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In his book Dark Irwell, Cyril Bracegirdle claims that the pantomime Babes in the Wood was inspired by a real-life event that took place in the fourteenth century. The story begins with an inheritance dispute between the Radcliffe, Prestwich, Langley and Holland families over lands at Alkrington and Prestwich. But by 1374 (so the story goes), the lands were being held in trust for the young Roger de Langley, who was still a minor. Step forward the dastardly Robert de Holland, intent on getting the lands for himself, who kidnapped Young Langley and his sister and whisked them away to the forest.
Did John of Gaunt really rescue Young Langley and his sister from the forest? Was this story really the inspiration for Babes in the Wood? Find out on this week’s show!
As well as discussing this fourteenth-century legend, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers on the show.
Listen every Tuesday from 12-2pm, North Manchester FM, 106.6 FM