A commemorative account of Digger's day.. a forwarded story from Ali in Oxford.
As midnight drew near on Thursday 1st April 1999, 350 years to the day Gerrard Winstanley and his followers thrust their spades into the fertile earth of St. Georges Hill near Weybridge, a party of two set off from the Diggers' commemorative celebrations to retrace those first pioneering footsteps, making their way once round the public roads encircling the hill.
In 1649 when St. George's Hill remained Common Land, still unfettered by the enclosures of private dominion, Winstanley set off to cultivate this land to feed the starving landless; the dispossessed peasants of the republic. Within a year Cromwell's troops had cleared these dangerous revolutionaries off the land once more.
Today with seemingly deliberate spite, the propertied have developed a rabbit warren of private roads and exclusive mansions, guarded by gated-access and a private security force to protect its fearful inhabitants and their exclusive golf courses from the dangerous rabble beyond. St. Georges Hill is today the supreme English epitome of Private Enclosure, Wealth and Privilege so starkly challenged by those Diggers 350 years ago; as clear a statement as any from the powers-that-be against the social aspirations of the many.
Negotiating the supposedly well guarded roads the two defiantly ignored the signs of theft all around. At the highest point where once lay the ancient fort that staked the summit of the Mother's body - a site where St. George slew her Python, and acquisitioned her Oracle - there now stands a new 'castle', a monument of glass, erected as if to reinforce the Apollonian slaying of the Earth to the god of Private Dominion, rudely stating its message that Common is enemy where Privilege and Property reign supreme.
With the light of a full moon illuminating their way in the profoundly still and unusually warm night air, the two walked around the remaining crescent of public land that skirts the ramparts of the older monument, and the second circuit was completed.
It was the first full moon after the equinox on which the Celtic 'Pelagian' Church celebrated the Resurrection of the Earth and the Spirit of the Christ. In springs where serpentine waters channel the lifeblood of the earth, on hill tops exposed to the serpentine air breathing life into the land, our forbears celebrated nature's fluids and rising solar forces as they quickened the return of life within the Mother's womb.
Where the moon shone high and silently through a clearing in the wood the two climbed the forted embankment, passing through a portalled hedge as they made their way out onto the summit. Ahead, nearly complete, lay the forms of three imposing post-modernist buildings hewn of vast wooden beams, stainless steel joins and solid float-glass walls. So around this glass temple they walked - and thrice round the summit they made.
Where the bulldozers had skinned the earth to make way for the foundations of these Temples of Dominion a new mound of loosened earth stood waiting to be rebedded into quaint ornamental gardens. So to the summit of this was climbed and using bare hands the soil dug once again, this time for common aspiration, in spite of its present private acquisition.
Withdrawing to the gladed bank, through the portal hedge the party came upon a fallen branch formed in mimicry of an antler of the majestic red deer. So with antlered heads, as shamans of old they each turned and gave their respect to the moon. Sitting down in the glade they broke the bread of the land and drank from the waters of the earth. A small supper to focus the nights events and quietly reflect upon under the silvery moonlight.
There was one final task to be settled. Three days later on the official day of Easter, a bag of Diggers' soil was scattered over a public allotment and dug-in - releasing its fertility to bring new life at the end of an old, fading millennium.
"And now I must wait to see the Spirit do his own work in the hearts of others...." - Gerrard Winstanley, 1650.
The Digging continues...
Threatening message recieved by today's Diggers
Parson Platt and other embittered people attacked the simple honesty of the seventeenth century Diggers. Unfortunately the same mean spirit is alive and well in 1999.
This anonymous email was sent by someone calling themselves "Trustnowun" on the Diggers350 email list in April 1999. It seems to be from an American (due to the use of the very un-English 'pissed').
Our lives are described as 'worthless'. Sounds like some serious bad ideas in the author's head.
The note seems to have been inspired by one or more individuals involved in organised crime resident on St. George's Hill and be a warning to us never to return to the home of the Diggers.
Any further information on whoever might have written it - for example gleaned from the message header appreciated - please post to the Diggers350 list -
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Here is the message in full:
Received: 8 Apr 1999 08:19:15 -0000 from web806.mail.yahoo.com (220.127.116.11) by vault.egroups.com with SMTP; 8 Apr 1999 08:19:15 -0000
Received: from [18.104.22.168] by web806.mail.yahoo.com; Thu, 08 Apr 1999 01:22:27 PDT
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 01:22:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: trustnowun n <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [diggers350] St. George's Hill
For a lazy bunch of academic (well some of you at least) left-wing radicals - you are really quite stupid or naive (or maybe both). One would have thought that if you had read your history and UNDERSTOOD it - what happened 350 years ago stands as a warning to you. Now 350 years after a mad Jew led another band of morons (and yes, William Everard was the person solely responsible for the original occupation), your leaders have decided that this would be a "good" thing to re-enact.
What they have done is to lead you into encroaching upon the enclave of a very small minority of powerful individuals (and the word "powerful" - is used in the sense that most of you are clearly incapable of even imagining). These people have only got where they have in life and society by NEVER doing anything within the law. Aren't you wondering yet about the residents who APPEAR to have NO INTEREST in you whatsoever ??? - you should be. Some of these people do things for a living (and sometimes just for the sheer hell of it) that you only see on a Hollywood movie, or occasionally read about in the newspapers.
These people are neither worried or intimidated by your kind - but they ARE pissed!
For the first time in your stupid worthless lives you may of bitten off here a little more than you can chew. They know who ALL of you are - Tony, Annie, Jon, Eric, Steve and even you Dave (who clearly ate one too many big-macs when he worked there !) - and you all should NOT be sleeping very soundly at the moment. The only hole you "diggers" are digging at the moment is the one that you are digging yourselves into.
This note to you all is not a joke - you REALLY do need to be seriously concerned - especially those of you with families on site. Never mind about your "negotiations" with Mr. Newberry - once you leave here, you will NEVER be allowed to assemble en-mass on this estate again. Those of you who are "in charge" of affairs in this "camp" need to have a long hard think
The Land Is Ours have been facilitating celebrations and events in the UK around the Diggers anniversary - 1st April 1999
1968 - San Francisco digs Gerrard Winstanley (offsite)
An excellent film about the Diggers by Roy Hanney http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~royhan/film/
The Law of Freedom - Gerrard
Winstanley's utopian but workable system of common
ownership which he devised after the Diggers. Probably
what Winstanley would have thought of as his best writings - nice
one Tash! Site
Not Found 24th July,2004 http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/tash_lodge/winst1.htm
Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers
Site Not Found 24th July,2004
The Levellers' Page | The
Leveller soldiers make a stand for the People
Cornet William Thompson's message from the Leveller soldiers | email tony
Copied from www.tlio.demon.co.uk
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