Roger Dodsworth tells us that Robin went to the Calder Valley from Loxley which is where he met Little John at Kirklees Priory that belonged to the Cistercians the same as Fountains Abbey that possessed many thousand of acres of rich pasture-land stretching across the North East of England into the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
The abbey’s success was due in no small measure to the lay-brothers who worked as manual labourers on the monastery’s estates in the granges, their numbers peaking at the height of its prosperity between 500-600 people Friar Tuck among them which is where according to the rhymes Robin and Friar Tuck met for the first time.
Apart from the scandal regarding the lifestyle of three nuns, Alice Raggid, Elizabeth Hopton, and Joan Heton who entertained male friends between the years 1306 to 1315 life will have been fairly uneventful. However in 1347 A. D., the great plague known as the Black Death swept over Europe. Among those who died of the plague were Robert Hood of Wakefield, Thomas Alayn, William of Goldesborough and others. They were buried in the cemetery of the priory where the Prioress laid “a very fayre stone” with all their names engraved.
This particular Robert Hood was a yeoman farmer and Thomas Alayn his next door neighbour was his attorney. We know from records that this particular Robert Hood was in court on Friday 13 December 1308, Feast of St. Lucy, on a charge of drawing blood from the wife of Henry Archer and he also drew blood from Juliana Horsse and was also charged with building his haystack in the common way (the highway). He was fined 12 pence for each offence.
He along with many more died in the Black Death and because it was a mass grave there were the names of many people engraved on it but unfortunatly as soon as anyone says it is the grave of Robert Hood people to put two and two together and making five assume it was the grave of the legendary Robin Hood.
Elizabeth De Staynton died in the Black Death in 1347 and Margaret De Savile became acting Prioress in 1348 becoming prioress propper in 1350 until 1360. Robin Hood would have been a young boy at this time. Fifty plus years later between 1402 and 1416 the prioress was Alice de Mounteney and living at nearby Mirfield was a branch of the Neville family who are noted for their red hair which was a feature of the prioress' lover who was nicknamed Red Roger. (Mirfield church is where people from the Kirklees estate were generally buried.)
The prioress and Robin Hood are said to have been related and this might have been through the Furnival family who were in Sheffield and related to both the Neville and Mounteney families. Sir Thomas Neville married Joan de Furnival of Sheffield; Matilda the daughter of Gerard de Furnival also of Sheffield married Arnold de Mounteney and Thomas Lord Furnival married Joan Mounteney in 1366.
Taking events in chronological order, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries Joan Kyppes the prioress surrendered the priory into the hands of the King in 1539. At that date it had eight inmates and the whole property amounted to £29 18s. 9d.
Then on the 31 May 1544 five years after the priory was valued at £29 18s. 9d. It was sold by the crown to John Tasburgh and Nicholas Savile for the massive sum of £987 15s 7d!
On 26 October 1565 Robert Pilkington and his wife, Alice Savile, conveyed the manor of Kirklees to John Armytage, the family maintaining possession until the twentieth century.
Then in 1850 Sir George Armytage II placed a headstone with a date 1247, one hundred years before the Black Death of 1347 when Robert Hood died, with an epitaph that reads: “Here undernead dis laitl stean laiz robert earl of Huntingtun near arcir ber az hei sa geud an pipl kauld im robin heud sick utlawz az hi an iz men vil england nibr si agen obiit 24 kal dekembris 1247” which when translated into modern English reads:
“Robert Earl of Huntingdon lies under this little stone. No archer was like him so good; his wildness named him ROBIN HOOD. For thirteen years, and something more, these northern parts he vexed sore. Such outlaws as he and his men, may England never know again. 8th November 1247.” According to the Geste Robin Hood’s last wish was÷
“Lay me a green sod under my head another at my feet, my best bow beside me place, for truly t’was my music sweet, and make my grave of gravel and green which is most right and meet, give me length and breadth to lie so they will say when I am dead, HERE LIES BOLD ROBIN HOOD MY FRIEND HERE LIES BOLD ROBIN HOOD.” These words they readily granted him, which did bold Robin please, and there they buried bold Robin Hood, near to the fair Kirkleys.”