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It is not certain what should be made of these latter two absences as it is known that Friar Tuck, for one, has been part of the legend since at least the later 15th century where he is mentioned in a Robin Hood play script.
In modern popular culture, Robin Hood is typically seen as a contemporary and supporter of the late-12th-century king Richard the Lionheart, Robin being driven to outlawry during the misrule of Richard's brother John while Richard was away at the Third Crusade.
Alongside his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest and against the Sheriff of Nottingham, he became a popular folk figure in the Late Middle Ages, and continues to be widely represented in literature, film and television.
The first clear reference to 'rhymes of Robin Hood' is from the alliterative poem Piers Plowman, thought to have been composed in the 1370s, but the earliest surviving copies of the narrative ballads that tell his story date to the second half of 15th century, or the first decade of the 16th century.
No extant ballad early actually shows Robin Hood 'giving to the poor', although in a "A Gest of Robyn Hode" Robin does make a large loan to an unfortunate knight, which he does not in the end require to be repaid; As it happens the next traveller is not poor, but it seems in context that Robin Hood is stating a general policy.
The first explicit statement to the effect that Robin Hood habitually robbed from the rich to give the poor can be found in John Stow's Annales of England (1592), about a century after the publication of the Gest.
Within Robin Hood's band, medieval forms of courtesy rather than modern ideals of equality are generally in evidence.
The oldest surviving ballad, Robin Hood and the Monk, gives even less support to the picture of Robin Hood as a partisan of the true king.In these early accounts, Robin Hood's partisanship of the lower classes, his Marianism and associated special regard for women, his outstanding skill as an archer, his anti-clericalism, and his particular animosity towards the Sheriff of Nottingham are already clear.Little John, Much the Miller's Son and Will Scarlet (as Will 'Scarlok' or 'Scathelocke') all appear, although not yet Maid Marian or Friar Tuck.A "Robin and Marion" figured in 13th-century French 'pastourelles' (of which Jeu de Robin et Marion c.1280 is a literary version) and presided over the French May festivities, 'this Robin and Marion tended to preside, in the intervals of the attempted seduction of the latter by a series of knights, over a variety of rustic pastimes.' Both Robin and Marian were certainly associated with May Day festivities in England (as was Friar Tuck), but these may have been originally two distinct types of performance – Alexander Barclay in his Ship of Fools, writing in c.