Sunday, February 05, 2012

Weekday Cross, Hen Cross, Nottingham & Robin Hood.

There are two sites in Nottingham particularly associated with tales about Robin Hood entering the city disguised as either a butcher or a tanner to sell his wares on the market stalls. The first is Weekday Cross, on what was once Garner's Hill. This area was the busy centre of the original Saxon town of Snottingham, and would remain so until the Normans chose an alternative hill on which to build their Castle, an act which effectively divided the town into "French" and "English" boroughs. (See THIS LINK). A stone column still marks the spot where a weekday market was held, the old cross long since gone. The steps surrounding the original cross were also used as a place for reading out public proclomations. Across the road the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery stands where once was a Saxon fort, with dwellings carved out of the sandstone below. A few yards up the road is the Galleries of Justice, (formerly Shire hall), which held public executions as late as 1861. A set of stocks stood in this area, and beneath Shire Hall were once dungeons believed to have been in use as far back as King John's time. If so, it is not unreasonable to suggest that these were the dungeons said to have held Robin Hood after his arrest at nearby St Mary's (see THIS LINK).

Hen Cross, situated the other side of Nottingham Town Hall from the Market Square (see THIS LINK), was an ancient Saturday poultry market. By the mid 16th century the road was known as Hencrosse Row, suggesting it still had an identity separate from nearby Market Square, but in 1800 all trace of a cross marker was removed. Stories about Robin Hood say he came here disguised as a chicken vendor in order to spy on events in the city.

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