Charity challenge kicks off to mark Hereward the Wake event
- Credit: © Terry Harris
Re-enactors have set foot across the Fens today as they revive the actions of Hereward the Wake for charity.
Hereward, played by Steven Payne and his band of men, left for Ely Cathedral this morning, exactly 951 years ago since they launched an attack on Peterborough, where they began their trek.
The role of Hereward was meant to be played by long-distance hiker Lewis Kirkbride, who was “stuck on the A1” according to David Maile of the WakeHereward Project.
The trek along the Hereward Way is raising funds for mental health charity ManHealth, chosen by Lewis, and has so far raised over £1,651 as part of the Hereward Charity Challenge.
Instead, Steven was presented with the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy by the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, the Dean of Peterborough, as they set foot along the Hereward Way Long Distance Walking Path.
The trophy represents the gold and silver Hereward stole from the Peterborough monastery.
On June 2, 1070 Hereward and his Band of Men were on board a fleet of Viking longships and keen to reach Peterborough where they ransacked the monastery, one of the wealthiest in England at the time.
Hereward had previously led a popular opposition against the Norman rulers, and his new Danish Viking allies then made their way to their Ely monastery base.
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There, the aim was to cause more havoc for William the Conqueror, England’s new French-Norman king.
Over two days, they will travel through Whittlesey, March, Christchurch, Welney, Little Downham on their way to Ely, led by James Bowman who will hold the Fenland Flag he created.
Today, they travelled through Whittlesey before planning to meet outside March Library where they will display their weaponry and Mr Maile will give a short talk about Hereward’s raid on Peterborough’s monastery.
Tomorrow (Thursday), the men will leave March Market Place at 7am and walk the Hereward Way through Christchurch, Welney and Little Downham, before arriving outside Ely Cathedral at around 6pm.
Hereward’s Standard Bearer Rahenald the Steward of Ramsey will also be holding a newly designed flag of Hereward.
Commemorations resume on Saturday where Steven takes on the role of Prior Athelwold and will push the Hereward Charity Challenge trophy in a medieval cart.
There will also be a chance to learn more about this period in history on June 19, which has been coined Celebrate the Fens Day.