Herne the Hunter

Herne the Hunter is mentioned in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, and introduced into Ainsworth's Windsor Castle, but is otherwise only a vague legend in Britain and there appear to be no authentic memorials. He supposedly was at some remote period a keeper of the Forest and is generally placed in the vicinity of the old oak.

There is a large category of spectral hunters in European folklore, such as the Grand Veneur in the forest of Fontainebleau (France) and the one in the Black Forest (Germany). The story of Herne the Hunter may simply be a graft from one of these myths.



  • Hazlitt, W. Carew. (1905). Faith and Folklore. 2 vols. London: Reeves and Turner, p. 1:314.
  • Leach, Maria, ed. (1984). Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: HarperCollins.