The announcement in the April 1, 2014, issue of the Nottingham Post definitely attracted multiple readers:
THE bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood are believed to have been discovered in Maid Marian Way, in Nottingham.
The ancient remains were found by staff from North Midland Construction who were carrying out work outside Castle Sound and Vision.
Arrowheads, pottery and a sandstone plaque engraved with "RH" were also uncovered at the site, giving more clues to the person's identity.
Now, after carbon dating and DNA testing over the weekend, archaeologist Doug Skelton said there was "little doubt" the remains belonged to Nottingham's favorite son. "The arrowheads, pottery and other finds at the site all point to a date in the mid or late 13th century, and this is also consistent with the style of the lettering in the inscription," he said.
"Perhaps most exciting of all is that we were able to extract DNA from the bones and compare it to samples from living descendants of the Earls of Huntingdonshire.
"None of the pieces of evidence is conclusive by itself, but taken together they leave little doubt that we are looking at the remains of the historical Robin Hood."
Terry Wibberley, contract manager at North Midland Construction, said he was thrilled his company had made the discovery during work last Tuesday. .
"When we discovered the bones and the artefacts, we did have our suspicions that they may have something to do with Nottingham's most famous outlaw, but we didn't know for sure," he said. "It's just great that it has now been confirmed that it really is Robin Hood. Everyone at North Midland Construction is absolutely delighted that we have made such a notable discovery that will go down in history."
Nottingham City Council is now trying to decide how best to show off the exciting find.
"We are currently considering the best place to display the bones and artefacts to create a city center visitor attraction fit for a legend," said a council spokesman.
"We hope that through 3D computer modelling, we can allow the people of Nottingham and visitors who will flock to the city to finally come face to face with our world-famous outlaw."
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Ian Malcolm, said: "This is an incredible find which makes Leicester's spat with York over King Richard's bones look foolish.
"I can hardly believe that the legend has now been confirmed as reality and that my old foe has been lying all these years on the corner of Maid Marian Way and Friar Lane."
The response was so overwhelming that the hoax organizers were forced to admit in fooling the readers almost right away.
They acknowledged that the spoof discovery of Robin Hood’s bones on Maid Marian Way was the work of Jeff Allen, owner of Castle Sound and Vision, among others. Mr. Allen, who is also chairman of the Nottingham BID, said the idea came about after putting together a few pro-Nottingham chaps and adding in “a measure of wine.”
“Sooner or later someone is going to propose that finding the bones of Robin Hood would be a great thing to happen and like a lamb to the slaughter, propose it I did!”
“Frankly, I blame Leicester and Richard the Third,” he added. “From the time they found his bones in that car park it was only a matter of time before our (rather nicer) city managed to pull Robin Hood out of the hat (or more specifically his place of burial).”
After the drunken discussion became a reality, it took a lot of people to get involved to make this one of Nottingham’s most elaborate April Fools ever.
The chief executive of Nottinghamshire-based construction company North Midland Construction, Robert Moyle, offered the services of one of his construction teams to dig the hole. The City Council managed to sort out the permits and permissions in record time for the hole to be dug. Even Nottinghamshire Police were in on the secret.
Fake bones were found by Ian Hall, arrowheads were purchased online and Phil Snowdon carved the sandstone plaque for extra ‘evidence’ in the hole.
And don’t forget ‘archaeologist’ Doug Skelton aka Martin Findell, a local actor hired to play the part.
“Today, all has been revealed and it does give me an opportunity to thank everyone who has helped,” said Mr Allen. “I believe that there are not many cities that could have pulled off a stunt like this and just goes to show what a great place Nottingham is.”
“As a city we have a great sense of humour and we are able to co-operate and work hard, even if for no reward, to get things done.”
But would Mr Allen organise a stunt like this again?
“Over my dead body” says my wife Dianne, who got lumbered with the vast amount of organisation a spoof like this demands,” he admitted.
“Ah well, if I do decide to do it at least I know of a convenient hole to hide the body!”
What is Known on Robin Hood Death?
Well, the story on the surprisingly found Robin Hood remains draws attention on the real death and funeral details, as it exists in the legendary accounts.
The circumstances of Robin Hood's death are fairly well known. Realizing he is dying, Robin decides to be bled by his kinswoman, the prioress of Kirklees, a woman "skilled in physic." Will Scarlet is against this, but Robin sets out on the journey accompanied by his faithful comrade in arms, Little John. On the way to the priory, they meet an old hag by a stream who curses Robin...
On arrival at the nunnery, the prioress takes Robin into the gatehouse and sends Little John away. She then proceeds to bleed Robin accompanied by her lover, the convent priest Red Roger of Doncaster.
When he realizes that he is dying Robin summons Little John to his assistance by blowing three blasts on his hunting horn. When Little John arrives it is too late to save Robin, but he helps his beloved leader fire his last arrow from the gatehouse window, promising Robin that he will bury him where it falls. Little John vows to raze the nunnery to the ground and put all the nuns to the sword in revenge for the princess's vile deed, but Robin forbids him, reminding his distraught friend that it was their code never to hurt women.
Robin's grave, 60 yards from the (Kirklees) gatehouse - thought to be an improbable arrow shot for a dying man - is, today, neglected and overgrown and enclosed in rusted, twisted iron railings, erected in Victorian times.
However, the traditional site of Robin Hood’s grave at Kirklees estate in Yorkshire, has been the subject of controversy since the sixteenth century. There are doubts about its authenticity, and over the centuries, there have been conflicting accounts regarding the contents of the gravesite. There are two stones associated with it: the slab with the cross, and the stone with the epitaph.
in 1850, Sir George Armytage II placed a headstone with a date 1247, one hundred years before the Black Death of 1347, when Robert Hood died, with an epitaph that reads:
“Here undernead dis laitl stean laiz robert earl of Huntingtun near arcir ber az hei sa geud an pipl kauld im robin heud sick utlawz az hi an iz men vil england nibr si agen obiit 24 kal dekembris 1247”,
which when translated into modern English reads:
“Robert Earl of Huntingdon lies under this little stone. No archer was like him so good; his wildness named him ROBIN HOOD. For thirteen years, and something more, these northern parts he vexed sore. Such outlaws as he and his men, may England never know again. 8th November 1247.”
According to the Geste Robin Hood’s last wish was÷
“Lay me a green sod under my head another at my feet, my best bow beside me place, for truly t’was my music sweet, and make my grave of gravel and green which is most right and meet, give me length and breadth to lie so they will say when I am dead, HERE LIES BOLD ROBIN HOOD MY FRIEND HERE LIES BOLD ROBIN HOOD.”
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