road protests 1999   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links

From: "SchNEWS" (
To: "SchNEWS Subscribers" (
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 19:05:05 +0000
Subject: SchNEWS 207, 9th April 1999

DIRTY DIGGERS (350th celebration)

"All the Commons and waste Ground in England, and in the whole world, shall be taken in righteousness, not owning any property; but taking the Earth to be a Common Treasury, as it was first made for all." - Gerrard Winstanley.

Landlessness, homelessness and poverty are nothing new. The Diggers were fighting for the right of the common person to make rent-free use of the common land way back in 1649. 350 years ago, British activists were already trying to reclaim their rights. The King, who officially owned all the land in England, had been defeated in the civil war leaving England's pastures potentially up for grabs so activist Gerrard Winstanley, with twenty of his poor and landless friends took posession of St Georges Hill at Walton on Thames. The Diggers used 'liberated' presses to produce pamphlets encouraging the poor to make use of common and waste land for cultivation and common grazing, attempting to raise consciousness of why so many go hungry while so few grow rich. SchNEWS can't argue with that - but unfortunately the government and landowners weren't impressed and got rid of them through a combination of legal actions, military intervention and mob violence. 350 years later and the Diggers are back! They have set up site on St George's Hill, ironically now a huge private estate for millionaires, and are demanding a permanent home for the Diggers' memorial stone and guaranteed public access to the hill. The squatters have now been served with an eviction notice, so try and get along this weekend. SchNEWS spoke to local resident Cliff Richard, who expressed concern over possible 'Devil Women' on site, but was keen to offer his 'congratulations and jubilations' on the memorial site.

* Location details: 0961 373385
* The Land is Ours Office: 01865 722016



Email: Web:

road protests 1999   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links