Robin Hood was probably an amalgam of different outlaws living sometime during the 12th and 13th centuries, not long after the Normans conquered England. Later medieval chroniclers seem to believe he was real, but their stories of him change too much to ascribe reliability to them.
Early records refer to unknown criminals as “Robehod” or “Rabunhod." While these early thugs robbed from the rich and the poor, later folk songs enshrined "Robin Hood" or "Rob-in-the-Hood" as a clever scoundrel who stole from wealthy nobles, churchmen and merchants to help out poor peasants and widows. Only in the 16th century does the character Robin Hood become the wrongfully dispossessed noble of English literature.