Richard at the Lee
(also referred to as Rychard at the Lea
and Sir Richard of Verysdale
) was a major character in the early medieval ballads of Robin Hood
, especially the lengthy ballad A Gest of Robyn Hode
, and has reappeared in Robin Hood tales throughout the centuries.
Sir Richard is said to have been a nobleman
, the lord
. In many versions, Sir Richard appears as a sorrowful knight whose lands will be forfeited because he pledged them to an abbot
to get a loan he can not repay; Robin assists him with the money. This is his first appearance in the Gest
, although he is not named at that point. Later in the Gest
, he reappears, now named, and gives Robin Hood and the Merry Men sanctuary from the Sheriff of Nottingham
by hiding them in his castle
, after they have nearly been caught in an archery tournament; this part of the tale features in fewer later versions.
In A Gest of Robyn Hode
Richard came from a long line of noble knights
(see line 188 of the ballad) and was a courteous man indeed. He had inherited a great castle
at the wooded village of Lee in Verysdale
in which he resided; a castle fit for knights with thick fortified walls, surrounded by two ditches and with a drawbridge
at the entrance.
Richard resided in this castle with a small group of loyal servants and he had a beautiful fair wife and a son whom, although he was a wild spirit, Richard loved dearly. His son entered into a jousting
contest and accidentally killed an opponent, a knight of......