LEGENDARY outlaw Robin Hood was the first rhubarb king of Wakefield.
New historical evidence has been uncovered that proves Robin Hode, of Newton Hill, farmed and sold the the fruit as animal feed and medicine not only around Yorkshire but also overseas. It also shows that Robin may have first funded his outlaw gang with his thriving rhubarb business. A ledger, dating back to 1314 found by Avril de Fouvoir, of L’Institute de l’histoire de la Cuisine, in Ryenn, France, shows an order for 17 sacks of rhubarb was made by French noble Madame Lorien Pompidou, of Nice, to a certain Robin Hode of Wakefield. Madame de Fouvoir told the Express: “This is a major historicalbreakthrough and changes what we know about agricultural techniques during the 1300s. Rhubarb was not commonly eaten until the 17th century as sugar was rare. We do know in ancient China it was used for its medicinal properties. But this discovery shows that Mr Hode would have been a wealthy man as only the wealthiest people could afford to order imports from overseas. “And what we do know is Lorien Pompidou was a hypochondriac and indulged in all kinds of medical fashions to improve her often debatable health.” In 1304 Robin was fined for taking acorns and vegetation from Outwood, which was then a dense forest, to feed his pigs. And after this punishment he needed to find another way to feed his stock. It is believed, according to Rothwell legend, Robin was a also a butcher. Madame de Fouvoir says there was also a sketch on the ledger showing Robin had developed an early form of forcing rhubarb by growing them in dark heated sheds. The sketch showed a method of heating animal dung in mini makeshift, and crudely-built, huts lined with branches. She said: “It must have been quite a sophisticated operation for the time for Robin to supply such a large order - and we believe Madame Pompidou’s was not Robin’s only customer.
“Our research shows us that he must have been cultivating the crop somewhere between the forest at Outwood, Lofthouse and Robin Hood which is well within what we now know as the world famous rhubarb triangle. “We think Robin must have learnt about and bought rhubarb from knights returning from overseas crusades. “And as the legend says Robin led a gang of merry men, from the Merrie City. “But for him to feed, clothe, arm and provide horses for the merry men he must have been a fairly wealthy man in the first place. We are now trying to explore the theory that this money came from growing rhubarb.” Later this year Madame de Fouvoir and her team will be visiting Wakefield to search for the remains of what she called “Robin’s farm”. She will also be bringing a film crew and hopes to show her findings at next year’s Rhubarb Festival. Windross Millington, of Rothwell, runs the on-line history site Robin Hood belongs to the Merrie City.com said: “These findings again conclusively show that Robin Hood was from Wakefield and not Nottingham. “I am very excited by these findings and look forward to meeting Madame de Fouvoir. “It also proves Robin Hood was a man who was inventive, resourceful and so far ahead of his time.” Last year forced rhubarb, grown in Rhubarb triangle ,was given EU protection giving it the same status as Parma ham and Roquefort cheese.
By the way you have been hoodwinked - April Fool