Brave community

The Digger Movement in the English Revolution

By John Gurney

Brave community


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6103-5
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: June 2012
  • BIC Category: History, Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions, History & Archaeology, General & world history, c 1500 onwards to present day, 17th century, c 1600 to c 1699, HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century, Humanities / Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
  • Series: Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain


Newly available in paperback, this is a full-length, modern study of the Diggers or 'True Levellers', who were among the most remarkable of the radical groups to emerge during the English Revolution of 1640-60. It was in April 1649 that the Diggers, inspired by the teachings and writings of Gerrard Winstanley, began their occupation of waste land at St George's Hill in Surrey and called on all poor people to join them or follow their example. Acting at a time of unparalleled political change and heightened millenarian expectation, the Diggers believed that the establishment of an egalitarian, property-less society was imminent. This book should be of interest to all those interested in England's mid-seventeenth-century revolution and in the history of radical movements.


Gurney has written a remarkable book. comprehensively researched, it is a notable addition to a highly successful Manchester University Press series. No historian dealing with this period can afford to ignore it.'
R. C. Richardson, Southern History

This work attempts to place the Diggers in context on a number of different levels: locally, nationally, politically, and intellectually. The aim is to improve our comprehension of the Diggers in their time and place without having Winstanley dominate the account; this is a laudable change of focus, as a prolific radical theorist can skew the analysis.


John Gurney is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University


1. Parish, community and social relations in Cobham
2. The parish of Cobham and the Civil War
3. Gerrard Winstanley
4. Winstanley: the early writings
5. The Diggers on St George's Hill
6. The Diggers and the local community
7. Aftermath

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