The real Robin?
The King's Remembrancer's Memoranda Roll of Easter 1262 notes the pardoning of the prior of Sandleford for seizing without warrant the chattels of one William Robehod, fugitive. This case can be cross-referenced with the roll of the Justices in Eyre in Berkshire in 1261, in which a criminal gang is outlawed, including William son of Robert le Fevere, whose chattels were seized without warrant by the prior of Sandleford.
There are numerous cases in the C13th & C14th of outlaws deliberately taking on the pseudonyms of Robin Hood and Little John...
This William son of Robert and William Robehod were certainly one and the same, and some clerk during transcription had changed the name. It follows that the man who changed the name knew of the legend and equated the name of Robin Hood with outlawry.
This is merely the earliest of several such references to Robehods or Robynhods, most of them outlaws, after the mid-C13th, and it provides a useful terminus ante quem for the existence of the legend. Robin Hood must have existed before 1261 for his name to have been misused in such a way.
We should not be surprised at such misuse. There are numerous cases in the C13th & C14th of outlaws deliberately taking on the pseudonyms of Robin Hood and Little John, and it seems likely that the original Friar Tuck who got accreted to the legend was one Robert Stafford who was active in Sussex between 1417 and 1429. Yet this in itself indicates just how difficult it is to tie Robin Hood down, since each misuse of the legend adds details of its own.
Taken from the BBC website