RELEASED: 17:43 27. November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 27. November 2017

A folk-loving trio from the fens formed a new band, The Penland Phezants. PHOTO: Bhas Allan

A folk-loving trio from the fens formed a new band, The Penland Phezants. PHOTO: Bhas Allan


A folkloric trio from the Fens – including the musician Andy Wall of Ely – has joined together to The Penland Phezants.

The band consists of the poet Gareth Calway and the harpist Vanessa Wood Davies. Together they develop a project that tells the story – The true story of Hereward the Wake.

The trio has already been explored by two major folk festivals in the UK and is now looking for more dates to include in its list of festivals, folk clubs, theaters and artistic engagement.

Gareth, who will work with Vanessa Wood-Davies to write the verse, said, "The compelling narrative of the project is given by harp music composed and performed by the Welsh, Romany-influenced harpist Vanessa.

"The show gets a folk perspective by weaving together a bunch of new real Robin Hood ballads, all written by Bread & Blood team Gareth and Andy.

"Andy's classic and authentic folk performance of the ballads is a special highlight and fits in perfectly with this great English folk tale. A 30-minute alternative showcase version will also be available for the tour. "

Gareth said the working title of the project was "As free as the waters flowing through the window" – A very English resistance: The true story of Hereward the Wake.

The group has put together some of the story of Hereward the Wake, who returned in 1067 from exile and adventures in Cornwall, Ireland and Flanders.

He led the English resistance against the conquest of Norman, which was then in a critical stage.

He then avenged the Norman murder of his brother and the theft of his mansion in his hometown Bourne in Lincolnshire, before he settled on the island of Ely alongside the Count of Morcar (the dead King Harold's brother) and King Sweyn of Denmark several times a desperate Siege of the island, which was led by William the Conqueror personally.

The defense of Hereward was so successful that William was incredibly ready to offer peace terms when Hereward was betrayed by his former military comrades, the fighting abbot and the monks of Ely Abbey.

Gareth said thanks to the early warning of a valiant monk, the ever-fugitive Hereward was able to stand up for further historic successes against William's armies in Fenland, Burgh (Peterborough) and Bruneswald, and the Greenwoods of Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

Gareth's 90-minute story will tell the full story, from the folk tales of Hereward's early career to the historic defense of Ely to the glittering later rearguard wins against all adversities in Fenland and Greenwood.

Based on the Latin chronicles compiled by 12th-century monks, this storied narrative lends full rein to the English humor of Freeborn and the dizziness of a real Robin Hood.

He said the story was composed and performed by Vanessa.