Albie's Videos of Sherwood Forest, Wellow May Day and Haughton Chapel.

Above is a picture I took of an ancient tree in Sherwood Forest a few weeks back. I can see the face and horns of Herne the Hunter amongst its gnarled bark and his arms seemed to be streched right out, almost protecting the woodland behind him!

If you would like to see more of Sherwood Forest, Wellow May Day and the old ruins of Haughton Chapel in Nottinghamshire, Albie has very kindly sent in a link to his video chanel on YouTube.

It can be found at:

Picture Strip 8 : Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood

Part 8 of Laurence's fabulous picture strip of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). To see previous pages, please click on the label below.

Ivan Craig, Ewen Solon and Geoffrey Lumsden

Back in May of this year I posted a still from Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood, with an appeal for the names of the actors in the picture who played the outlaws. Thanks to Neil and Laurence I can now reveal three of the names, Ivan Craig, Ewen Solon and Geoffrey Lumsden.

Laurence informed me that Ivan Craig (1912-1944), during his career, had appeared in TV’s Claude Duval, (The Gay Cavalier) (1957) as Major Mould and also as Lord Blackheath alongside Roger Moore in Ivanhoe (1958-1959).

Geoffrey Lumsden (1914-1984) seems to have begun his lengthy profession as one of Robin’s men but, went on to appear in many classic TV series including Upstairs Downstairs, Harriet’s Back in Town, Bergerac, Special Branch, Edward and Mrs Simpson and the hilarious Dad’s Army as Captain Square. Lumsden also appeared in the Hammer movie The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) alongside former colleagues from Disney’s Story of Robin Hood, Joan Rice and James Hayter.

Geoffrey Lumsden

During my research I was amazed to find an official, fact filled web site, dedicated to Ewen Solon. It’s at and is well worth a visit.

Ewen Solon

Wellow May Day

Robin Hood is inextricably linked with the May and Summer Games performed throughout England and Scotland during the 16th century. The surviving church wardens accounts reveal that Robin along with the ‘Maid’ Marian often took on the role of ‘King and Queen’ of the revels accompanied by Friar Tuck and the rest of the gang of merry men.

Sadly these traditional celebrations have been on the decline for many years, so I was thrilled to receive these pictures from Albie of the ‘May Day’ festival in his village of Wellow in Nottinghamshire. I feel it is very important that these ancient traditions survive.

Albie said:

“Basically, today was the 60th anniversary of the dancing returning after WW2. The old May queens were from 1950 through to last year’s representing each decade. The youngsters are all from the village I believe.

This tradition of the May Queen and dancing would have been well known to Robin Hood. There was a similar scene from the Robin of Sherwood TV series I believe. It is a tradition we must keep. So much has been lost, this cannot be left to fade into history, although I live 3 miles from Wellow this is the first time I have been to May Day since 1978 (I think). There were a massive number of people there today, more than is normal/ don’t know whether this is due to the Crowe film but good to see so many there.”

I travelled through Wellow quite recently, but alas didn’t have time to look around. The name Wellow is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Wehag’ which means ‘enclosure by a well or spring’ and this idyllic village has many connections with Robin Hood.

According to the book 'Robin Hood and the Lords of Wellow'  by Tony Molyneux-Smith, its unusually shaped village green holds more secrets than would appear at first glance. Although the green has changed over the centuries, as houses were built and the road to Eakring constructed, his book says that it is still possible to see that its original shape would have formed a perfect triangle - the shape of an arrow head - which points directly at the castle of the Sheriff of Nottingham!

Wellow was given permission to hold a market in 1268 and has one of only three permanent maypoles in England. Surviving records show that a maypole stood on the green in 1856 but the village tradition goes back much earlier and the local 12th century church celebrated this fact, when it recently commissioned a beautiful stained glass window of the Wellow maypole.

Herne the Hunter

The Whistling Arrows are certainly a multi-talented group! Particularly Mike. Many of us on Face Book (come and join us!) are now familiar with Mike’s beautiful paintings and Avalon has recently featured his work on her blog. But it is always a thrill to see another example of his art work, particularly when it is connected to our favourite outlaw and one of the most popular recent adaptions of the legend, Robin of Sherwood.

Above is Mike’s interpretation of Herne the Hunter, one of the central figures in Richard Carpenter’s scripts for the hugely successful and influential TV series of the 1980’s.

The series Robin of Sherwood started in 1984 and was made by Goldcrest for HTV. It first featured Michael Praed as Robin, the son of a peasant family murdered by the Normans. After being mistreated in early childhood, he makes common cause with a group of other young outcasts. But not before he is chosen for his role to lead resistance as ‘The Hooded Man’ by Herne the Hunter, a pagan shaman wearing stag’s antlers and living in a grove on an island in a lake.

When, in 1597, William Shakespeare set pen to parchment and wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor he had Mistress Page utter the lines below:

There is an old tale goes,
That Herne the hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

Despite this being the earliest written reference we have to the legend of Herne the Hunter, it is probable that Shakespeare was drawing on a much older local tradition, the origins of which lay with the Norse god, Odin (a leader of the wild hunt) and of the horned Celtic deity, Cernunnos. We know Shakespeare’s knowledge of folklore was considerable and that he seldom invents when he can refer to a genuine story. This was one of many innovations by Carpenter who inserted medieval magical realism along with Robin’s traditional battles with the Sheriff of Nottingham.

But the legend of Herne originally had no connection with Robin Hood or Sherwood Forest. In fact the various legends place him during the reign of Richard II (1377-1399) as a keeper of Windsor Forest in Berkshire. It was there that Herne was known for his great hunting and woodcraft skills. He was favoured after saving King Richard from being gored by a cornered white hart, but very badly injured himself. Later a mysterious dark figure, known as Philip Urswick appeared and promised the king that for a reward he will insure Herne recovered.

The king agreed and announced that if Herne lived, he would promote him to chief-keeper of Windsor Forest. So Urswick took him to his hut at Bagshot Heath and bound the antlers and skull of a stag to the dying Herne, prescribing plenty of rest. But the other game-keepers were jealous of Herne and made it known to Urswick that they wished that he had died of his injuries. So Urswick did a deal with the other keepers.

Herne recovered, (although the antlers remained permanent) returned to court and was promoted to chief game-keeper; Urswick meanwhile was rewarded by King Richard with gold and silver. But gradually Herne began to lose his hunting skills, much to the annoyance of the king who revoked the promotion. So bitterly ashamed Herne hung himself from a giant oak tree in Windsor Forest and his body mysteriously vanished during a thunderstorm.

Urswick never revealed the charm he put on Herne to the king and as each new chief-keeper was installed, they too lost their skills. Realising they would never get promotion, the game-keepers then begged Urswick to dispel the charm, which he agreed to on condition that they met him at the giant oak tree at midnight. When the keepers arrived at the oak tree Herne’s ghost appeared before them complete with his stag’s antlers. He ordered them to return the following night prepared for a hunt, which they did and when he reappeared he raced off, forcing them to chase him on horseback with their hounds, on and on through Windsor Forest.

But the game-keepers suddenly came to a halt when Urswick miraculously appeared before them. He demanded payment for stripping Herne of his game-keeping abilities. The payment would be that they had to join in Herne’s wild hunt forever.

So every night the hunt met at Herne’s Oak, riding forth with the horned ghost and raiding the forest taking deer until very few were left. King Richard was furious when he heard of their pursuits and decided to make a visit to the oak tree. Herne appeared to the king and learned of his anger at the state of his forest, but explained that he rode the hunt for vengeance. The king agreed to hang the game-keepers from that very oak tree on condition that Herne would haunt no more during his reign. The group of game-keepers were hung the next day.

Tradition says that Herne was not seen until after Richard II’s abdication in 1399 when once again he rode with the wild huntsman through the forest of Windsor collecting the souls of the dead. To this day the hunt is seen or heard in Windsor Forest and as far away as Cookham Moor and Huntercombe Manor which gets its name from the hunter.

One version of the legend warns:

Fly then, quickly make no stay,
For Herne the Hunter rides this way.

When Michael Praed grew tired of appearing in the series ‘Robin of Sherwood’, he was killed off and after memorial fire-arrows, it was left to the mystical Herne the Hunter to chose another face to fill the hood. But this time he was not a local from the destroyed village of Locksley but the upper-class Earl of Huntingdon, played by Jason Connery (son of Sean).

Picture Strip 7 : Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood

We have reached one of my favourite scenes in the film, when Robin and his father walk away into Sherwood Forest with Nottingham Castle perched menacingly on the hill in the background. It is Peter Ellenshaw’s magnificent artistry at its very best and Laurence has captured the image perfectly in this week’s edition of his hugely popular picture strip.

To read more about Peter Ellenshaw, the master of Matte Painting, or catch up with earlier editions of Laurence’s picture strip, please click on the relevant labels.

Perce Pearce's 'John Joyface'

Information on Perce Pearce (1899-1955) is scarce. It is only quite recently that I have managed to piece together details of his career thanks mainly to information from a couple of excellent Disney websites. If you click on the Label ‘Perce Pearce’ you will see my recent posts about his life.

In 1950, Pearce was sent to England to make the first live action movies for Disney, Treasure Island; to be followed by The Story of Robin Hood, The Sword and the Rose and Rob Roy. Each of these were produced by Disney and directed by Perce Pearce.

He had worked for Walt Disney since 1935 and was sequence director on his first feature length animated cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937. He was said to have been the ‘model’ for Doc. But according to some sources there was a love/hate relationship between them. This may account for very little information being available about Pearce, amongst the countless books about Uncle Walt and his magical empire.
Recently I discovered a little more about Perce Pearce’s early days as a cartoonist. His first published work was a series of cartoons for the Great Lakes Bulletin, a military newspaper serving the US Naval Training Centre at Great Lakes, Illinois. Pearce’s popular cartoon series was named after its hero, Seaman Si, The funniest "Gob" in the Navy and the humorous adventures of a Blue Jacket on the High Seas of Fun and Trouble.
The series ran in the paper and was collected into a soft-cover edition in 1917, and reprinted in book form in 1918. At the same time, Pearce did editorial cartoons and political caricatures for his news agency, some of which appeared in the New York Evening Post, and were later included in a 1917 article in Cartoons Magazine called "Under the Big Dome" by Elisha Hanson (v. 11, no. 4, Apr. 1917).

So I was delighted to receive this email from Deborah in America, during this week:

“I wanted to tell you about a cool chalk ware Indian I found signed Perce Pearce and dated 1927. It's obviously the work of someone with talent; when I found your blog I realized who. You're just about the only person to save him from obscurity. It's strange that he had such an interesting career but has been sidelined. If you've found out more I'd love to hear from you.”

So I have posted the pictures very kindly sent to me by Deborah, of the little chalk ware Indian known as John Joyface and signed by Perce Pearce c.1927. This model seems to be based on a character from Pearce’s early days as a strip cartoonist, and must be incredibly rare. So I have emailed Deborah back with an address of someone who might be able to help her.

St Mary's Church, Edwinstowe

Edwinstowe is a lovely little Nottinghamshire village.......the kind of place I would like to retire to, right next to Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre (what else could you possibly want?). There are some rather nice looking bungalows in Church Street, across from the cricket pitch, which I definitely have my eyes on!

The name Edwinstowe means the ‘holy place of Edwin.’ Edwin of Northumbria c. 586 – 12 October 632/633 was an important Anglo-Saxon king-the second Christian king in England, baptised by Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York in 627 AD. Edwin was killed at a battle in a small hamlet called Cuckney (then known as Hatfield) by Penda, King of Mercia. Edwin's decapitated body was secretly buried in a clearing in the forest, to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. By the time his supporters returned to collect the body to take it to York for a proper burial, people were already calling him Saint Edwin. His body was later interred at Whitby Abbey (another place associated with Robin Hood).

A small wooden chapel was erected on the spot where Edwin's corpse had laid, and this became the site of the present St. Mary’s Church. The Domesday Book states, ‘in Edenstou there is a church, a priest and four bordars*’ (slaves* who worked on the priest's lands). In 1175 Henry II had this church, along with many others built of stone as part of his penance for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett. Today, the carved heads of Henry and Beckett face each other amongst the stone pillars of the nave of the church.

It is likely that nearly all the English medieval monarchs visited this church at some time during a 200 year period, on their way to the nearby royal hunting lodge at King’s Clipstone. The villagers of Edwinstowe were bound by harsh forest laws, and courts to punish offenders were held frequently. In 1334 A.D. the Vicar of Edwinstowe, John de Roystan, was convicted of "venison trespasses," a major crime.

The tower of the curch is Norman and the porch, south door and font date from the 14th century. The broach spire was added to the Norman tower in 1400 A.D and the eight ornamental turrets date from around 1600.

By the main door of St. Mary’s Church stands the 14th Century font. This symbolises the entry into Christian life through baptism and is the traditional place for a font. Popular tradition has it that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married here in St Mary’s. There was certainly some sort of church here during any of the periods ascribed to Robin Hood and although the entrance has been refurbished, it is likely that it was here in the doorway that they would have been married (as was the tradition at the time).

Picture Strip 6: Disney's Story of Robin Hood

Part 6 of Laurence's fantastic picture strip from Walt Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952).

To see previous pages please click on the label Picture Strip.


With uncertainty about my job and quite a lot of holiday left, I took advantage of a quiet weekend at work and spent two days in Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire. I stayed at the lovely Forest Lodge and visited Mansfield and of course, my favourite place........ Sherwood Forest! I have plenty of pictures and information that I will share with you all, but firstly I want to show you an alarming discovery I made while in the gift shop.

On my first day in the forest it was quite cloudy, so I took the opportunity to have some dinner in the Forest Table. This is a lovely little restaurant with its walls decorated with a copy of nearly every ‘Robin Hood’ film poster you can think of. So I tucked into my baguette alongside, (yes you guessed it!) a full size copy of Putzu’s poster for the 1972 release of Disney’s Story of Robin Hood. Not a bad start!

It was starting to brighten up by now,  so I thought I would take a walk to the exhibition and have a look in the shop. There were a couple of books I eagerly bought, but not a lot else, just the usual toys and sweets. But just as I turned around to come out, something caught my eye. It was a clock decorated with characters from Disney’s Story of Robin Hood! I couldn’t believe it! Below were cups, plates and jugs with the same illustrations used in the book of the film, from 1952. But after closer inspection I noticed something very concerning-they did not carry any Disney copyright logo. In fact there is no indication that the images belong to a Disney motion picture. Now as you all know I care very deeply about this particular movie and its lasting legacy, so rather stunned, I hurriedly took note of the company that make these particular items and left the shop.

The Story of Robin Hood (the items actually just say Robin Hood) clocks, jugs, cups etc were also for sale in a gift shop in Edwinstowe, which is where I was able to take these pictures. Now I’m no expert on these matters, but IS this is an infringement of copyright as they are actually using illustrations from a book or am I over reacting-what do you all think?

Picture Strip 5: Disney's Story of Robin Hood

Part 5 of Laurence's fantastic picture strip from Walt Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). To see previous pages please click on the label Picture Strip.