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1577 - Holinshed, Raphael - Chronicles (5)

Allusion
Date 1577
Author Holinshed, Raphael et al.
Title Holinshed's Chronicles
Mentions Under year 1189: Little John flees to Dublin after Robin Hood 's death by betrayal at 'Bricklies' nunnery in Scotland. Little John demonstrates flight shooting on St Stephen's Green, giving name to hillock called Little John's Shot. Little John dies in Scotland. His skeleton 14 foot long. Name of Little John ironical.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-05-18. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-06-15.

Allusion

The names of the fieldes adioyning to Dubline.
SAint [sic] Stephens greene.
Hoggyng greene.
The Steyne.
Ostmantowne greene. In the further ende of this field is there a hole, commonly termed Scald brothers hole, a Laberinth reachyng two large myles vnder the earth. This hole was in olde tyme frequented by a notorious théefe named scaldebrother, wherin he would hyde all the bag and baggage he could pilfer. The varlet was so swifte on foote, as he hath eftsoones outrún the swiftest and lustiest yong men in all Ostmantowne, maugre theyr heds, bearing a potte or a panne of theyrs on his shoulders, to his den. And now and then, in derision of such as pursued hym, he would take hys course vnder the gallowes, which standeth very nigh hys caue (a fitte signe for such an Inne) and so beyng shrowded within his lodge, he reckened himself cocksure, none beyng found at that time so hardy as would aduenture to entangle himselfe within so intricate a maze. But as the pitcher that goeth often to the water, commeth at length home broke: so this lusty youth would not surcease from open catchyng, forcible snatchyng, and priuy prowling, to time he was by certain gaping groomes that late in wayte for him, intercepted, fleeing towards his couch, hauyng vpon his apprehension no more wrong done hym, then that he was not sooner hanged on that gallowes, through which in his youth & iollitie he was wont to run. There standeth in Ostmantowne greene, an hillocke named little John hys shot. The occasion procéeded of this.
 In the yere 1189. there ranged thrée robbers and outlawes in England, among which Robert hoode and little Iohn were chiefetaines, of all théefes doubtlesse the most courteous. Robert hoode beyng betrayed at a Noonry in Scotland called Bricklies, the remnaunt of the crue was scattered, and euery man forced to shift for himselfe. Wherupõ little Iohn was fayne to flie the realme, by sayling into Ireland, where he soiourned for a few dayes at Dubline. The citizens beyng done to vnderstand, the wanderyng outcast to be an excellent archer, requested hym hartily to trie how far he could shoote at randone. Who yeldyng to their behest, stoode on the bridge of Dublin, and shotte to that mole hill, leauyng behynde him a monument, rather by his posteritie to be woondered, then possibly by any man liuyng to be counterscored. But as the repayre of so notorious a champion, to any countrey, would soone be published, so his abode could not be long concealed: and therefore, to eschew the daunger of lawes, he fled into Scotland, where he dyed at a towne or Village called Morany. Gerardus Mercator, in his Cosmographye affirmeth, that in the same towne the bones of an huge and mighty man are kept, which was called little Iohn, amõg which bones, ye huckle bone or hipbone was of such largenesse, as witnesseth Hector Boethius, yt he thrust his arme through ye hole therof. And the same bone beyng suted to the other partes of his body, did argue the man to haue bene 14. foote long, which was a prety length for a little Iohn. Whereby appeareth, that he was called little Iohn ironically lyke as we terme him an honest man, whom we take for a Knaue in grayne. [...][1]

Source notes

I have silently replaced long 's' by ordinary 's', 'J' by 'I'. I have likewise silently omitted hyphens that occur at line endings. IRHB's brackets. Marginal note against line beginning "two large myles": "Scald brother"; against line beginning "tercepted, fléeing toward": ""Scald brother executed"; against line beginning "little John hys shot": "Little John"; against line beginning "In the yere 1189": "118 9" [sic]; against line beginning "Robert hoode beyng betrayed": "Robert hoode"; against line beginning "Village called Morany": "Little John deceased".
The passage recurs, with mainly trivial changes of spelling, in the 1587 edition, However, its is worth noting that the name of the alleged scene of Little John's death, "Morany" (1577) becomes "Morauie" (1587). The 1587 edition differs from that of 1577 as to the way it divides the text into paragraphs:

Saint Stephans gréene, Hegging gréene, the Steine, Ostmantowne gréene. In the further end of this field is there a hole commonlie termed Scald brothers hole, a labyrinth reaching two large miles vnder the earth. This hole was in old time frequented by a notorious théefe named Scaldbrother, wherein he would hide all the bag and baggage that he could pilfer. The varlet was so swift on foot, as he hath estsoones outrun the swiftest and lustiest yoong men in all Ostmantowne, maugre their heads, bearing a pot or a pan of theirs on his shoulders to his den. And now and then, in derision of such as pursued him, he would take his course vnder the gallows, which standeth verie nigh his caue (a fit signe for such an inne) and so being shrowded within his lodge, he reckoned himselfe cocksure, none being found at that time so hardie as would aduenture to intangle himselfe within so intricat a maze. But as the pitcher that goeth often to the water, commeth at length home broken: so this lustie youth would not surcease from open catching, forcible snatching, and priuie prolling, till time he was by certeine gaping groomes that laie in wait for him, intercepted, fléeing toward his couch, hauing vpon his apprehension no more wrong doone him, than that he was not sooner hanged on that gallowes, through which in his youth and iolitie he was woont to run. There standeth in Ostmantowne gréene an hillocke, named little Iohn his shot. The occasion proceeded of this.
 In the yéere one thousand one hundred foure score and nine, there ranged three robbers and outlaws in England, among which Robert Hood and little Iohn were cheefeteins, of all theeues doubtlesse the most courteous. Robert Hood being betraied at a nunrie in Scotland called Bricklies, the remnant of the crue was scattered, and euerie man forced to shift for himselfe. Wherevpon little Iohn was faine to flée the realme by sailing into Ireland, where he soiornied for a few daies at Dublin. The citizens being doone to vnderstand the wandering outcast to be an excellent archer, requested him hartilie to trie how far he could shoot at random: who yéelding to their behest, stood on the bridge of Dublin, and shot to that mole hill, leauing behind him a monument, rather by his posteritie to be woondered, than possiblie by anie man liuing to be counterscored. But as the repaire of so notorious a champion to anie countrie would soone be published, so his abode could not be long concealed: and therefore to eschew the danger of lawes, he fled into Scotland, where he died at a towne or village called Morauie. Gerardus Mercator in his cosmographie affirmeth, that in the same towne the bones of an huge and mightie man are kept, which was called little Iohn, among which bones, the hucklebone or hipbone was of such largenesse, as witnesseth Hector Boetius, that he thrust his arme through the hole thereof. And the same bone being suted to the other parts of his bodie, did argue the man to haue béene fourteene foot long, which was a pretie length for a little Iohn. Whereby appeereth that he was called little Iohn ironicallie, like as we terme him an honest man whom we take for a knaue in graine.[2]

Readers wishing to look up passages cited on IRHB in the original editions should be careful to note the book and chapter names etc. cited in IRHB's source references. The collations of the 1577 and 1587 editions of Holinshed are quite confusing, some sequences being paginated, some having leaf numbers, some neither. Note also that although the 1577 edition is in four volumes and that of 1587 in six, they were often bound (issued?) in two, respectively three, volumes. This is often reflected in PDFs of early editions.

Lists

Editions

Background

Also see

Notes

  1. Holinshed, Raphael: [Wolfe, Reyner]; [Harrison, William]; [Stanyhurst, Richard]. The Firste volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. Conteyning, the description and Chronicles of England, from the first inhabiting vnto the conquest. The description and Chronicles of Scotland, from the first originall of the Scottes nation, till the yeare of our Lorde. 1571. The description and Chronicles of Yrelande, likewise from the firste originall of that nation, vntill the yeare. 1547 (London, [1577]), , vol. III, ¶ A Treatise contayning a playne and perfect Description of Irelande, with an Introduction, to the better vnderstanding of the Hystories, appartayning to that Islande: compyled by Richard Stanyhurst, and written to the Ryght Honorable, Syr Henry Sydney Knight, Lorde Deputie of Irelande, Lorde president of Wales, Knight of the most noble order of the Garter, and one of hir Maiesties priuie Counsell within hir realme of England; The names of the ciuities, borroughes and hauen townes in Irelande. Cap. 3, leaf 12v. The passages in italics here are in Roman type in the printed text, body text being in Black Letter.
  2. The Holinshed Project: The Texts, with minor corrections by IRHB. I have silently omitted hyphens at line endings and substituted ordinary 's' for long 's' as in the text of the 1577 edition. The 1587 edition omits the heading but instead has this marginal note against the first line of the passage cited: "The names of the fields adioining to Dublin. Scaldbrother". Marginal note against line beginning "no more wrong done him": "Scaldbrother executed"; against "little John his shot": "Little John. 1189"; against "courteous. Robert Hood being betraied": "Robert Hood": against "of lawes, he fled": "little John deceased".