BETWEEN THE WARS - February 28, 1985 and BACK TO BASICS - 1987
WORDS and MUSIC:   Leon Rosselson - 1981

The Diggers were a group of agrarian communists who flourished in England in 1649-50 and were led by Gerrard Winstanley and William Everard. The Diggers believed that since the English Civil War had been fought against the King and the landowners, and with Charles I executed, land should then be made available to the poor to cultivate. In April 1649 a group of about 20 men assembled at St. George's Hill, Surrey, and began to cultivate the common land.  The Diggers' activities alarmed the Commonwealth government and roused the hostility of local landowners, who were rival claimants to the common lands.

On 16 April 1649 Henry Sanders sent an alarming letter to the Council of State reporting that several individuals had begun to plant vegetables on St. George's Hill in Surrey. Sanders reported they, the Diggers, had invited "all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink, and clothes." and that the Diggers claimed that their number would be several thousand within ten days. "It is feared they have some design in hand." The Council of State sent the letter to Lord Fairfax, lord general of the army, along with a dispatch stating:

By the narrative enclosed your Lordship will be informed of what hath been made to this Council of a disorderly and tumultuous sort of people assembling themselves  together not far from Oatlands, at a place called St. George's Hill; and although the pretence of their being there by them avowed may seem very ridiculous, yet that conflux of people may be a beginning whence things of a greater and more dangerous consequence may grow.
Fairfax was then ordered to disperse the group and prevent a repetition of the event.

The Diggers were harassed by legal actions and mob violence, and by the end of March 1650 their members were driven off the St. George's Hill. Despite this setback they continued their work on a nearby heath in Cobham. colony was dispersed. In April the Digger movement collapsed when a Parson Platt, the lord of the manor, and several others destroyed the Diggers'
houses, burned their furniture, and scattered their belongings. Platt threatened the Diggers with death if they continued their activity and hired several guards to prevent their return to the heath. Winstanley recorded these events as well as a final defense of the Digger movement.

Source: Donald Sutherland and Encyclopedia Brittanica
From OLGA. Chords:


022100 - E
799877 - B
577655 - A


droning E

E                                                                       B
In sixteen forty nine               to St George's Hill
                 A                                                                  E
a ragged band they called the Diggers came to show the peoples' will
E                                                                          B
they defied the Landlords,    they defied the laws
                         A                                 B                         E
they were the dispossessed,  reclaiming what was theirs

E                                                                         B
"we come in peace" they said,     to dig and sow
                        A                                                       E
we come to work the lands in common and to make the wastegrounds grow
E                                                       B
this earth divided,     we will make whole
            A                          B             E
so it will be a common treasury for all

E                                                    B
the sin of property,    we do disdain
                       A                                             E
no man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain
E                                                          B
by theft and murder     they took the land
                      A                                B                           E
now everywhere the walls spring up at their command

E                                                       B
they make the laws       to chain us well
                    A                                              E
the clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell
E                                                     B
we will not worship     the god they serve
                     A                                B                                  E
the god of greed who feeds the rich while poor man starve

E                                                                B
we work, we eat together    we need no swords
                   A                                           E
we will not bow to the masters or pay rent to the lords
E                                                      B
we are free men,    though we are poor
                     A                         B                     E
you diggers all stand up for glory stand up now

E                                                                B
from the men of property,     the orders came
                       A                                                     E
they sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers' claim
E                                                           B
tear down their cottages, destroy their corn
                      A                                 B                     E
they were dispersed, but still the vision lingers on

E                                                                B
you poor take courage,    you rich take care
                           A                                             E
this earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share
E                                                         B
all things in common,      all people one
                         A                            B                                          E
we come in peace, the orders came to cut them down