All things decline
Everything falters, dies and ends
Towers cave in, walls collapse
Roses wither, horses stumble
Cloth grows old, men expire
Iron rusts and timber rots away
Nothing made by hand will last
I understand the truth
That all must die, both clerk and lay
And the fame of men now dead
will quickly be forgotten
Unless the clerk takes up his pen
And brings their deeds to life again...'
Wace - 'Roman du Rou' ca: 1170
'And all the folk of the Fenlands came to them, thinking they would win all the land'
Anglo Saxon Chronicle 1070
'To raise the profile of Hereward the Wake across his native Fenlands and beyond'
Exiled by his country at the age of 18 Hereward 'the Outlaw' returned some years later to become his country's last hope against the foreign foe that had taken the crown of England, William the Conqueror.
The 12th Century text known as the 'Gesta Herwardi' informs that Hereward became a famous knight and fought in the army of the Count of Flanders, to great acclaim.
The Gesta and the Crowland Chronicle say he married a beautiful woman, Torfrida of St. Omer, but during the course of the Fenland rebellion she retired to Crowland Abbey and took the habit of a nun.
Domesday Book records that Hereward held parcels of land in south Lincolnshire from the abbeys of Peterborough and Crowland.
The Gesta states that Hereward was the son of Leofric, the Lord of Bourne, and the Crowland Chronicle claims he was buried at Crowland Abbey alongside his wife Torfrida.
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle records Hereward's raid on Peterborough Abbey with a Danish 'Viking' Army in 1070 where they took 'gold and silver of such great value that no one man could reckon it to the other'.
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Liber Eliensis and the Gesta Herwardi report on Hereward's defence of Ely in 1071 where his actions came to symbolise the spirit of English resistance to the Norman Conquest.
In his L'Estoire des Engleis Geffrei Gaimar reports on Hereward's exploits after the fall of Ely, at Huntingdon and Stamford and in the ancient tract of forest known as the Brunneswald.
The esteemed Domesday historian David Roffe talking with David Maile and Trevor the 'Lord of Bourne' who had taken over Hereward's father's estate. 'Hereward Returns' event, Baldocks Mill, Bourne on Saturday.
Saxons awaiting the return of Hereward at Baldocks Mill, Bourne on Saturday at the WakeHereward Project Hereward Returns event.
'We think it will encourage noble deeds and induce liberality to know Hereward, who he was and to hear of his achievements and deeds. Especially those of you desirous of living the life of a soldier, wherefore we advise, pay attention! And you who the more diligently strive to hear the deeds of brave men, apply your minds to hear diligently the account of so great a man...'
De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis ~ early 12th C text.