He has had the odd cameo appearance in film and television, but who is this mystical figure from tales of old?I first encountered the name Herne on the television series Robin of Sherwood, his entrance on every episode was always accompanied by a haunting piece of music from the groundbreaking music of Irish band Clannad and at around the same time he was portrayed in another television series called The Box Of Delights.
So many years later I feel compelled to discover who Herne is.
It was good old William (I wrote a play or two)Â Shakespeare that gave him his first recorded written mention in the The Merry Wives Of Windsor. The source of Billy RattleJavelin's character though remains a mystery.
It does seem though that when you research back far enough into British History, there has always been a myth about a Wild-man with horns on his head.
It doesn't take a scholar to understand that he is probably the amalgamation of many different pagan legends but only given a name by Shakespeare.
Herne is linked to the Windsor forest and his home could be placed in Berkshire although myths of pagan deities who fit his description can be found across the length of the British Isles. He is said be an excellent horse rider and hunter who saved Richard The Second's life rescuing him from a white Hart.
But in Saving King Richard he became mortally injured by the white hart and was brought back to life by a very nice wizard type chap but at a price. The price was to have a pair of antlers stuck on him and lose his ability to hunt. Other jealous huntsmen then colluded against Herne and branded him a thief which tainted the King's view of Herne and as a result of his loss of favourÂ led to him being found hanged dead the following day.
The tree on which his is said to be hanged from was meant to have stood in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
After this most Traumatic of endings Herne is said to haunt Windsor Forest with sightings continuing to this very day and is a bad omen for the country and in particularly for The Royal Family. He is said to travel with hell hounds and glows like glow in the dark type of glowy thing, so no the sort of character you want to bump into unless you're pretty good at removing curses with a sideline in counseling.
Herne is also a symbol of rebellion against the monarchy and his legend has been resurrected on many an occasion as a rallying call against Royal oppression which I find quite imaginative a character to wipe the cobwebs off when it comes to a spot of 'We hate Queenie'.
He is a mish mash of pagan and ancient British legends and has brought much to the naive new age movement…..or is there more to him?
If you're walking through a wooded area on a misty evening in Berkshire and you hear Herne's Horn being blown, you may want to run……unless of course you're into that sort of thing.