Local rebel Hereward The Wake needs to be celebrated across Ely and the Fens, says historian

David Maile says Hereward the Wake is an unsung hero

David Maile says Hereward the Wake is an unsung hero - Credit: Archant

A historian wants to give rebel legend Hereward The Wake the glory he deserves and boost tourism to the area by walking an ancient pathway trodden by the 11th century hero.

The only sign that tells the story of Hereward the Wake is at Aldreth

The only sign that tells the story of Hereward the Wake is at Aldreth - Credit: Archant

The aim is to raise funds to buy tourism boards across Ely, the Fens and Peterborough to encourage people to visit to learn the story of the man famous for leading local resistance to the Norman conquest of England.

David Maille is treading the path to tie in with the 946th anniversary since Hereward attacked Peterborough Abbey, stole gold and silver ‘of great value’ and made his way to Ely to make his stand against William the Conqueror on June 2 1070.

Mr Maille said: “He is such a wonderful folklore legend but there’s nothing much about him really in the Fens.

“Other folklore heroes have statues, Hereward does not even have a public tourist notice board in Ely or Peterborough.


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“The importance of this date and event is that Hereward is recognised as symbolising the spirit of English resistance to the Norman Conquest, a pivotal moment in the history of England.

“It is a wasted tourism opportunity just waiting to happen. I’m walking the path to raise funds and also raise his profile to encourage more people to the area.”

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Mr Maille calls it the Wake Hereward Project whereby he wants to encourage local business and those responsible for tourism in the area to link up to boost the man’s profile.

On June 2 at 4am he sets out on his fund raising walk from Peterborough Cathedral to Ely Cathedral along the Hereward Way national footpath.

He hopes to raise £500 for public notices to be made and tourism brochures.

“This time has been chosen as Hereward raided the Abbey at first light,” he said.

The event marks the end of a 10 week consultation period where Mr Maille has spoken to local authorities, organisations and businesses.

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