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Hereward's Standard premiered!

How do you design a Standard befitting a folk hero such as Hereward when there is no description to be found of his colours in the historical sources and no certain evidence that he carried a Standard in his army?

The one reference to a Hereward Standard comes in the early 12th Century manuscript known as the 'Gesta Herwardi'. In it the monk chronicler writes that after the defeat of Hereward's forces at Ely he and some of his men escape into the ancient tract of forest known as the Brunneswald. The outlaws are chased by the Norman armies from five provinces into woods near Peterborough. But Hereward launches counter-attacks out of the woods on horseback that chip into the defences of the Norman force and eventually they manage to kidnap Turold the Abbot of Peterborough and Ivo Taillebois, Lord of the Manor of Spalding, two of Hereward's deadliest enemies. The source alleges that Hereward ransoms the two for much booty, and there is also a short passage that mentions Hereward's Standard:

'And they advanced from cover of the thicket under the protection of their archers, Hereward in everything always leading the way. Immediately after him came Rahenald, Steward of Ramsey, who always acted as Standard Bearer in Hereward's army...' (Gesta Herwardi).

According to the same source, Hereward had fought as a Military Commander in the army of Duke Baldwin V of Flanders before returning from exile in 1067 almost a year after the Battle of Hastings. At that time Flanders was among the advanced societies of Europe with a multi-ethnic influx of folk at a time when France and her satellite counties were in a constant flux of local wars and armed disagreements. As a leader in the Flanders army in northern Europe at the time of the Norman Conquest it plausible that he had a Standard that represented him.

The Hereward Standard was premiered at the Hereward Rising! event on 2nd June at Peterborough Cathedral. Here can be seen Hereward (hidden from pic) and his Band receiving the Hereward Charity Challenge Trophy from the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough. The trophy represented the gold and silver that Hereward stole from Peterborough when he ransacked the monastery 951 years earlier on 2nd June 1070. The design, appearing in keeping with the epoch it represents, received good comment on its originality and appeal.

David Maile worked with Graphic Designer Charlie Cornwell

'I had been thinking on this issue for years' says David Maile of the WakeHereward Project, 'the colours, the content, because we know nothing from the sources. Then I looked at the legend, and the Wake Knot stands alone, here was something and when I put it in front of Charlie of Cantaware he was very fast in coming up with something. With the Wake Knot came the colours, they are the Wake family colours. Like with the knot, we either went with it or make up something from scratch. It was important to me to have that connection.

Charlie gave four options and I liked what he had done with the knot and the colours looked good, on the one chosen. But it lacked a message and I feel sure that Hereward would have had something powerful on his banner. I had decided upon the Lion of Flanders years ago, Hardrada had a Raven, King Harold a Dragon, I felt a lion would suit Hereward, particularly, once again, as there is a connection.

Hereward had fought as a mercenary for the Count of Flanders and became a Military Commander in his army under his son, Robert the Frisian. Such an esteemed military connection had surely to be represented on Hereward's banner, so the lion was tried and it worked marvellously. Even though it does not appear in Flanders until a generation or so after Hereward;s time, it does link him to his historical past. All concerned were very impressed with the speed and quality of Charlie's work and he is now doing other work for the project.'

Charlie of Cantaware Graphic Design came in and worked on David Maile's idea to produce a stunning Hereward flag.

Charlie explains, 'Cantaware is an online project, graphic art portfolio and full-time hobby of mine. It was started as an exercise to spread my art work to the public in hopes of growing my network to other artists and friends. In the time since I first began posting my work online, my interests and work have deviated to topics such as vexillology and religious devotionals.

As a practicing English Heathen, I see art as an expression of our connection to the divine. The progression of an artist mirrors that of any craft in England old; be it architecture, woodwork, metalwork or otherwise. As new mediums rise to take the place of these most ancient practices, we follow in the footsteps of our forebears by looking at these new crafts as not just material, but spiritual.

The Hereward Charity Challenge caught my eye as it encapsulates the best of English spirit; charitable action and virtuous intention. I am honoured to have been involved with this project and fully support their cause of raising awareness of male suicide.'

Medieval Re-enactor Steven Payne stands guard at Ely Cathedral in his role as Rahenald, Steward of Ramsey at the end of Day 2 of the Hereward Charity Challenge on June 3rd.

Young Percy walking to school with the Hereward flag after performing the part of Rahenald Steward of Ramsey at Ramsey Abbey and Peterborough Cathedral in the Hereward Charity Challenge. He had a lot to tell the class that day!

The Wake Family colours

The Wake Knot

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