- Originally, a female character in the old May Day games and morris dances, often identified as the Queen of the May. From the late 16th century she became attached to the Robin Hood cycle as the outlaw's sweetheart, probably through the performance of Robin Hood Plays at May Day festivities. The part of Maid Marian, both in the games and the dance,was played by a man in female costume.
Maid Marian remains a familiar character from the numerouspantomimes, films, and TV shows. based on the Robin Hood story. Thetradition identifying her as a high-born lady of the court can be tracedback to Anthony Munday's Elizabethan play The Downfall of Robert Earlof Huntington (1598).