Well, obviously I didn’t do enough research before I wrote Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head. In the story, I have King Edward making a royal visit to Nottingham Castle, annoying the Sheriff no end. Now I find, through an article in Archaeology Today, that Edward probably would have hung at The King’s Houses instead. This was a royal complex at the edge of Sherwood Forest that was something like a cross between a country club and a convention center. It featured (of course) a large hunting park, as well as a private pond stocked with fish for those inconvenient fast days. A great place if you were an aristocrat, but as far as Robin, or any of the local villagers were concerned, it would have been a case of “there goes the neighborhood.”
Today nothing remains but a few tottering, ruined walls. I can’t find anything on the Archaeology Today site about this, but you can read all about it here. Note that this brochure calls the site “King John’s Palace”, but the text shows that it was very much in use during the period I’ve placed my Robin Hood story, the early to mid 1300s.
If you follow the link above, you may even find out what a “caracute” was.
Moving over to Nottingham, I found an amazing 2013 Gizmodo article from a link at Archaeology Today. It turns out that Nottingham sits over a network of sandstone caves, many or most of them artificial. They range from beer cellars used by local pubs to one nasty oubliette where, legend has it, Robin himself was once imprisoned. Sometimes the caves are connected by tunnels or labyrinths. It occurs to me that they might have offered a handy way to get in and out of Nottingham unseen…which may be how Robin wound up making his escape!
The article about Nottingham’s underground world can be found here.