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Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green


Robin Hoods Grave --a modern mystery!  Even more terrifying than the Blair Witch Project and a thousand times more intriguing than any Brother Caedfel mystery, SECRETS OF THE GRAVE and it's sequel SPIRIT OF THE GREENWOOD reveal, for the first time, the true story of the life and death of Robin Hood. Enter the dark, mysterious woods of Kirklees in West Yorkshire, and visit, with writer historian Barbara Green, the forest of Barnsdale where Robin roamed and the ruined priory gatehouse of Kirklees Nunnery where he was treacherously slain by the hand of an evil nun. Written testimonies from those who have experienced the ghostly presence of Robin and his comrades, whose spirits haunt this ancient forest, form the basis of both books, while the life of Robin, as told in SPIRIT OF THE GREENWOOD, accords fully with the Lytell Geste,(Robin's first biography) printed in the fifteenth century. This, one might think, could be the basis for a best selling book, but such seems to not to be the case, for ,according to the "experts" the public do not want to knw the truth and prefer to be fed the myth of Sherwood Forest and the dastardy deeds of the Sheriff of Nottingham, not to mention Richard the Lionheart, who does not even belong in the story at all!

The mystery of Robin's gruesome death at Kirklees, it would seem, is not the only inexplicable phenomenon surrounding the legend ! Why ARE people prevented from learning the true facts about the oulaw's life, due to the propogation of a fantasy by the media, and why is his famous grave at Kirklees, kept in a state of secrecy and neglect - and who is responsible for this bizarre situation? Dare you ask ? Dare you investigate and............. dare YOU print the truth ? Or is Robin Hood's legend to remain distorted out of all recognition, and the real man lost to future generations forever ?

"No one could see anything in the dense, suffocating blackness, but following Mark's directions we stumbled on forward through the barrier of writhing, intertwining bushes and trees; then suddenly, we found ourselves in a clearing, where, looming out of the gloom, rearing up before us in the light of our flickering torches, a massive,broken edifice was revealed . A huge ship of stone, wrecked in the everglades of Kirklees, listing crazily into the leaping shadows. We stood transfixed with fear and awe as we gazed upon the fallen pillars and twisted railings which were all that remained of Yorkshire's buried treasure -Robin Hood's Grave."

"My name is Ozymandias,king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck,boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
SHELLEY

Robin Hood's death is recorded in the ballad ROBIN HOOD, HIS DEATH AND BURIAL and briefly in the GESTE. According to the literature Robin is taken ill and decides to go to Kirklees Priory to be nursed by the prioress, who was "nye of his kin" and reputedly skilled in healing. On the way to the nunnery Robin is cursed by a witch - for reasons unknown, as the ballad is unfortunately incomplete. When Robin arrives at the nunnery, Little John, who has accompanied him, is sent away and the prioress proceeds to bleed Robin by opening a vein in his arm - standard medieval medicine, though unlikely to do anyone much good !

"Shee laid the blood irons to Robin Hood's vaine
Alacke the more pitye!
And perct the vaine, and let out the bloode,
That full red was to see. At first it bled,the thicke,thicke blood,
And afterwards the thinne,
And well then wist good Robin Hoode,
Treason there was within."
DEATH, V 16-17

2) According to the legend, Robin summons Little John with three blasts of his trusty hunting horn and the giant rushes to his comrade' s assistance, but alas,he is too late and Robin is already dying. With his last ounce of strength Robin fires his last arrow from the priory gatehouse window, requesting that where it falls he should be buried. Little John is beside himself with rage and grief and threatens to raze the nunnery and all its inhabitants to the ground.

"A boon,a boon," cried Little John,
"Master ,I beg of thee."
"What is that boon,"quoth Robin ,
"Little John,thou begs of me?"
"It is to burn fair Kirkley Hall,
"And all their nunnery."
"I ne'er hurt fair maid in all my life
"Nor at my end shall it be;
"But give me my bent bow in my hand,
"And my broad arrows I'll let flee.
"And where this arrow is taken up,
"There shall my grave digged be,
"Lay me a green sod under my head,
"And another at my feet.
"And lay my bent bow by my side
"Which was my music sweet,
"And make my grave of gravel and green,
"Which is most right and meet.
"Let me have length and breadth enough
"With a green sod under my head:
"That they may say when I am dead
"HERE LIES BOLD ROBIN HOOD."

The grave, six hundred yards from the gatehouse, was enclosed in iron railings in the nineteenth century. Today it is neglected and overgrown and little known to the general public. It bears the inscription:

Here underneath dis laitl stean
Laz robert earl of Huntintun
Ne'er arcir ver as hie sa geud
An pipl kauld im robin heud
Sick utlawz as his as iz men
Vil england nivr si agen
THE DEATH OF ROBIN HOOD
At first it bled the thicke thicke blood
And afterwards the thinne
And well then wist good Robin Hood
Treason there was within

3) The death of Robin Hood is a well known legend. He was treacherously bled to death by the wicked prioress of Kirklees nunnery, a small Cistercian house near Brighouse, West Yorkshire. The outlaw's gory and unheroic end is shrouded in mystery. Who was the evil nun and why did she commit so foul a murder? What was the role of Red Roger of Doncaster, who was present at the scene of crime? Was he a priest and also the prioress's lover? Who WAS the prioress? Was she Dame Elizabeth de Stainton, whose grave can still be seen at Kirklees, or was it Sister Mary Startin, who died of the Black Death in 1350?

All that is left of this medieval whodunit is a ruined grave, hidden in deep woodland, and the derelict priory gatehouse of Kirklees where Robin was so gruesomely done to death. Was the famous outlaw a vitim of thwarted passion,pagan sacrifice, bad nursing, accident, natural causes or - vampirism ? The entire area where this horrific drama took place is shrouded in ,according to one old book, " .....a mystery which local people only reluctantly tried to penetrate.The mystery was helped physically by the thick shroud of trees that surrounded the place and was sustained by local tales of prioresses and nuns and of the death of Robin Hood......."
THE HAUNTING OF ROBIN HOOD’S GRAVE

"Terribilis Est Locus Iste" Dreadful is this place - Abbe Berenger Sauniere, Renne-le-Chateau.

"The Armytage family lived over the brow of the hill on a splendid site once occupied by Cistercian nuns. It was called Kirklees. There was more than an insularity which set the mansion apart. There was a mystery about it which local people only reluctantly tried to penetrate. The mystery was helped physically by the thick shroud of trees that surrounded the place and was sustained by local tales of ghosts of prioresses and nuns and or the death of Robin Hood whose grave is so imperturbably marked as lying within Kirklees grounds in spite of any facts which might suggest to the contrary. " THE LAND OF LOST CONTENT.

This would appear to be the first reported mention of ghostly activity around Robin Hood's Grave, but considering the history of Robin's death - cursed by a witch on his way to the nunnery, murdered by an apostate nun and cast into an unhallowed grave - it is hardly surprising that the site is reputed to have unquiet spirits hovering around. An elderly lady, Mrs Edith Ellis, witnessed silver arrows in the sky above Kirklees when visiting her old aunt at Hartshead in the early years of the last century. She also reports hearing Robin calling for Marian.

Another sighting was made by a tenant farmer of Kirklees in 1926. "One day," he recalls, " I was sitting on the grave shooting rabbits. As I was about to shoot I felt a tap on my shoulder, and my shotgun went off accidentally, removing two of my front teeth on its recoil. There was nobody to be seen at the time. On another occasion I was on my way home from the Three Nuns. As I was walking through the woods something fell out of a tree and knocked me to the ground. When I got up I could see the old gatehouse. In the window I could clearly see a man with a bow. My family always said it was the drink, but it was Robin Hood's ghost."

In 1963 guitarist Roger Williams took an unofficial stroll up to Robin's grave with a friend. About twenty yards from the grave he saw a white robed woman who suddenly seemed to glide towards the two men. What made Roger's hair stand on end was how silently she moved over the twigs and bracken. At about five yards from Roger the woman stopped and stared at him with "dark,mad eyes." Then she moved away and vanished. It was 2.30 p.m. on a bright,sunny day. Roger Williams saw the same apparition again in 1972, in full daylight, and again she stopped a few yards from him and his companion. This time Roger remembered a few more details. The woman was wearing a long white dress with a square neck and long sleeves which accords with the habit of a Cistercian nun. Again she looked at him angrily before moving off, but the eerie sequel to this experience was that Roger's house then experienced a series of strange noises and bangings. After this, Roger swore that "wild horses would not drag me up there again."

Mark Gibbons, one of the founder members of Gravewatch, had a similar experience
in 1998. With other members of the group he had gone up to try and find Robin's grave one moonlit night, but they had got lost. Suddenly Mark saw a white figure pointing in a certain direction - which turned out to be where the grave was situated. Mark also experienced a sensation of great evil and hatred.

Shortly after this a reporter Judith Broadbent, from the Dewsbury Reporter, and a photographer colleague, Sue Ellis were allowed to visit the gravesite by the owner. While wandering around she heard heavy footsteps behind her and she was pulled to the ground by invisible forces. She shouted "get away" and her friend came rushing to help her. Her camera had jammed while trying to photograph the grave. A week later Sue was taken seriously ill and was paralysed f from the neck downwards for two weeks. The two reporters later wrote this article up for Yorkshire Life magazine, much of its content being taken from Yorkshire Robin Hood Society literature, including the next sighting, which appeared in THE UNEXPLAINED magazine in 1992, prior to the publication of their article.

This was when vampires entered the arena, introduced to the increasing enigmatic situation by a Bishop of the Holy Grail Church and patron of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society. In 1992 the Bishop and two colleagues, attempted an exorcism at Kirklees. This had come about as a result of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society asking for the site to be blessed by the local vicar. Unfortunately permission to perform such a ceremony had been unequivocally refused to both clergymen. The Bishop, however, was made of sterner stuff than the local pastor ! He was renowned for his involvement in the notorious Highgate Vampire affair in the nineteen seventies and it occurred to him that vampires might be behind the legend of Robin being bled to death and this needed urgent spiritual intervention - and he was the man for the job, with or without official sanction ! Suffice to say that on his clandestine visit to the grave the bishop came across the body of a blood drained goat, diabolical rune signs of the priory gatehouse, fingr width holes in the ground round the grave - suggesting vampiric activity - and was confronted by a darkly clad woman who turned into a hag with red staring eyes.

A further sighting by another nocturnal visitor proved a terrifying experience when she saw two figures hovering in the trees surrounding the grave, who she took to be the evil prioress and her paramour Red Roger of Doncaster. " I felt, and saw, what I can only describe streams of evil pouring out of the trees towards me" the witness stated. A lady from Nottingham, who visited the grave in the summer of 2000, experienced a psychic communication with Robin at the graveside, as did Robin Hood expert John de Locksley of the London Robin Hood Club, who also boldly battled through the giant ferns, murderous brambles and other lethal obstacles of the Kirklees rain forest to stand by his hero's grave one wild,wet October night the same year !

It is true that Robin's grave was excavated in an amateurish way by a Victorian Armytage (who was reputed to be in his cups at the time) and the ground beneath found to be undisturbed, but the many historical documents naming Kirklees as Robin's final resting place cannot be ignored. The fact is, his bones could lie anywhere on that hillside, while a gravestone resembling the original one drawn by Dr Johnstone, is to be found in nearby Hartshead churchyard - to where it may have been moved during the Civil War.

5) Many visitors to the grave have recorded their experiences for posterity, including the following quote from a Victorian tourist :
"I had the strangest emotions when I first stood over the grave of this old forest hero. I stood there and had no words, nor can I find any now to tell what my feelings were. Bravehearted Robin ! Thou hast found a fit resting place in this glorious park, among these solemn yews and silent trees ."A hundred years later it is a different story:
"There it was, looming out of the dark, a massive, broken edifice, a huge ship of stone, wrecked in the everglades of Kirklees. Fallen pillars and twisted railings were were all that remained on Yorkshire's buried treasure. We had found Robin Hood's Grave."
MARK GIBBONS, SECRETS OF THE GRAVE.

Maybe the last word should be with Victorian poet, George Searle Phillips, a friend of the Brontes, who visited the grave in 1848, and wrote an epic poem, a small section of which is printed below :

Tread lightly o'er the earth and speak no word
Till the Great Spirit doth unloose your tongues
For where those yew trees nod their funereal plumes
Upon the highest platform of the hill,
Lies gentle Robin Hood, his mighty heart
All muffled up in dust and his bright eyes
Quenched in eternal darkness. Never more
Shall the woods echo to his bugle horn,
Or his unerring arrow strike the deer
Swift flying, till it hits the bloody grass

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greenwych
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

The case of what has become known as the Kirklees Vampire has no parallels with the Highgate Vampire investigation save for occult symbols being discovered in the vicinity plus the blood-drained carcasses of animals. But any comparison ends at that point.

Enter Robin Hood, or, at least, the legend of the English outlaw.

The story of Robin Hood being bled to death by his cousin, the prioress of Kirklees, is recorded in a Sloane manuscript. He is said to have died without the sanctity of holy unction and his body was supposedly interred 650 yards from the Kirklees priory gatehouse. Whether he is actually entombed in the Kirklees grave bearing a much later tombstone is a matter open to much speculation. The inscription reads: “Here underneath dis laitl stean Laz Robert earl of Huntingtun … etc.”

Sir Samuel Armytage fell and died when his horse was terrified by something as he rode past the tomb. Prior to this he had, together with Robert Barr, attempted an exhumation of the grave. However, they had dug only a yard deep when they quit. Despite being the worse for drink, something had so disturbed them that they ran off into the night.

Land of Lost Content, the Luddite Revolt (published in 1812) records: “The Armytage family lived over the brow of the hill on a splendid site once occupied by Benedictine (Cistercian) nuns. It was called Kirklees. There was a mystery about it which local people only reluctantly tried to penetrate. The mystery was helped physically by the thick shroud of trees that surrounded the place, and was sustained by local tales of ghosts of prioresses and nuns and of the death of Robin Hood whose grave is so imperturbably marked as lying within Kirklees grounds in spite of any facts which might suggest to the contrary.”

There is a Yorkshire claim that the legendary outlaw Robin Hood is based on a certain Robert of Wakefield whose wife was named Matilda. Hence Robert and Matilda become “Robin and Marion.” There is a problem with this theory owing to the fact that scholars are agreed that written references about the outlaw Robin Hood significantly predate when Robert and Matilda were born. Also, scholars do not believe the “Maid Marion” aspect to have any validity. There is no evidence that she existed. Robin Hood himself could have been any one of innumerable scoundrels and cut-throats of a period covering more than a century, and it might well have been a collective name. But the important point is that references to this person or persons certainly existed before the time when Robert Hode of Wakefield himself came into existence; so it cannot be him.

There is more than one grave claimed by local enthusiasts to be the tomb of Robin Hood in West Yorkshire, but none seem to be anything more than a much later adaptation. The Kirklees grave with its erroneous Victorian inscription is probably not the tomb of Robin Hood. However, the fact that Robert of Wakefield was not Robin Hood does not necessarily rule out any possibility of this being the outlaw's tomb. The two matters are not mutually exclusive. And the tomb itself is only one of a number of graves, mostly unmarked, in that immediate vicinity.

An application was made by the Vampire Research Society at the end of November 1988 to Lady Margarete Armytage, the late owner of Kirklees Hall Estate who died in April 2008, to visit the burial site alleged to be that of Robin Hood on unconsecrated ground. A request to hold a nocturnal vigil near the grave in question was also made along with sundry queries. Back in 1988, amid a lot of growing press speculation about sinister presences and vampires, this intitial request was perhaps understandably turned down.

Bishop Manchester has offered to bless the grave(s) in question and, should it be found necessary, exorcise the unquiet presence. Further information about the Kirklees mystery can be found at the following link:

http://www.gothicpress.freeserve.co.uk/The%20Kirklees%20Vampire.htm

greenwych
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

Indeed, all the above is in my book, as quoted, and also the Bishop under the Byronic alias of Ruthven Glenarven, actually went up to the grave without permission, as published in his book the Vampire Hunters Handbook and the artocle in the Unexplained, called the Kirklees Vampire, 1991, written by himself. So we are in agreement!

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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

The alias claimed by Barbara Green to have been used twenty years ago was indeed employed by more than one private member of the Vampire Research Society to protect their identity, but not by Bishop Seán Manchester who, as a well-known public figure, had no need to hide his identity and invariably always signed with his real name.

I really don't understand what Barbara Green's point is regarding the bishop visiting the grave "without permission" to hold a vigil two decades ago?

Has she not been to the grave many times without consent? Did she not help orchestrate a trip to the grave with occultists who were filmed on video in 2005? Did she not provide her local nespaper, the Brighouse Echo, with photographs of that illicit occult ceremony held on the top of the grave?

greenwych
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

Indeed I have never denied going to the grave or that I am Barbara Green. On the other hand the bishop has, if not a ctually denied--I will be kind--has evaded the issue that he has claimed to have visited Robin Hoods Grave without permission though he still doffed his cap--or should we say mitre--to the Late Lady Armytage. He has written and published this himself, so he can hardly deny it, though he seems to manage to do so. The story is in the two published works that I have already mentioned.

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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

Due to the distressed cries from so many in the area who sought action over what was perceived to be an urgent situation, Bishop Seán Manchester decided to hold a vigil, accompanied by two trusted assistants, close to the grave. This was two deacdes ago. He has never denied that his vigil near the grave was without the authorisation of the landowner. The bishop does not believe he would investigate any further without proper consent should these same circumstances once again prevail. There have been no urgent developments to warrant him doing anything further without the express permission of the new landowner.

The Vampire Research Society is nevertheless aware of a pseudo-occult publicity-stunt "ceremony" that was filmed and photographed on the evening of 20 April 2005 by Red Monkey Films in collaboration with yourself and three others, one of whom has criminal convictions for graveyard desecration and vandalism. No permission was sought and none was given for this behaviour and the landowner threatened those wanting to use footage illegally gained on that evening at the grave with an injunction.

Matt.H
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

OMG... it must be awesome being a real bishop and busting vampires too. We need an interview with Archbishop Manchester on here ASAP!

greenwych
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

Whose "distressed cries" were those? I would love to hear. A bit of a whitewash of the situation, as it is alleged to have happened--not that anyone actually believes the Bishop ever set foot on the Kirklees Estate and the whole episode was a figment of his imagination, forsooth, but according to his published work and website, he did indeed go forth to slay the Kirklees vampire--not that he succeeded anyway so the "distressed" populace was left still distressed and stuck indoors at Clifton unless they cared to brave the vampire infestation---however, the Bishop went up and lurked in the woods with two assistants--unamed---and saw something nasty and horrid so strode forth after getting his candlebrum out and shouted "Behold the Light" then they scarpered back to Highgate!

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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

If you - and you can only speak for yourself - do not believe that Bishop Seán Manchester "ever set foot on the Kirklees Estate" why did you claim yesterday in a post on this thread that he "actually went up to the grave without permission"?

You cannot criticise him for holding a vigil without authorisation from the landowner and then the next day claim he didn't do anything because he wasn't even there.

Either accuse your enemy of one thing or the other.

You appear to want your cake and eat it.

greenwych
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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

Well its really the bishop who wants his cake and to eat it. If he went to Kirklees he trespassed--like everyone else, no excuses or wiffle waffly excuses about desperate people, but if he wasn't a naughty boy and didn't trespass,that is he made the story up-- in which case he is free to tell everyone else off for their misdemenours of trespassing ,if not he told a fairy story--that is lies--about going. I have no proof either way, only what he has said, either of hsi versions could be true or false. If he went then he needs to admit it openly and admit he trespassed and stop telling other people off for trespassing,as that is what he has written by his own fair knib then I will accept his version that he went and ergo, trespassed.

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Re: Spirit Of The Greenwood by Barbara Green

When he has his cake,dont forget to have it with a cup of tea!



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