Who was Bevis of Hampton?
Bevis of Hampton was a legendary English hero and the subject of Anglo-Norman, Dutch, French, English, Venetian, and other medieval metrical romances that bear his name. The tale also exists in medieval prose, with translations to Romanian, Russian, Dutch, Irish, Welsh, Old Norse and Yiddish.
Sir Bevis of Hampton (c. 1324) is a Middle English romance. It contains many themes common to that genre: a hero whose exploits take him from callow youth to hard-won maturity, ending with a serene and almost sanctified death. Supporting him are a resourceful, appealing heroine and faithful servants set against dynastic intrigue, and a parade of interesting villains, both foreign and domestic.
Last but not least, he has a horse of such valor that the horse's death at the end of the poem is at least as tragic as that of the heroine, and almost as tragic as that of Bevis himself. Not surprisingly though, this much variety makes the poem a difficult one to characterize with any degree of certainty, and several other factors make it a poem which is perhaps easier to enjoy than to evaluate accurately.