While Sherwood Forest and King Richard are real, Robin Hood and his Merry Men have long been thought to be fiction. Some things are believed to be impossible to have happened, which is where the speculation comes in about Robin Hood. But researched in England have just found something that proves at the very least the Sheriff of Nottingham existed. Beneath the Galleries of Justice Museum there are caves that have been unearthed which were used as a prison by the infamous Sheriff in medieval times.
The prison caves are where the “shire reeve”, or sheriff, resided at the Shire Hall and County Gaol, which is a medieval terms for jail. They are part of an underground labyrinth of more than 400 man-made sandstone caves and chambers. These caves and chambers date to Saxton times. They have also had many uses over the years, which include cellars, storage areas, secret passageways, and escape routes.
Apparently there was a court on the museum’s site since at least 1375 but the prison was not established until 1449. Locally the caves underneath the museum have been known as the “Sheriff’s Dungeon” but prior to this discovery, there was no proof. Researchers also could only document the caves for their use as a chapel for the Georgian prison that was on the same site after 1780. It is by the documents that were recently discovered by the museum staff that we learn this monumental fact. Finding out that the Sheriff of Nottingham really did exist and used the caves as his prison is a very big find for history.
Of course after a find like this the whole Robin Hood world is in a frenzy. Something that was thought to have been fiction has been proven to be fact. What exactly happened in those prison cells is still unknown. And it may never be known since some facts can be lost to history. But just the fact that the Sheriff was around gives some hope that Robin Hood himself might have existed, even if he was not the hero he has been made out to be.
However it may be that the world will know what happened in those caves. The caves are being excavated along with the adjacent area. And there is an ancient staircase that leads down to the cells which is also being excavated to learn all that historians can about the Sheriff of Nottingham and what he did to his prisoners during his time.