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Gilbert with the White Hand

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Gilbert with the White Hand
Gilbertlarge

Real Name

Gilbert Whitehand

First Appearance

Unknown

Created by

English Folklore

Origin

Gilbert Whitehand (also Gilbert with the White Hand ) is in English folklore a less prominent member of Robin Hood's Merry Men.

He was present in A Gest of Robyn Hode, an early Robin Hood ballad from the late medieval period, although he has been widely forgotten by modern audiences.

It is unknown why he was referred to as having 'white hands'. It is thought that Gilbert Of The Whitehand developed from Gilbert Wythehonde, a second name found in the Wakefield Court Rolls. Some have suggested it was because he had a withered hand, amongst other reasons. However, this is speculation and it is not stated specifically why. Gilbert clearly had no physical hindrance - it is stated that he is Robin's equal in archery, and together they were the best archers in all England.

In the 1840 story by Pierce Egan the Younger (translated into French, divided into two parts and resumed by Alexandre Dumas, published posthumously in 1872) Gilbert and his wife, Margaret, are Robin's foster parents (his real father according to the Egan/Dumas storyline was the Earl of Huntingdon), and Gilbert taught Robin how to use the bow and arrow.

Public Domain Appearances

Ballads:

  • A Gest of Robyn Hode

Literature:

  • Robin Hood (started) by Pierce Egan the Younger and (finished by) Alexandre Dumas
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  • Bold Robin Hood-And His Outlaw Band by Louis Rhead

See Also

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