small mushroom caps; the rim of the first is engraved Robin Hood Close and the other Little John Close......It is not improbable that these two stones have replaced two Bronze Age standing stones; they would have attracted tales of Robin Goodfellow; when Robin Hood began to appear as a folk hero his name replaced the earlier leaders name, and no doubt some good burgher of Whitby replaced the ancient stones with these more decorative modern ones!

© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007