Maid Marian first appears courtesy of the playwright Anthony Munday who introduced her into his own adapted Robin Hood plays, the theme being taken up by subsequent writers including those at Hollywood. Here is a short synopsis of how it could have been. At Fountains Abbey the Earl Fitzwalter’s daughter is about to marry Robert, earl Fitzooth who is a loyal supporter of absent King Richard when the ceremony is interrupted. Sir Guy of Gisbourne who is the usurping Prince John’s henchman arrives bearing an infamous deed of outlawry against Earl Robert Fitzwalter. Priests scramble for safety as fighting rages between Huntingdon’s men and Gisbourne’s who are driven away. Grimly Earl Fitzwalter takes his daughter, still a pining spinster back home to Arlington Castle. Swearing vengeance on John, Guy, and their ally the sheriff of Nottingham, Earl Robert Fitzwalter becomes Robin Hood and his followers are the merry men who summon to the forest all those loyal to Lionheart and liberty. He permits no harm to women or innocents and helps the poor by robbing rich supporters of John. Frequently Earl Robert Fitzwalter escapes from tight corners and when he visits Marian in disguise he learns that John intends to marry her to Gisbourn. Robin kills Guy in the forest and defiantly sends his head to Nottingham. When the Lionheart returns from the third crusade he not only restores Robin’s titles but gives the patient bride away at their wedding in Edwinstow Parish Church. With Richard’s death in 1199, John becomes King and the couple escape to Barnsdale rejoining the merry men.
There may be some truth in this for traditionally Robin Hood’s Maid Marian has been the daughter of Baron Richard Fitzwalter. On her eighteenth birthday, her father gave a tournament at one of his castles in her honour and for three days the jousts went on with varying success to the challengers who came from all parts to win honour in the eyes of the lovely women who filled the galleries and gazed on the martial sport. Prince John, sitting at the side of the Queen of Beauty - Marian Fitzwalter - presided over the tournament that closely resembled the tournament described in "Ivanhoe." On the fourth day, a stranger knight appeared clad in burnished mail, entered the lists, and vanquished the bravest of the competitors. He gave no name, his shield was argent uncharged, but his gallant bearing and his handsome countenance, as he knelt for the Lady Marion to hang the victor's chain round his neck, won the girl's heart at once. See here for the full story. The beautiful young lady continually rejecting King John’s advances caused the king to plot as to how he might take her. Enmity developed between the Fitzwalter’s and King John who, his love thwarted, eventually ordered her to the Tower of London. He ordered that her eggs should be poisoned and an egg sent to her by the king poisoned her in 1214AD.
Robin Hood is said to be the “pretended” Earl of Huntingdon” and Robert FitzWalter was descended from the Earls of Huntingdon through his great grandmother Matilda-de-Huntingdon "Queen of the Scots" See here for the Maud/Matilda Fitzwalter family tree. Robert’s daughter Matilda Fitzwalter held the title “Countess of Huntingdon.” entry 1317 making Robert Fitzwalter the pretended earl of Huntingdon. This was recognised by King Steven during the Anarchy when Robert Fitzwalter was given some of the castles that belonged to the Huntingdon earldom. Also related to Robert FitzWalter’s was his brother-in-law William-de-Lovetot who was originally from Huntingdon but became the Lord of the manor of Hallamshire and Loxley.
The grave of the Countess of Huntingdon, “Matilda the Fair,” is in Dunmow Church (See picture) and according to Dugdale, in the Monasticon, she was buried across two columns; although her marble effigy, with its slab, are now placed upon a grey altar tomb decorated with shields with quatrefoils. King John destroyed every castle possessed by the Fitzwalters in his revengeful malice but it is some consolation to know that the name that headed the barons’ demands on John (culminating at Runnimede) was that of Robert Fitzwalter who was probably Marian's brother.