Of course Robin Hood didn’t exist. Or did he? There is no doubt that medieval England was full of outlaws roaming the countryside trying to take advantage of unwary travellers. Some may have given to the poor. Robert de Thweng, a knight of Yorkshire may have been a contender for the legend. He came to Kilton Castle by marriage to widow Matilda de Kilton. In 1228 the Prior of Guisborough tried to seize Robert’s parish church at Kirkleatham. Robert’s protests turned into outright rebellion and he took to roaming Yorkshire with a band of hooded outlaws taking the nickname of “William the Avenger”. He plundered the church’s barns and storehouses giving it away to the poor. The church retaliated by excommunicating Robert. But Robert had the support of many northern Lords and the King, Henry III, sent him to Rome to put his complaints to the Pope who forgave him.
What has this got to do with Whorlton Castle? Well Robert’s great-granddaughter, Lucia de Thweng, was born in Kilton Castle but lived in Whorlton Castle with Nicholas de Meynell while her husband, William le Latimer, was fighting the Scottish Wars. At Whorlton she had an illegitimate son, Nicholas de Meynell Nothus.
Lucia was quite a woman. Her story would make a good film, “The Man Eater of Cleveland”, a title by which she was actually referred to at the time. As soon as her husband was called to fight for the King in Scotland she had begun living at Mulgrave Castle with Peter de Li Manley. Not surprisingly on his return le Latimer divorced Lucia, who went on to marry Sir Robert de Everingham. Lucia became a widow when de Everingham was killed in the Scottish Wars. She didn’t hang about long before marrying Sir Bartholomew de Fanacourt, her third husband. Lucia was in her seventies when she died at her manor house at Brotton. Did she die happy or longing for loves lost? Perhaps a clue lies in the ghost of a woman in long flowing robes that has been reported walking along Kilton Lane. Legend says it is Lucia looking for her lost loves.