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Restoring the Garden of Eden in England’s Green and Pleasant Land: The Diggers and the Fruits of the Earth

Hessayon, Ariel. 2009. Restoring the Garden of Eden in England’s Green and Pleasant Land: The Diggers and the Fruits of the Earth. Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 2(2), pp. 1-25. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

On Sunday, 1 or perhaps 8 April 1649—it is difficult to establish the date with certainty—five people went to St. George’s Hill in the parish Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and began digging the earth. They "sowed" the ground with parsnips, carrots, and beans, returning the next day in increased numbers. The following day they burned at least 40 roods of heath, which was considered "a very great prejudice" to the town. By the end of the week between 20 and 30 people were reportedly laboring the entire day at digging. It was said that they intended to plow up the ground and sow it with seed corn. Furthermore, they apparently threatened to pull down and level all park pales and “lay all open,” thereby evoking fears of an anti-enclosure riot (a familiar form of agrarian protest). The acknowledged leaders of these "new Levellers" or "diggers" were William Everard (1602?– fl.1651) and Gerrard Winstanley (1609–76). Apprenticed in the Merchant Taylors’ Company, Everard seems to have been a Parliamentarian spy during the English Civil War, was implicated in a plot to kill Charles I, jailed and subsequently cashiered from the army.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1353/jsr.0.0004

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

History

Dates:

DateEvent
2009Published

Item ID:

3763

Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2010 12:13

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2018 18:55

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/3763

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