History & Legend
We’re on a mission – to uncover, share and celebrate the rich heritage of Sherwood Forest, a former medieval Royal Forest stretching for miles and teeming with hidden history.
Find out about our latest heritage projects, made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and lottery players.
We’re unveiling the secrets of World War 2 history within Sherwood Forest in our Spirit of Wartime Sherwood Forest project.
And let’s not forget Robin Hood. History or legend – you decide.
Discover Sherwood's History
Hunting for History
WW2 and sherwood forest
Spirit of Wartime Sherwood
Thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re running a ‘people powered’ history project to uncover the WW2 secrets of Sherwood and North Nottinghamshire.
Become an oral history recorder, help archaeologists map WW2 remains, help write a new tourism trail, and take place in fun community activities. Our Project Officer Susie has lots of projects you could get involved with.
Get a taste of what we’ve been up to on Susie’s blog page.
Old Accounts of Sherwood Forest
Many modern books have been written about the history of Sherwood Forest, such as Dr Ian Rotherham’s excellent “Sherwood Forest and the Dukeries.”
There are also fascinating historical accounts, such as an article on the “Last perambulation of Sherwood Forest, 1662.” The perambulation was a way of marking and recording the legal boundaries which once defined the geography of Sherwood Forest.
www.nottshistory.org.uk contains a wealth of source material on the history of Sherwood Forest and Nottinghamshire.
Mercian Archaeology also have an informative list of articles about Sherwood Forest archaeology, and periodic training field schools.
A Forest Village Through Time
Edwinstowe, once at the heart of Sherwood Forest, is an attractive village with an active historical society. The parish church of St Mary’s is said to be the place where Robin Hood married Maid Marian.
Coal mining history is also important here. The former Thoresby Colliery is now closed and its site under redevelopment. But not far away is the fascinating volunteer run Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum where visitors can explore the heritage of the industry.
Laxton – A Unique Survival
You may have learned in school history lessons about the medieval ‘strip farming’ system.
Did you know that the Sherwood Forest village of Laxton is one of the last places in Europe where it still exists.
A legally constituted manorial court to arbitrate on boundary disputes and other matters still meets annually – in the village pub!
Archaeology & History
Sherwood Forest is legendary, but the real history of Sherwood as a medieval hunting forest is revealed by archaeology and historical documents.
Our associates Mercian Archaeology have carried out numerous surveys and community excavations, working with local people to unveil this hidden history.
And work to unveil the history of Sherwood Forest continues. You could help. Contact us to find out how.
History or legend?
Sherwood Forest is forever associated in legend, song and story with Robin Hood.
Learn more about the history behind the legend.