143: Robin Hood and the Bishop

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Apart from its appearance in later collections the only printings of this ballad were on sheets of the seventeenth century, the earliest being printed by Francis Grove c1620-55 (Wood Collection). It appears in the Garlands of 1663 and 1670 and later copies can be found in the Pepys and Roxburghe Collections. Child proposed the idea that both this ballad and 144 ‘RH and the Bishop of Hereford’ were influenced by the plot of ‘RH and the Monk’ in ‘The Gest’ (117). He relates three of the events included in it to other ballads and stories.

Bronson has little to say on this ballad except that the tune is designated as ‘RH and the Stranger’, which makes it yet another use of the 125/126 tune.

There are no definite versions found in oral tradition unless we allow the single line ‘And as he walked the forest through’ from Vermont, (Journal of American Folklore, LXIV, 131) but I’m sure a careful search through other ballads would turn up several places where this line occurs.