On 17 May 1649, three soldiers were executed on Oliver Cromwell’s orders in Burford churchyard, Oxfordshire. They belonged to a movement popularly known as the Levellers, with beliefs in civil rights and religious tolerance.

During the Civil War, the Levellers fought on Parliament’s side, they had at first seen Cromwell as a liberator, but now saw him as a dictator. They were prepared to fight against him for their ideals and he was determined to crush them. Over 300 of them were captured by Cromwell’s troops and locked up in Burford church. Three were led out into the churchyard to be shot as ringleaders.

In 1975, members of the WEA Oxford Industrial Branch went to Burford to reclaim a piece of history that seemed to be missing from the school books. They held a meeting in remembrance of the Leveller soldiers. The following year, Tony Benn came and read in the church and in each succeeding year, people have come to Burford on the Saturday nearest to 17 May, debated, held a procession, listened to music and remembered the Levellers and the importance of holding on to ideals of justice and democracy.

Want to read more…

SERTUC has published The Levellers Movement, an account of perhaps the first political movement to represent the ordinary people. You can download it free here The Levellers Movement. Hard copies have sold out!

Levellers drummer

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Its great that this is remembered. Some people may not know that The Levelers refused to go and fight for Cromwell in Ireland. This is important for people to know as Cromwell unleashed brutal slaughter on the Irish people.

  2. Please put the date for Levellers’ Day 2019 on the website!
    I am keeping the two dates, but I’d like to know whether it will be 11th or 18th May.
    With best wishes, Chris

  3. My name is Vicent Mengual, from Spain. I’m reading a lot about de XVII English century and, looking information about de facts of Burford in 1649, I, surprisingly, have met you website Levellers Day. I write you for participate you of my emotion of knowing your initiative. Always that, historically, some people have defended common people, they have been repressed, punished severely and put into oblivion.
    Thanks a lot for recovering the memory

    Vicent Mengual (Valencia-Spain)

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