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Tours > Robin Hood's Yorkshire > Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey
Three miles south-west of Ripon, West Riding (274682)

Fountains Abbey has a well and wood connected with Robin's meeting with the Curtall Friar. An interesting extracts concerning the legend runs thus:

Yet for awhile let gay fancy beguile us with merry visions of the past. On this glade, the Curtal Friar of Fountains encountered Robin Hood, whom at length he threw into the Skell and, afterwards, fought to his heart's content. Then whistled out so many of his good ban dogs; but Little John let his arrows fly among them that "the Friar that had kept Fountain-dale seven long years and more" was brought to his sense in a trice. Presently we shall be seduced to halt at a shady knoll; and while reclining by the crystal well that still bears the outlaw's name, may pleasurably recall the rude romaunt that lingers in each youthful mind. Tradition points to a large bow and arrow, graven in the north east angle of the Lady Chapel, as a record of this dire affray. They bear no affinity to those symbols used by masons, but have, I fancy, induced the report mentioned by Ritson, that Robin's bow and arrows were preserved at Fountains Abbey.

Robert James Culverwell
"The Enjoyment of Life; or Health, Recreation and Rational use of Time, 1850"

Fountains Abbey

A short distance from the ruins by the side of the path there is a recess, arched with stone and fringed with foliage. It is known by the name of Robin Hood's Well, and so designated from its proximity to the presumed arena where the traditional combat between the outlaw and one of the monks of Fountains took place, upon which both the legend and ballad, Robin Hood and the Curtall Friar have been founded. Commenting upon this

. . . if, in imagination, this roofless and tenantless pile of Fountains could be restored and peopled with grave Cistercians, habited in coarse white robes and black hoods, some gayer personages in Lincoln green might intrude upon the scene, and the foreground be enlivend by the aquatic adventures of Robin Hood, and the merry outlaws' encounter with Friar Tuck and the ban dogs of the Abbey.

George Parker
"Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey, 1890"

This dream was, in fact, realised by the play Robin Hood and Ye Curtall Fryer performed at Fountains Abbey in 1886, as part of the Ripon Millenary Celebrations.

Next Stop: Scarborough

Click to review The History of Robin Hood

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