Far fetched, not according to one book published in paperback this year. ‘Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar’ by John Paul Davis. The story of the famous outlaw was set down many years after his death, nearly three hundred years in the case of one poem – A Gest of Robyn Hode.
Based on other accounts of Robin Hood’s life it tells of a knight brought to Robin Hood’s house. Robin has for some reason refused to eat until he has a visitor. I’ll spare all the details but he lends the knight, who has fallen on hard times, a large sum of money. Presumably, this money has been taken from the rich.
But what John Paul Davis alights on is the fact that the money is lent. Not given. Lent. The way in which Robin Hood lends the money is in keeping with the way the Templars conducted usurious transactions. Note that usury was banned by the church and lending was largely the preserve of the Jewish community and the Knights Templar.
It’s of course possible that this lending element was added later – stories were often melded together or changed bit by bit in oral re-tellings. It may be that too much is being read in to the lending of money, instead of Robin giving it. Who knows. But it’s an engaging theory and worth a read.