[The Orygynale Chronicle
was compiled for Andrew of Wyntoun's patron Sir John of Wemyss in the 1420s in Scotland. Andrew was an Augustinian canon of St. Sers Inch, a religious house set on an island in Loch Leven, and a daughter house of the great St. Andrew's priory. The chronicle is strongly pro-Scottish in tone, especially severe on the malpractices of Edward I in his war against the Scots and his treatment of the national hero William Wallace. In the period of these wars, under the year 1283, Andrew mentions two forest outlaws (waythmen,
i.e., men who lie in wait) from the long turbulent area of the borders. They operated, it seems, both just south of the border near Carlisle in Inglewood (meaning English Wood
), and much further south in England in Barnsdale. Andrew's apparent approval of their efforts and his report of the common praise of them is no doubt related to the fact that they were enemies of the English crown and its officers. After the battles of Dunbar (1296) and Falkirk (1298) William Wallace and the Scots took to the forests themselves, and many later people saw resemblances between Robin Hood and the Scottish nationalist outlaw (Spence, 1928).
The reference to Barnsdale is surprising, as it is far to the south, but it has been argued that this may refer to the forest of Barnsdale in Rutland, not that in Yorkshire where the Gest of Robyn Hode
is set. In the Middle Ages the royal forest of Barnsdale in Rutland was owned by the Earl of Huntington, and this title was closely connected to the royal house of Scotland (Knight, 1994, p. 31). Internal evidence suggests this fact came to Wyntoun's notice: the language of the reference is rather oddly amplified, and it may be that there was an earlier popular jingle which ran:
Litil Iohun and Robert Hude Waythmen war in Ingilwode.
It may be that Andrew's discovery, through royal contacts, of the Barnsdale Robin Hood might have led him to recast the couplet into the slightly awkward four lines he offers.]
Go To Selection From Walter Bower's Continuation of John of Fordun's Scotichronicon (c. 1440)
Litil Iohun and Robert Hude
Waythmen war commendit gud;
In Ingilwode and Bernnysdaile
Thai oyssit al this tyme thar trawale.
Forest outlaws; praised