Do you believe Robin Hood was real? This is a question Ade Andrews has been answering for three decades as Nottingham’s resident outlaw, providing tourists with education and entertainment on his Robin Hood Town Tours.
A local legend, ‘Robin Hood’ began his last public tour of the year at the Cross Keys Pub, this the meeting point for the famed outlaw, who enjoys a quick drink and a few pictures with locals.
He then gathers his tour group; his merry men and women for the day, as they follow him through the heights and literal depths of the city’s history.
Ade Andrews has given the legend of Robin Hood a life of its own for over 30 years.
By turning the famous thief into a historian, entertainer and master storyteller, Ade has used aspects from his own life to bring a folklore hero back to Nottingham.
The tour continues in the drizzling rain, from St Marys Church to the deep caves below The Salutation Inn, but Robin keeps everyone warm with tales of dashing heroism and passionate speeches about the city’s history.
” I never really paid attention to history in school. But when its like this, right in front of you, its far more interesting.”
At the end of the tour, in darkened corner of Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem with a beer in one hand and a sword on the table, the man behind the myth recounts what made him put on the green tights all those years ago.
“I came to Nottingham when I was twenty after I finished my degree in London, I had long hair and a sword, which I gained through working at medieval events and re-enactments.
“I spent those hot summer days drinking ales outside Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub with daydreams of Robin Hood.
“I’m a creative, so I knew there was that gap in market for someone to tell Robin’s story…Nottingham’s story, so I thought, I will become Robin Hood,” he said.
He added: “The great thing about Robin being a folk legend is that his image has adapted throughout history, my Robin has elements that people are familiar with, from his costume to his personality.”
To those who join his Robin Hood Town Tours, it is Robin Hood who has robbed the rich history of Nottingham and given it back to the people in a refreshing way, providing locals and tourists with a new perspective on the past.
One of the tourists on the tour, an international student from Chile, who is studying folklore says she has always loved the story of Robin Hood.
“Having the man himself tell you his life story is a great idea,” she said.
Another tourist praised Ade’s narration, saying that it brought history to life.
“I never really paid attention to history in school. But when its like this, right in front of you, its far more interesting,” they said.
“We got a great history lesson. It was real and captivating. It was like having a look at the city with the real Robin Hood. We saw places and heard stories we would not have heard otherwise.”- Markus R, tripadivsor
Despite Robin Hoods worldwide fame, it is here in Nottingham that Ade feels Nottingham’s most famous son hasn’t been used to his full potential.
“It’s a trick Nottingham has missed, Robin Hood should be celebrated and recognised more, he’s something that the city should harness.
“If he was an American icon, I bet we would see him on the big screen just like these superhero movies, his story is just as relevant now than it ever has been,” he said.
When asked about any plans of hanging up his bow, Ade said he plans to keep going, whether as Robin or his other historical characters like Ezekiel Bone; one of his other personas whose tours tell a darker tale about Nottingham’s history.
For Ade Andrews, the legend he merged with over 30 years ago is alive and well here on the streets of Nottingham.