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John Wilson

Documentary about Hereward (the Wake)?

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I'm remembering a TV documentary from about a decade or so ago (late 90's?), which was about the Anglo-Danish minor noble, Hereward, who, with several dispossessed English nobles, led the huge rebellion of 1069/70 in the murky Ely marshes against the rule of King William I, which resulted in that ruthless king himself showing up with substantial forces to finally crush the guerilla fighters. Hereward slipped into the mists of history, no-one knowing his ultimate fate.

It was a fascinating doc-dramatisation of quality and apparent accuracy and showed how Hereward's men, some of whom were major players in England (the leaders Earl Morcar of Northumbria (and initially his brother, earl Edwin of Mercia), Bishop Aethelwine; Siward Barn etc) successfully repulsed William's men along their hastily-built wooden trackwas across the dangerous marshes, with well-planned ambush attacks.

It wasn't, however, the 1965 black & white TV drama "Hereward the Wake" (16 episodes) which people remember, which anyway is now sadly lost/deleted by the Beeb from their archives to "save space". Nor do I believe it to have been the 1990 TV film called "Blood Royal: William the Conqueror" with Michael Gambon and Brian Blessed in the cast, as I remember a distinct archaeological-type narrative explaining the revolt and building of Norman wooden siege structures and trackways over the tides in the marshes, etc.

I don't know which TV production it was- Horizon? Timewatch? I have tried emailing the BBC and Channel4, and umpteen university Professors and historians etc, as well as having posted on various other history websites, but all to no avail despite the kindness and dedication allotted by them to my quest.

Does this documentary sound familiar to anyone?


Edited by John Wilson

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