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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

Hereward Rory mask ely headshot.jpg

Rumour has it that Hereward and his Band have been spotted around Cottenham on the Fen Edge. Click on the image to see where he will be next...

Welcome to the WakeHereward Project the official organisation and website for the legendary Anglo-Saxon warrior Hereward the Wake,

the folk-hero of the Fenlands of Eastern England.

Read about the project and its activities by clicking on the link below.

WakeHereward Project

Take the Hereward Trail across Hereward Country in search of Hereward! Full details soon, find out more by subscribing to our newsletter (below) or click on the Hereward image (left) for some details or the Crowland Abbey image (right) for the latest news on the WakeHereward Project developments. Soon you will be able to access maps and routes and location information for your trip to the Fens for you to take the Hereward Trail across Hereward Country in search of Hereward, Subscribe now!

Visit Crowland Abbey on the Hereward Trail across Hereward Country in search of Hereward! Click on the image for details.

 1066 & all that...

In the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings a series of rebellions broke out across a defeated and demoralised Anglo Saxon state that lay prostrate under the oppressive grip of William 'the Conqueror' and his barbaric Norman knights.

Uprisings in Kent, Chester, Durham and York, led by various disaffected English nobles, were savagely and mercilessly beaten down and quashed, with thouands upon thousands slaughtered or left to perish in the devastation and ethnic cleansing that came to be known as the

'Harrying of the North'.

In the Fenlands to the East one of history's mysterious shadowy-figures by name of Hereward 'the Outlaw' rose to the fore and, armed with a multitude of dissidents, peasants and refugees, stopped the most formidable fighting force of the time dead in its tracks, inflicting humiliating damage to their number.

After a resistance of what appears to have been at least eighteen months, the fortified monastery on the Island of Ely in the southern Fenlands eventually capitulated, through treachery, and Hereward is reported to have fled, disappearing into the mists of the wild fen and on into legend...


Image: Hereward fighting on Aldreth Causeway by A.A.Dixon

Pause to remember Hereward, Folk hero of the Fens and his brave army of adherents who stood valiantly against insurmountable odds in defence of their own land, their own institutions and their own folk on the Isle of Ely against William the Conqueror. When Ely fell England fell.

We will remember them.

27th October 1071 - 27th October 2023

'his actions at Aldreth passed into legend'

'To raise the profile of Hereward the Wake across his native Fenlands and beyond'


Things got a little bit feisty on Saturday 12th August in the village of Cottenham deep in the Cambridgeshire Fens when non other than local Folk Hero HEREWARD THE WAKE showed up at the OPEN FOR NATURE DAY taking place on Cottenham Village Green.

It was rumoured a few days earlier that Hereward and some of his Band had been spotted in the Cottenham area and as the Sun reached its midday zenith as if out of nowhere Hereward appeared and began to address the locals.

You can hear some of what he had to say in the video clip above, captured by Gill of HIstory Needs You shortly before the scheduled talk on Hereward by David Maile.

In the video Hereward can clearly be heard complaining about the condition of the King's Highway at Cottenham and all of the Potholes in the village and as far as Hereward is concerned only one man is to blame for the state of the King's Highway and that is the King himself.

The Wake proceeded to 'Call Out' The Conqueror and can clearly be heard making the announcement and proclaiming that if the Conqueror didnt fill in the potholes then Hereward would be the one doing the 'filling-in'.

By late Sunday word had got to William through Messengers and William duly replied..

To read what the Conqueror had to say to Hereward and for a fuller review of the Open For Nature Day event, click on the link below.

'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.

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