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1883 - Bayzand, William - Coaching in and out of Oxford

Allusion
Date c.1883
Author Bayzand, William
Title Coaching in and out of Oxford from 1820 to 1840
Mentions Robin Wood [Robin Hood]; Little John

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-03. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-09.

Allusion

Soon after leaving Whitchurch, we had two Fellows of [a] college, and they made a proposition to Joe Stephens, the coachman, that a verse of poetry extempore was to be made before they reached the Chequers Inn, Whitway, and if his was the best composition, they would give him [a] double fee. They were not long in repeating their verse. Not so with Stephens, for he was a long time thinking of his. We had reached the Common, and [were] within a 100 yards of the Chequers, when Stephens said, 'Gentlemen, I am ready,' –two pigs feeding on the green, belonging to Mr. Perkins, no doubt gave him the idea:
           Mr. Perkins had two pigs,
           As fine as one another;
           Robin Wood1 was one's name.
           Little John the other.'

     'Bravo, Stephens ! You have fairly beaten us, and you shall have the double fee with pleasure.'[1]

Source notes

Editors' brackets. P. 309 n. 1: "N.B. Wood and Hood are dialectically pronounced '´ood.'"

IRHB comments

William Bayzand, who wrote this anecdote in his memoirs, worked as a guard on the Mazepa coach from London via Oxford to Hereford in the years 1820-40. In 1840 or later he became janitor of Camera Radcliviana at Oxford. His MS memoirs, purchased by the Bodleian Library in 1884, were written, according to their title, when the author was in his 75th year. Based on this and the rare surname we can probably conclude that he is identical with a William Bayzand who was born in Worcestershire, 1808, and died in Oxford in 1886 aged 78.[2] This yields a date of writing of c. 1883. He would have been only 12 years when he started work on the coach. This sounds a little young for a "guard", but he may have started in another position. Bayzand does not say when the incident occurred. "Whitchurch" is Whitchurch-on-Thames. For other examples of 'Wood' for 'Hood', see the page on Wood for Hood. The allusion has not been included in previous lists or studies.

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