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Cathedral to Cathedral

The Hereward Charity Challenge

June 2nd & 3rd 2021

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 260+ 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

outside March Library - Weds 2nd June 5pm to 6pm

outside Ely Cathedral - Thurs 3rd June 4pm to 5pm


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

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 attemptiong to save the monastery's valuables from the clutches of the Norman's, 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?



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Peterborough Cathedral, built where the Monastery once stood, where the Hereward Charity Challenge begins 9am on 2nd June 

The Hereward Way

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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

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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