Commemorative Charity Event across the Fens
June 2nd & 3rd - A Hike along the Hereward Way, Cathedral to Cathedral from Peterborough to Ely
Sunday June 13th - Cart pushing from Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse
Saturday June 19th - On Horseback from Ramsey Abbey to Peterborough Cathedral
- Carrying the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy in commemoration of Hereward for a charitable cause -
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Cathedral to Abbey
The Hereward Charity Challenge
Sunday June 13th 2021
Stage 2 - Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey
Prior Athelwold's Escape!
Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey
Now SUNDAY 13th June!
The Peterborough Chronicler Hugh Candidus tells us the mysterious story of the clandestine exploits of Prior Athelwold soon after Hereward had stolen the treasure from Peterborough Monastery, along with kidnapping the monks!
One evening, when all of the Danish Vikings were back at Ely getting drunk and celebrating the success of their raid Prior Athelwold stole some of the treasure and relics back.
Hugh Candidus has this to say 'Then on a certain day the Danes made themselves a great feast, and as men making merry over treasure they had got with little labour, were all very joyful. While they were banqueting and carousing all day Athelwold the Prior took his tools, and after a prayer began to open the feretory in which he knew the arm of St Oswald, king and martyr were hidden. When he had taken away the gold and silver... he took the Holy plunder and hid it beneath the bed straw under his head... The next day Athelwold received an order from Hereward to depart..'
Steven Payne will be re-enacting the role of Prior Athelwold and taking the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy from Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse, the trophy represents the gold and silver that Hereward and the Danes stole from Peterborough.
Steven, as Athelwold will be costumed as a Benedictine Monk and will push a medieval replica cart with the trophy inside it from Ely via Chatteris on to Ramsey.
He will leave Ely at 10am on Sunday 13th June, arriving in Chatteris around 2pm and Ramsey at 6pm.
Keep an eye out for Prior Athelwold on his journey.
The trophy will be secretly stashed at Ramsey until Abbot Turold (played by Nigel Amos) gets to hear of it and comes to retrieve it one week later on Saturday 19th June.
* This event has been rescheduled from Saturday 5th June allowing Steven Payne to recover from his role as Rehenald Steward Ramsey in the Stage One hike along the Hereward Way.
In commemoration of Hereward and his defence of the Fens and their folk against the oppressive regime of William the Conqueror we follow the story of when he ransacked Peterborough Monastery on 2nd June 1070 and the subsequent events that unfolded.
This charity event in its inaugural year will be for ManHealth Charity for 2021 and features three medieval re-enactors performing as three historical figures and the journey they take carrying the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy, which represents the gold and silver that Hereward stole from Peterborough Monastery.
Lewis Kirkbride is our Hereward, folk hero of the Fens, who will hike over two days from Peterbrough Cathedral to Ely Cathedral on 2nd & 3rd June.
On the 5th June Steven Payne performs the role of Prior Athelwold and will carry the trophy from Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse.
Then on 19th June Nigel Amos performs the role of Abbot Turold and retrieves the trophy from Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse and takes it back to Peterborough.
Introducing our re-enactors & their roles
Lewis Kirkbride as Hereward the Wake
Lewis attained national media coverage in October 2020 when he walked from York to Hastings to commemorate the march of King Harold before his defeat to William the Conqueror raising almost £27,000 for ManHealth Charity in the process.
His feat made him the ideal candidate to perform the role of Hereward and hike along the Hereward Way from Peterborough to Ely over the 2nd & 3rd June and it is Lewis who is the driving force in raising the funds for his designated charity in the Hereward Charity Challenge and he has again chosen ManHealth Charity for that cause.
Steven Payne as Prior Athelwold
Steven recently moved to the Fens and like Lewis is known to a national audience for his exploits for charity. In raising attention for the plight of the homeless, whether faring down the Wye River commemorating the journey of St. Brendan, undertaking a Pilgrimage to Canterbury, or crossing the Alps on a spacehopper on the trail of Hannibal, Steven has captivated a wide audience with his feats and deeds. On Sunday 13th June he emulates the journey of Prior Athelwold who stole back some of the gold and silver Hereward had stolen and took it from Ely for safe-keeping at Ramsey Abbey. Steven will undertake this feat pushing a medieval cart carrying the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy.
Nigel Amos as Abbot Turold
Nigel is our third re-enactor with a profile of national significance having appeared on Tv, the front cover of books and in many medieval pageants and parades around the country. Most notably he rode as the lead horse from York to Hastings in English Heritage's 950th anniversary commemoration event of King Harold's march to face William the Conqueror.
In his role as Abbot Turold 'a harsh man' on June 19th Nigel will retrieve the gold and silver deposited at Ramsey by Prior Athelwold and take the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy back to Peterborough Cathedral.
** The Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy **
The Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy represents the gold and silver that Hereward stole from Peterborough Monastery on 2nd June 1070 before returning to his base on the Isle of Ely. The trophy will be handed over to Hereward (re-enactor Lewis Kirkbride) at 9am on Wednesday 2nd June at Peterborough Cathedral by the
Dean of Peterborough, the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston.
At 10am on Wednesday 2nd June Hereward begins his walk along the Hereward Way stopping in Whittlesey around 11:30am to 12 Noon, before reaching March Library by 6pm where Hereward and his band will display their weaponery and David Maile of the WakeHereward Project will give a short talk about Hereward's raid on Peterborough Monastery 951 years to the day.
At 7am the following day, Thursday June 3rd, Hereward and his followers set off from March Market Place along the Hereward Way passing through Christchurch and Welney before arriving at Ely Cathedral at 6pm where the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy will be handed by our Hereward to the Very Reverend Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely, for safekeeping. Outside the cathedral Hereward and his followers will display their weaponery and David Maile will give a short talk on Hereward and the saga of the gold and silver at Ely because although the Danes who allied with Hereward made off with most of the gold and silver some of it was rescued by Prior Athelwold.
On Sunday June 13th Steven Payne takes up the Hereward Charity Challenge re-enacting the role of Prior Athelwold. Steven takes the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy from Ely Cathedral to Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse. Setting off from Ely at 10am Athelwold carries the trophy in a medieval cart and will first tour through Ely before undertaking the journey to Ramsey stopping off in Chatteris along the way at around 2pm and arriving in Ramsey around 6pm and depositing the trophy at the Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse.
After some time the newly installed Norman abbot of Peterborough, 'a harsh man' named Turold, hears that gold and silver has been hidden at Ramsey Abbey and rather riled goes to Ramsey to retrieve it. On Saturday 19th June for 'Celebrate the Fens Day' Nigel Amos takes on the role of Abbot Turold and snatches back the gold and silver. Turold will tour Ramsey from 10am to 11am before being at Pondersbridge from 12 Noon to 1pm and arriving back at Peterborough Cathedral at 4pm and the final celebrations outside the cathedral of the Hereward Rising! event featuring the Hereward Charity Challenge.
The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough (left) and the Very Reverend Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely (right) have been 'good sports' and agreed to join in the Hereward Charity Challenge fun by handling the trophy on the doorstep of their respective cathedrals at Peterborough and Ely to commemorate Hereward and aid a charitable cause.
Cathedral to Cathedral
The Hereward Charity Challenge
June 2nd & 3rd 2021
Stage 1 - Peterborough Cathedral to Ely Cathedral along the Hereward Way
The Hereward Charity Challenge is a charity hike covering 40 miles over two days from Peterborough Cathedral to Ely Cathedral along the Hereward Way National Walking Path to raise funds for a specific charity cause. For this inaugural year of the event the WakeHereward Project has teamed up with long distance hiker Lewis Kirkbride to raise funds for his chosen charity ManHealth.
It was Lewis who in October 2020 famously walked in full armour the 300+ miles from York to Battle to commemorate the march of King Harold and the English Army who were defeated at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, raising an amazing £27,000 in the process for ManHealth Charity.
For the Hereward Charity Challenge Lewis re-enacts the role of the folk hero of the Fenlands, Hereward the Wake, who ransacked Peterborough Monastery 951 years ago on 2nd June 1070 and fled back to his base at the Monastery on the Isle of Ely, where he valiantly defended his people against the oppression of the man who defeated Harold at Hastings, William the Conqueror.
Dates for the diary - Wednesday 2nd & Thursday 3rd June 2021
The events for the 2nd & 3rd June will be shown on Facebook Live or can be seen live in person when Hereward will be at:
outside Peterborough Cathedral - Weds 2nd June 9am to 10am
Whittlesey Market Square 11:30am
outside March Library - Weds 2nd June 6pm
outside Ely Cathedral - Thurs 3rd June 6pm
We are aiming to raise £1070 for ManHealth Charity so please help us in our cause by going to the fundraising page and making a donation and help us to reach our target by spreading the word and following our news both on the days of Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd June and in the build-up to the event.
You can also donate to ManHealth by scanning the QR Code at the top right of this page.
About ManHealth Charity
ManHealth is a Community Interest Company based in County Durham providing peer support for men suffering depression and mental health issues. Statistics show that 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders - just over three quarters of ll suicides are by men - suicide is the biggest cause of death for men over 35 - 87% of rough sleepers are men - men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women.
Visit the ManHealth website at manhealth.org.uk for further information.
Donate Now to the Hereward Charity Challenge!
Donate to ManHealth Charity by clicking the above button which takes you to the site
Click the link above to visit the Hereward Charity Challenge Facebook Page to follow the event and its build up campaign
Abbey to Cathedral
The Hereward Charity Challenge
Saturday 19th June 2021
Stage 3 - Ramsey Abbey to Peterborough Cathedral
Hereward's raid on Peterborough Monastery
'the monks of Peterborough heard it say their own men were going to raid the monastery, that was Hereward and his Band..' Anglo Saxon Chronicle 1070
Just as daylight began to break on the 2nd June 1070 a fleet of Viking warships filled with troops of elite Danish Housecarls and a band of local Fenland rebels fared into the hythe at Burgh, a settlement on the edge of the East England Fens built around its great Benedictine Monastery, known in the old English Anglo-Saxon language as Gylldenburg, that is: 'Goldenborough'.
Their leader was a local thegn of noble status known as Hereward who had been exiled some years earlier and upon return to his homeland determined to lead a rebellion against the oppressive rule of the new King of England, William 'the Conqueror', whose army of Norman knights had defeated King Harold and his English army at the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066.
The monks within had heard that they were going to be raided and barricaded the fortified monastery,
hurling rocks and stones and heavy objects down onto the raiders as a skirmish ensued. Hereward and his allies wished the monks no harm and pleaded with them to let them in, to no avail. The encounter quickly escalated and it became known as the Battle of Bolhithegate.
'they did all manner of evil things'
The monk chronicler Hugh Candidus had this to say:
'A strenuous battle was there fought at the Bolhithegate. Then Hereward and his allies seeing they could in no wise conquer them or force an entrance set fire to the buildings that were next to the gate and thus entered by the aid of fire, and they burned all the offices of the monks and the whole vill (meaning the whole of Peterborough), save only the church and one house.'
Hereward and the Housecarles stripped the chuch almost bare, taking 'gold and silver of such great value that no one man could reckon it to the other'. They then made their way by ship back to their base at Ely. Some hours later the new incoming Norman abbot called Turold, 'a harsh man' arrived from Stamford with 160 knights to find his monastery despoiled and the raiders long gone. Hereward had even kidnapped all but one of the monks!
It is this scenario that the Hereward Rising! event on 2nd June 2021 is celebrating, because Hereward was attempting to save the monastery's valuables from the clutches of the Normans, but it did him little good in the short-term, as he was excommunicated by the church, or in the long-term as his legend is more one of notoriety in Peterborough than it is in Ely.
What do you think? Was Hereward a good guy or a bad guy?
For information on our Hereward Teaching Resources click on the button here:
Peterborough Cathedral, built where the Monastery once stood,
where the Hereward Charity Challenge begins 9am on 2nd June
Ely Cathedral, built where the Monastery once stood, is where the Hereward Charity Challenge Stage one ends 6pm on June 3rd
The Chronicler then goes on to tell us that after some short days at Ely the Danish Housecarles made off with the gold and silver stolen from Peterborough and after also being paid off by William the Conqueror some of the valuables were taken to a church in Denmark while one ship laden with
the loot capsized somewhere in the ocean en route.
However, one evening in Ely when the Danes were drinking heavily one of the Peterborough monks, Prior Athelwold, sneaked into the place where the valuables were locked away and loaded a cart with some and made the long arduous journey to Ramsey Abbey where they were locked away for safe-keeping. After some time the news of the secret stash somehow made its way to the ears of the new Norman abbot of Peterborough, Abbot Turold, who is described as 'a harsh man' who had made the lives of the monks of Glastonbury a misery in his previous post. Somewhat angered Turold dashed to Ramsey Abbey to collect the valuables and took them back to Peterborough Monastery.
This part of the Hereward Rising! story will also be re-enacted.
The Hereward Way
The Hereward Way is a long distance walking path that stretches 110 miles from Oakham in the West to Knettishall Heath near Thetford in the East. At Oakham it links from the Viking Way and descends from the Rutland hills in the East Midlands, crossing the flat fertile plane of the Fenlands into East Anglia and on through Thetford Forest and the Brecklands, linking with the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath. It is the only official national monument to
the folk hero of the Fens, Hereward the Wake.
On June 2nd and June 3rd hiker and medieval re-enactor Lewis Kirkbride will play the role of Hereward the Wake, to commemorate Hereward's raid on Peterborough Monastery 951 years earlier on June 2nd 1070, and hike the forty miles along the Hereward Way from Peterborough to Ely, as Ely was the place where Hereward and the Danish Housecarles retreated to after the raid.
Setting off from Peterbrough Cathedral at 10am on Wednesday 2nd June, as can be seen on the illustration above by Susan Moden, the route passes through Whittlsey and Turves, and Lewis, kitted out as Hereward, will arrive in March around 5pm to 6pm later that day. Day two, on Thursday 3rd June, will see an 8am start time from March Market Place and the route passes through Christchurch, Welney and Little Downham, and our Hereward will arrive at Ely Cathedral around 4pm to 5pm later that day.
Lewis will be joined by David Maile of the WakeHereward Project who himself did a fundraising walk in 2016 along the same course to raise money for heritage interpretaion boards for Hereward, a programme under the WakeHereward Project that is still ongoing which you can learn more about here
The Hereward Way along the old course of the River Nene just east of the town of March
Map and details of the Hereward Way can be found on the Long Distance Walkers Association website by clicking the link above