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28 October 2014
Legacies - Nottingham

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Wise men of Gotham

Taxation: not the most obvious creative muse, yet a surprisingly fruitful one nevertheless, at least partly responsible for the legends of Robin Hood and the “Wise Men of Gotham”. If England’s last Norman ruler, King John, had not imposed such onerous taxes, we might be without either of these enduring and amusing tales.

The village of Gotham in south Nottinghamshire has been associated with foolish and madcap behaviour since the 13th Century; ludicrous tales of raking the moon, rolling cheeses and going to sea in a wooden bowl have enjoyed constant circulation in populist literature since that time. Many of the tales appear elsewhere, suggesting Gotham is not the only ‘fool’ village in England. More...

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