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William of Cloudsley : William is Cumbria’s very own blend of Robin Hood and William Tell - with a happy ending, too.
William of Cloudsley

Based on Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough and William of Cloudsley (ca. 1505).

Outlaw William Cloudsley could not resist one last visit to his beloved wife and children. But the Sheriff of Carlisle was waiting for him...

WILLIAM of Cloudsley, Clym of the Clough,* and Adam Bell, had been poaching deer, and were wanted men. But William could not resist a few hours snatched at home with his wife Alice, and their three children.

There William was captured, though not before shooting dozens dead, and sent to Carlisle jail.

With Adam and Clym’s help William escaped, and more of the sheriff’s men fell by his arrows.

Eventually, he gave himself up to the King, but William found no mercy there. He would have been hanged on the spot, except the King could not believe that one archer could wreak such mayhem.

So William made a wager. To save himself and his family, he would shoot an apple off his own son’s head at a hundred and twenty paces. And he did.

The King was so staggered by this feat that he gave William a lifetime pension, and to Alice and the children a place in the Queen’s household.

* A clough is a steep-sided valley. The word is pronounced ‘cluff’.

Based on Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough and William of Cloudsley (ca. 1505).

See Also

Switzerland boasts a similar but better-known tale, William Tell.

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Picture: © Karl and Ali, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
Fallow deer in the Park, Dallam Tower, near Milnthorpe in Cumbria.

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