Much the Miller's Son

Much the Miller's Son

Much the Miller's Son was, in the tales of Robin Hood, one of his Merry Men. He appears in some of the oldest ballads, A Gest of Robyn Hode and Robin Hood and the Monk, as one of the company.[1] Generally he becomes an outlaw when he is caught poaching. This leads to Robin Hood's outlawry in many modern adaptions.

In A Gest of Robyn Hode, he helps capture Richard at the Lee and when Robin lends that knight money to pay off his debts, he is one of the Merry Men who insists on giving him a horse and clothing appropriate to his station.[2] In Robin Hood and the Monk, he is one of the rescuers of the captive Robin; in this brutal ballad, he kills a page boy so that the boy can not bear word that the outlaws killed the monk of the title.[3]

In other tales, he was also known as Midge the Miller's son.[4] This is the name used by Howard Pyle in his Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.

In other tales, he was a young boy who befriended the merry men.[citation needed] In several later stories, the name Much is explained by his lacklustre appearance and abilities: his parents continually referred to him as "our son, though he's not much" which was eventually shortened to "Much".[citation needed]

Often it is said he was forced to go into hiding with the outlaws as he had been caught poaching deer on the sheriff's land, an offence which would get the youth hanged.[citation needed] The outlaws rescued the boy from the sheriff's men and later look after him in their hideout in the forest (in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a character resembling Much in many respects is the young boy named Wulf; another character named "Much the Miller's Son" does appear in the movie, but he has extremely little screen time).

In the earlier tales, however, Much is slightly older and takes a much more physical role; indeed he is a formidable fighter. Much is present from the very earliest Robin Hood ballads, in which he often accompanies Little John on physical journeys and even gets involved in brawls.

In some modern tellings, Much is a female character, initially disguised as (or mistaken for) a boy.[citation needed]


Appearances in other media

Much has a notable role in the television series Robin of Sherwood (1984–86), where he is Robin's adopted brother (a role given to Will Scarlet in some versions). In the series he is portrayed as somewhat mentally lacking, needing Robin to look after him. It was his killing a deer without thinking of the consequences that led to them becoming outlaws.

In the 1991 adaptation the character is played by Danny Webb and credited as Mulch the Miller.

In the children's comedy Maid Marian and her Merry Men (1989–94) the character is parodied as a wide boy called Much the Mini-Mart Manager's Son.

Much played a somewhat minor role in the PC game Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood where during times when Robin Hood would consult his men for tactical advice, Much would almost always provide the worst plan with the least chance of success. His plans were often crude guesses with no real basis in tactics, which fits well with his character's background, a poor, talentless outlaw of a miller's son.

BBC series

Much is also a major character in the BBC television series Robin Hood (2006-2009), but he is no longer a Miller's son — in the second episode, he claims to have no family at all. Instead, he is Robin's former manservant comrade-in-arms and best friend from the Third Crusade, who has been given his freedom as a result of his services there but finds himself outlawed with Robin upon their return home. In this version he is the gang's cook and immensely loyal to Robin, and is often seen to be jealous of the attention Robin gives to others, especially Marian.


Much is the main character in a Xeric award winning webcomic, Much the Miller's Son[5] by Steve LeCouilliard. This comedy series loosely follows the legend of Robin Hood (drawing heavily from the Errol Flynn version) from the point of view of Much. This comic is not intended for children.


  1. ^ Jeffrey Richards, Swordsmen of the Screen: From Douglas Fairbanks to Michael York, p 190, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Lond, Henly and Boston, 1988
  2. ^ Holt, J. C. Robin Hood p 17 (1982) Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27541-6.
  3. ^ Holt, J. C. Robin Hood p 29 (1982) Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27541-6.
  4. ^ Allen W. Wright, "A Beginner's Guide to Robin Hood"
  5. ^ [1]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Much — may refer to: MuchMusic, a cable network in Canada, and its domestic and international spin offs Much (album), an album by Christian band Ten Shekel Shirt Much the Miller s Son, one of Robin Hood s Merry Men from the earliest tales Place name… …   Wikipedia

  • The Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest — The Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest, or Forest Days in the Olden Time is a pastoral operetta in three acts. The words and music were written by W. H. Birch and the work was published by John Blockley of Argyll Street, London. Performance historyIn… …   Wikipedia

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (film) — Infobox Film name = The Adventures of Robin Hood caption = Theatrical poster director = Michael Curtiz William Keighley producer = Hal B. Wallis writer = Norman Reilly Raine Seton I. Miller starring = Errol Flynn Olivia de Havilland Basil… …   Wikipedia

  • The Irish (in Countries Other Than Ireland) —     The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     I. IN THE UNITED STATES     Who were the first Irish to land on the American continent and the time of their arrival are …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Miller Beach —   Neighborhood   The Lake Street Beach in eastern …   Wikipedia

  • The Reeve's Prologue and Tale — is the third story told in Geoffrey Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales . The reeve, named Oswald in the text, is the manager of a large estate who reaped incredible profits for his master and himself. He is described in the Tales as skinny and bad… …   Wikipedia

  • The Death of Superman — Cover of Superman vol. 2, 75 (Jan 1993). Art by Dan Jurgens Brett Breeding. Publisher DC Comics …   Wikipedia

  • The Myst Reader —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Andrews Sisters — Left to right: Maxene, Patty, LaVerne Background information Origin Minnesota, United States …   Wikipedia

  • The Dying Earth —   …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”