Hereward the Wake returned to Bourne on Thursday 7th September in an event organised by the WakeHereward Project in association with Baldock's Mill Heritage Centre and by courtesy of Bourne Civic Society. In attendance were the Mayor and Mayoress of Bourne, here flanked by David Maile and Michael Gilbert. In his speech welcoming the project to Bourne, The Mayor, Councillor P. Fellows, spoke of his enthusiasm to raise the profile of Hereward in the place purported to be Hereward's hometown and offered to support the project's efforts to install a heritage interpretation board of Hereward in the town of Bourne, which will match with other sites at Crowland, Peterborough and Ely, to form a 'Fen Trail' highlighting Hereward's resistance to William the Conqueror at the most cataclysmic point in English history.
(Interview with Bourne Town Mayor, Cllr P. Fellows on the Hereward Country YouTube Channel).
The evening event was introduced by David Maile; thanking all in attendance including the Mayor and Mayoress of Bourne; Brenda and Jim Jones who hosted the evening at Baldock's Mill and Bourne Civic Society for their welcome. David also spoke of the launch of a Hereward the Wake Facebook Group at the same time as the event was opening - Administered by Historian and Author David Pilling from his home in Wales and assisted by Marsha Lambert from her home in the United States. He also spoke of the 4,000+Followers for Hereward the Wake on Twitter and the efforts being made through social media and the website herewardthewake.co.uk to raise the profile of Hereward the Wake around the world. David also spoke of the efforts being made to engage with historians and people who have in some way already had an association with Hereward and 'brought him this far' in order to gain their approval on the narrative of the WakeHereward Project as it progresses, mentioning a recent meeting with Professor David Roffe who had given advice and guidance on questions raised.
Music from folk music duo Waywood began the evening, Balladeer Gareth Calway and Harpist Vanessa Wood-davies, began with the self-written 'Death of a 12th Century Hood' and later performed 'Wicked Fen' before the premiere of a song especially written for the evening - 'The Ballad of Hereward the Wake' - to a fantastic reception from the full-house audience.
Waywood performing 'Death of a 12th Century Hood'
Situated on the ground floor was the only known travelling Bayeux Tapestry in the world! Mia Hansson spoke of her work embroidering a sixty nine metre replica of the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the story of the Norman Conquest of England. Mia is now working on the tenth metre which has taken just over a year. She has estimated that it will take the best part of ten years to complete the whole tapestry, a mammoth task which was met with much interest and inquiry from the people who attended the event.
(Mia Hansson displaying her Bayeux Tapestry replica, see more on Mia's Bayeux Tapestry Story)
Folklorist Malcolm Busby travelled from Burwell at the southern edge of the Fenlands, which Hereward and his men are recorded as having once attacked and scorched, to regale a tale about Hereward from the Charles Kingsley classic of 1866, a book which is very much the benchmark of Hereward novels as it launched his fame in the nineteenth century when he became recognised as England's Patriot.
(Malcolm Busby entertains the audience at Baldock's Mill with Kingsley's Hereward).
Dr. Michael Gilbert captivated the audience with a slideshow of what the Medieval Fenlands was like in the time of Hereward and the event finished with David Maile giving an account of his reasons for beginning the WakeHereward Project as well as identifying Hereward as an icon of reconcilliation between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxon English when talking of the English resistance to the Norman Conquest. The event was filmed throughout by David Johnson of DMJ Imagery.
(David Johnson of DMJ Imagery filming the event).
Although part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days weekend, where people are encouraged to visit museums and other places of historic interest for free, the event was date-specific as it marked what is believed to be the 950th anniversary of Hereward's return from exile in early September 1067, almost a year after the Battle of Hastings.
The WakeHereward Project would like to thank all who were in attendance as well as their kind hosts, Brenda and Jim Jones at Baldock's Mill for their hospitality, the Bourne Civic Society and the Mayor and Mayoress of Bourne for a successful event.
Hereward is back!
The Wake Knot
Baldock's Mill Heritage Centre, Bourne, Linc's.