Hereward the Wake in Peterborough

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Hereward was an Anglo-Saxon rebel fighting against the Norman invaders. In 1070 he led an army that sacked Peterborough and its abbey.

Little is known about Hereward's early life, but it is thought that he originally lived near Bourne in Lincolnshire. He was exiled from England before 1060 and served as a mercenary in Europe. After the Normans invaded in 1066 he returned to England and became an outlaw and freedom-fighter.

In 1070 Abbot Brand of Peterborough died and William the Conqueror replaced him with Turold, a Norman Abbot and military monk. Hereward joined forces with an army of Danes. They sailed up the River Nene to attack Peterborough to prevent its wealth from falling into Norman hands.

The monks of Peterborough put up a fight but were killed or taken hostage. When Turold arrived at Peterborough he discovered that his abbey had been razed to the ground and its wealth had been looted. All that remained was the church.

This page was added on 12/03/2010.

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