Victor Head,
(Sutton, 1995)

In the period immediately after the Norman invasion of England, when the Normans conquered the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings, pockets of rebellion and resentment for these powerful invaders still fermented among the conquered Saxons. After all, the Normans were not like the Romans, coming with legions to keep Britain under their first. A small number of Normans usurped the power from the Saxon Earls and held it. If the Saxons could organise some united resistance, they might yet push the Normans out of the nation altogether.

A center of such resistance arose in the politically hot fens of East Angelia. On the refuge of the Isle of Ely, a determined leader plotted. Much in the manner that William Wallace rose to stand for Scotland, Hereward the Wake is a character now of myth and legends, although unlike Wallace he does not enjoy the spotlight in the public mind. A relatively obscure thane, he became the main thorn in the side of the Norman invaders.

Victor Head works to bring Hereward out of that misty realm of myth and into a flesh-and-blood man, filling in the gaps by presenting clear and concise evidence from all sides about incidents in history. He plays advocate and devil's advocate, logically giving the pros and cons about the "facts" of Hereward's rising.

Hereward is, indeed, woven into the fabric of England's struggles in history, and as I said, one cannot but help draw parallels between him and Scotland's Wallace. Rather sadly, this real warrior who fought for Saxon freedom is relegated in dusty volumes of history while the legendary Robin Hood is perceived as the hero of Saxon resistance. One wonders just how much of the Robin Hood legend was borrowed and modified from Hereward's true exploits.

Cheers to Victor Head for giving Hereward the spotlight he so richly deserves.

- Rambles
written by DeborahAnne MacGillivray

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