Leveller's day Burford 2013

Levellers' Day, Burford,  2013
- Learning the Lessons from History - from the struggles of yesterday to the challenges faced today.

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 go to Burford on the Saturday nearest to 17 May, to debate, hold a procession, listen to music and remember the Levellers and the importance of holding on to ideals of justice and democracy.

Levellers Day is organised by a group of campaigners, educators, trade unionists and historians.
This year the event takes place in Burford Oxfordshire on Saturday 18 May. Through a panel of guest speakers, debate and discussion, workshops and a march and commemoration in Burford, the legacy of the Levellers' and Oxfordshire's radical history will be celebrated.