Jack O'Legs: A Robin Hood-Type Character

XEPER_

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Someone recently mentioned Jack O'Legs to me, as if I should know what that was. I've written a few novels about Robin Hood, but I'd never heard of this legend, and neither had a couple of other authors writing about Hood and some guys I would consider uber-fans of his various incarnations! Basically Jack was a giant medieval archer who robbed from the rich to give to the poor and, when he was dying, he shot an arrow into a churchyard (3 miles away) and asked to be buried there. See any similarities?!
Anyway, here's more on my website: https://stevenamckay.com/2020/09/07/jack-o-legs-who-a-strange-addition-to-the-robin-hood-legend/
 
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Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
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New to me as well - is it a very local local local story?
 

Yithian

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From the similarly superlative The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends from Spring-Heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys by Westwood and Simpson:

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This is wonderful! :)
 

maximus otter

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From the similarly superlative The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends from Spring-Heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys by Westwood and Simpson:

View attachment 29611View attachment 29612
The only site of a filled-in (by 1896, the year of the survey) cave I can find on an admittedly-short search of the area is here:



Here's its modern context (with lat/long for Fortean explorers):



The location of Jack's Hill north of Graveley (note spelling), Herts. on the A.1, is here:




Lat/long of my estimate of the crest is: 51° 57' 04" N, 0° 12' 08 W

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XEPER_

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The guy who first mentioned Jack to me is from the area, he goes walking about there. This is what he said when I asked him about a cave:
"You are meant to be able to find it but I never have, whole area was wooded back then. There's a cave in Royston but that would be too far there are still woods around Weston and there could be a cave but no proof.
There is no longer Weston Wood, but you can visit a field that is called ‘The Cave’ with another nearby field named ‘Weston Wood’."
 

EnolaGaia

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A note for anyone wishing to delve further into the Jack O'Legs story ...

In rummaging around archives (etc.) for clues I noticed that older accounts quite often referred to the legendary figure as "Weston Giant" - sometimes as a sort of subtitle added onto a "Jack" reference, but also sometimes as the primary label for him.

It may be that additional historical info / documentation exists that labels him "Weston Giant" without reference to any "Jack" name.
 

Mythopoeika

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The guy who first mentioned Jack to me is from the area, he goes walking about there. This is what he said when I asked him about a cave:
"You are meant to be able to find it but I never have, whole area was wooded back then. There's a cave in Royston but that would be too far there are still woods around Weston and there could be a cave but no proof.
There is no longer Weston Wood, but you can visit a field that is called ‘The Cave’ with another nearby field named ‘Weston Wood’."
The cave in Royston is under the street. The entrance to it is only accessible through a shop in the high street.
 

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From the redoubtable A Dictionary of English Folklore by Jacqueline Simpson and Steve Roud:

View attachment 29609View attachment 29610
Well that's one for the Coincidence thread - I was reading about Weston and Jack O' Legs in "Gothick Hertfordshire" by Jennifer Westwood (1989) that arrived from Amazon yesterday when I got home from Work. Lots of other lovely fortean weirdness in the county with grid refs and directions.

jack o' legs.jpg
 

XEPER_

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A note for anyone wishing to delve further into the Jack O'Legs story ...

In rummaging around archives (etc.) for clues I noticed that older accounts quite often referred to the legendary figure as "Weston Giant" - sometimes as a sort of subtitle added onto a "Jack" reference, but also sometimes as the primary label for him.

It may be that additional historical info / documentation exists that labels him "Weston Giant" without reference to any "Jack" name.
I'll add that to my original blog post, thank you! I won't add Mytho's comment about the entrance to the cave - don't really want the shop owners coming after me in the unlikely event dozens of cave hunters turn up on their doorstep. :D
 

maximus otter

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I've just had a quick play with Google Earth, and the (modern) distance between the nearest parts of Baldock (hanged) and Weston (buried) is approximately 2,500 yards. The world record for a flight shot with an English longbow is 451.5 yards:


Jack o'Legs seems to have been a prodigy...

:rolleyes:

maximus otter
 

XEPER_

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I've just had a quick play with Google Earth, and the (modern) distance between the nearest parts of Baldock (hanged) and Weston (buried) is approximately 2,500 yards. The world record for a flight shot with an English longbow is 451.5 yards:


Jack o'Legs seems to have been a prodigy...

:rolleyes:

maximus otter
Well, he was 28ft tall.
 
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