126: Robin Hood and the Tanner
First appeared in the Garland of 1663 and there are seventeenth century broadside printings of this version in the Wood and Pepys Collections. Sheppard of London printed an upmarket broadside version 'Robin Hood and Arthur-A-Bland' c1800. Scarce in oral tradition despite Frank Purslow's curious statement in 'The Wanton Seed' that it is 'probably the best known of the RH ballads'. He prints the twelve stanza version collected in Hampshire to a tune variant of 'George Collins'. Sharp collected a seven stanza version in Somerset which mysteriously became extended to eleven stanzas when published. The only version to be collected in America (twenty-four stanzas) comes again from Martha Davis of Virginia and this version appears in Sharp's Appalachian collection and A K Davis's collection.
Bronson gives the Child text along with a tune 'Arthur a Bland' from 'The Jovial Crew' opera of 1731, and the two versions from the Sharp manuscripts.