Robin Hood Home of Loxley
The picture was taken from Castle Hill and shows the ancient village of Bradfield that was called Kirkton in Robin Hood day. The Royal Forest is over the hill and the road in front of the church goes over Strines Moor to Hathersage and then to Castleton where the Sheriff of Nottingham owned Peveril Castle that was used by the Norman nobility for hunting in the "Royal Forest of the Peak." Hathersage was on the Northumbria/Mercia, Yorkshire/Derbyshire boundary and Ringinglow Road from Sheffield to Hathersage was particularly wide so as not to give cover to highway men. The road in front of the white house on the right goes to the River Don and Wharncliffe Side about which Sir Walter Scott wrote, "and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song." From Wharncliffe Side the road takes the traveller to Penistone and Robin Hood's Grave at Clifton upon Calder. The road in the foreground is the road to Loxley. The Romans built a fort at Brough halfway between Hathersage and Castleton which is a direct route to Tickhill, Doncaster, Blyth, York, Watling Street, 'Robin Hoods Well,' Barnsdale, and the Saylis.
Both Roger Dodsworth and John Harrison writing in the early 1600’s confirm Little Haggas Croft on the edge of Loxley common that was noted for its outlaw activity as Robin Hood’s home. Before the Norman conquest as the seasons came round the Lord of the Manor, one of whom was Waltheof the Earl of Huntingdon, would invite the squires and nobility to his hunting lodge (aula) at Hallam Head where some of the best hunting in England could be had, with the result that the road from York and Scotland passing Loxley Common as it did would have been thronged with knights, barons, squires, and lords, among whom would have been some of the best archers and huntsmen in England.
A photograph published in the "Sheffield Telegraph" in November 1937 purported to show an oak beam said to be part of the cottage described by Harrison as "where Robin Hood was born." In 1887, it was said a forestry expert had declared it had been grown in the woodland nearby and was a thousand years old (bearing in mind we didn’t have carbon dating then). The gates for the rafters had been rudely fashioned by an unknown tool, and there were the remains of bracken with which the roof had been thatched.
About 1970 a new housing estate was built next to the site and the local Sheffield newspaper carried the following item. "Sheffield Council planning department is investigating the chopping down of trees in the legendary birthplace of Robin Hood. Residents of the new housing development, on Loxley Road, have chopped down trees near Normandale House, in which Robin of Loxley is said to have grown up." On the opposite side of the road is Loxley Common.
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were both administered by the Sheriff of Nottingham who held court alternately in Nottingham and Derby. See here. His area of jurisdiction came up to the Yorkshire/Derbyshire boundary which is midway between Hathersage and Loxley. The Sheriff of Nottingham owned property near Loxley.
Houses bordering on Little Haggas Croft, said to be the birthplace of Robin Hood. The cottage was on the hillock, there was a pond, like a duck pond but it is now silted up, a stream flows down the far side tumbling over rocks, ideal for cattle to drink from. Little Haggis Croft was on the route from York to Peveril Castle that belonged to the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was here outlaws lay in wait for unwary travellers on the edge of Loxley Common. They escaped down the hillside to Little Matlock where today we find the Robin Hood Inn. As the seasons came round the barons and their knights with their retinue passed through Loxley on their way to the hunting in the Royal Forest of the Peak and as the bow was a favourite weapon of the huntsman and with so many archers near his childhood home Robin Hood would have ample opportunity to learn from some of England's best marksmen.