The Diggers were a group, begun by Gerrard Winstanley as True Levellers in 1649, who became known as "Diggers" due to their activities.

Their original name came from their belief in Christian communism based upon a specific passage in the Book of Acts. The Diggers attempted to reform (by "levelling" real property) the existing social order with an agrarian lifestyle based upon their ideas for the creation of small egalitarian rural communities.

that is great news on behalf of pop culture and the diggers!

Revival of the name Diggers[]

  • 1850s and 1860s - miners on the Australian Goldfields.
  • 1900s - ANZAC troops in World War I were known as Diggers.
  • 1960s - Diggers Diggers was revived in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco by a radical guerilla theater group offering street theater, information and free food during the hippie movement in 1965 – 68. They deliberately took their name after consulting unspecified history books relating to the original Diggers of the mid-1600s in England.
  • 1974 - Digger was used as the platform name by a candidate for Cambridge in the British General Election.
  • 1990s The Diggers were also a Scottish rock band who released an album and numerous singles on Creation records in the 1990s. They were associated with the tail end of Britpop.

Diggers influence on literature and popular culture[]

  • "The World Turned Upside-Down", by Leon Rosselson. - 1975. (A song about the Diggers and their activities on St. George's Hill in 1649.)
  • "The World Turned Upside-Down" (by Rosselon), performed by Billy Bragg. Between The Wars EP. 1985.
  • Winstanley, a fictionalized movie portrait of the Diggers, directed by Kevin Brownlow. 1975. (Based upon the novel Comrade Jacob by David Caute.)
  • Rev Hammer's Freeborn John (The Story of John Lilburne - The Leader of the Levellers), by Rev Hammer (and company). - Cooking Vinyl CD. London. 1997. (This production is a recent example of the confusion that has been created between the Levellers and True Levellers.)
  • Ringolevio (A life played for keeps) by [[Emmett Grogan]. - Little Brown & Company, 1972. Library of Congress No.78-186970. (The story of the revival of the Diggers in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California and New York during the mid-1960s. Grogan was one of the leaders of this revival. He sang backup with Ramblin' Jack Elliott on "Mr. Tambourine Man", written by Bob Dylan.)
  • "The World Turned Upside-Down" (by Rossselson), performed by Seattle Celt-rock band Coventry on the album Red Hair and Black Leather


  • John Edward Christopher Hill. "The World Turned Upside Down" chapter on "Levellers and True Levellers"
  • David W. Petegorsky. "Left-wing Democracy In The English Civil War. Gerrard Winstanley And the Digger Movement" ISBN 1 8400 4004 1

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