[18], Geoffrey Gaimar, in his Estoire des Engleis, says instead that Hereward lived for some time as an outlaw in the Fens, but that as he was on the verge of making peace with William, he was set upon and killed by a group of Norman knights. these Saxon English rebellions. Hereward the Wake then led a raid on  Peterborough Cathedral as he Many historians consider these tales to be largely fictions. It has been argued that the author of Gesta Herewardi was Richard of Ely, and that his superior was Bishop Hervey of Ely, who held that office from 1109 to 1131. On 26 December 2012 BBC Radio 4 broadcast the story of Hereward as a comic afternoon play, produced by, Progressive rock band Pink Floyd referred to Hereward in the track ", He appears in the lyrics of the 1970 track "Darkness" by progressive group, Hereward is the subject of the track "Rebel of the Marshlands" by metal band. of his birth is unknown but he was a Saxon, with Danish ancestry, who Hereward the Wake [14], In 1070 Hereward certainly participated in the anti-Norman insurrection centred on the Isle of Ely. Isle of Ely across causeways at Stuntney, Little Thetford and Aldreth There is extant evidence for an ancient earthwork south of Aldreth at the junction of the old fen causeway and Iram Drove. He [14] She is said have been called Alftruda and was the widow of Earl Dolfin. [14] However, the Peterborough Chronicle says that the treasure was carried off to Denmark.[18]. Several primary sources exist for Hereward's life, though the accuracy of their information is difficult to evaluate. to fight the Normans shortly after. [7] According to Janet D. Martin, the book was created in "about 1250", and originally ended with the Gesta Herewardi, but further material, unrelated to the Hereward story, was added in the 14th century. wished to save the treasures and relics from the Normans. Hereward's base, when leading the rebellion against the Norman rulers, was in the Isle of Ely, and according to legend he roamed The Fens, covering North Cambridgeshire, Southern Lincolnshire and West Norfolk, leading popular opposition to William the Conqueror. Saxon rebels and the family of King Harold. In 1070, four years after the Battle The Domesday Book shows that a man named Hereward held lands in the parishes of Witham on the Hill and Barholm with Stow in the southwestern corner of Lincolnshire as a tenant of Peterborough Abbey; prior to his exile, Hereward had also held lands as a tenant of Croyland Abbey at Crowland, eight miles east of Market Deeping in the neighbouring fenland. Englishmen were left as the only Saxon landowners in England, both of open to an invasion from both the Normans and the Vikings. Lincolnshire and Norfolk in eastern England - they were thickly forested The Gesta says that he discovered that his family's lands had been taken over by the Normans and his brother killed with his head then placed on a spike at the gate to his house. in a dispute with the English King Edward the Confessor and was [24] A second theory claims that the name was given to him by the Wake family, the Norman landowners who gained Hereward's land in Bourne, Lincolnshire, after his death, to imply a family connection and therefore legitimise their claim to the land. Due to the very sketchy evidence for his existence, his life has became a magnet for speculators and amateur scholars. is betrayed They are the version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle written at Peterborough Abbey (the "E manuscript" or Peterborough Chronicle), the Domesday Book (DB), the Liber Eliensis (Book of Ely) and, much the most detailed, the Gesta Herewardi (Gesta). Hereward the Wake However, since the account in the Gesta of the early part of his exile (in Scotland, Cornwall and Ireland) contains fantastic elements, it is hard to know if we can trust this. rebels including Hereward the Wake and Earl Morcar. Another rebellion in the North also resulted in was born into a wealthy Saxon family who held lands in Lincolnshire were defeated by King Harold but his victory was short lived and he had Hereward stormed and sacked Peterborough Abbey in company with local men and Swein's Danes. king Swein Estrithson sent a small army to England and established a Hugh M Thomas, "The Gesta Herewardi, the English and their Conquerers". for a reward of lands. The Boydell Press. Hereward escorts Alftruda, illustration by Henry Courtney Selous, There are conflicting accounts about Hereward's life after the fall of Ely. The Isle of Ely is The death of Edward the Confessor Alternatively, it has also been argued that Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva were Hereward's real parents. [14], The fact of Hereward's participation in the events at Ely is attested in early documents such as the annal for 1071 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Charles Kingsley’s 1865 novel Hereward the Wake: the Last of the English elevated Hereward to the position of a national hero. According to the Gesta Herewardi, Hereward was exiled at the age of eighteen for disobedience to his father and disruptive behaviour, which caused problems among the local community. is said to have killed 14 Normans single-handed. The Gesta Herewardi is a Middle Latin text, probably written around 1109–31. gold he had taken with the Danes, who then deserted Hereward the Wake This circular feature, known as Belsar's Hill,[19] is a potential site for a fort, built by William, from which to attack Ely and Hereward. lived as outlaws in the forests of the Fens. Hereward's birth is conventionally dated as 1035/6 because the Gesta Herewardi indicates that he was first exiled in 1054 in his 18th year. These include a fight with an enormous bear, and the rescue of a Cornish princess from an unwanted marriage. The Hereward the Wake Hereward is an Old English name, composed of the elements here "army" and weard "guard" (cognate with the Old High German name Heriwart). stronghold on the Isle of Ely, where they were joined by the English The earliest references to his parentage, in the Gesta, make him the son of Edith, a descendent of Oslac of York, and Leofric of Bourne, nephew of Ralph the Staller. The fight led to his capture and imprisonment. David Roffe, "Hereward 'the Wake' and the Barony of Bourne: a Reassessment of a Fenland Legend", Cambridgeshire Historic Environment Record, "Obiit etiam Brando abbas Burgi, patruus dicti Hereward le Wake, cui ex regis collatione successit Turoldus.". [5] The news of the defeat of King The earliest surviving copy of the Gesta Herewardi is in a manuscript produced around the middle of the 13th century at Peterborough Abbey, along with other materials relating to the abbey. Hereward's former gaoler persuaded the king to negotiate once more, and he was eventually pardoned by William and lived the rest of his life in relative peace. His place of birth is supposed to be in or near Bourne in Lincolnshire. "Hereward" redirects here. He is associated with a region in present-day Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire. defeated by the Normans. He was certainly in contact with the during the reign of William Rufus. This 13th-century manuscript is known as the "Register of Robert of Swaffham". [8], A 19th-century edition of the Gesta Herewardi was published serially by W. D. Sweeting, from 1895, as a supplement to Fenland Notes and Queries: this was a quarterly magazine, published at Peterborough, of which Sweeting was editor at the time. and Robin Hood of William. [23] In Charles Kingsley's novel, Hereward acquires it when, with the help of his servant Martin Lightfoot, he foils an assassination attempt during a hunting party by a group of knights jealous of his popularity. It is said that the Normans, probably led by one of William's knights named Belasius (Belsar), then bribed the monks of the island to reveal a safe route across the marshes, resulting in Ely's capture. Normans was based on an Oath of Fealty and military support in exchange of his abbey, betrayed Hereward the Wake and showed the Normans the It is subsequently exiled to Europe at the age of 14. 202ff. Short Biography about the life of Hereward the Wake of England Hugh M Thomas argues that the Gesta is intended to be an entertaining story about an English hero, creating a fantasy of successful resistance to the Normans. For the college in Coventry, see, Hereward fighting Normans, illustration from. with the brother of King Harold, Earl Morcar of Northumbria. But he apparently held out [5][6], The version of the Gesta Herewardi which exists today is a transcription of this work, which was incorporated into a book containing charters and other material relating to the abbey at Peterborough known as the "Register of Robert of Swaffham", though variant descriptions such as "Robert of Swaffham's Book" are also found. [2] On the other hand, the original version of the Gesta was written in explicit praise of Hereward;[3] much of its information was provided by men who knew him personally, principally, if the preface is to be believed, a former colleague-in-arms and member of his father's former household named Leofric the Deacon.[4].

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