A working class hero In earlier versions of the legend his status was that of a yeoman who had fallen foul of the law through injustice. In this role as a working class hero he successfully cocks a snook at the law and authority, gaining much sympathy and support from the peasants and yeomanry who saw themselves as oppressed by an all powerful royal hierarchy.
In Robin’s day Sherwood was one of the Royal Forests and was subject to the Forest Laws. These were designed to protect the game such as deer, boar, wolves or hares and game birds for the benefit of the king.
The penalty for breaking them was notoriously harsh. People living in or around a Royal Forest were subject to these laws and they were believed to be the cause of much resentment. The forest and everything in it belonged to the king and he alone could give permission for its use. This would only be given to his barons and noblemen on license and at a price. Ordinary people could not hunt, clear or cultivate land within in its bounds. Read more