HEREWARD, usually but erroneously styled " the Wake " (an addition of later days), an Englishman famous for his resistance to William the Conqueror. It is now established that he was a tenant of Peterborough Abbey, from which he held lands at Witham-on-the-Hill and Barholme with Stow in the south-western corner of Lincolnshire, and of Crowland Abbey at Rippingale in the neighbouring fenland. His first authentic act is the storm and sacking of Peterborough in 1070, in company with outlaws and Danish invaders. The next year he took part in the desperate stand against the Conqueror's rule made in the isle of Ely, and, on its capture by the Normans, escaped with his followers through the fens. That his exploits made an exceptional impression on the popular mind is certain from the mass of legendary history that clustered round his name; he became, says Mr Davis, " in popular eyes the champion of the English national cause." The Hereward legend has been fully dealt with by him and by Professor Freeman, who observed that " with no name has fiction been more busy."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)