Gerard Winstenley: biography, creativity, career, personal life

Renaissance gave humanity such a philosophical current as utopism. Many scientists of men have expressed their hypotheses as to what the device of society should be, so that everyone will have enough of everything. Our hero went a little further – he organised people to build a perfect world of justice and equality.


early years

came to light in October 1609. His father Edward resided with his family in the town of Wigan and was a merchant. He sold expensive overseas fabrics. He had a decent income, because he raised his son in luxury. The heir of the merchant easily mastered literacy and numeracy, than pleased the parents. A more specialized education, they felt, the boy didn’t need.

The town of Wigan in which Gerard Winstenley was born and raised

Work Junior Winstenley started in adolescence, helping his father. Outraging, he opened his case by offering shoppers a ready-made dress. In 1630, the young entrepreneur wished to separate himself from the family business, to which he received the blessing of his parent. In addition to parting words, the old man provided his chado with letters of recommendation to his partners. Making a career and business guy went to the capital.

Independent life In

London, our hero had to take the place of apprentice in the Guild of Merchants and Tailors. Only in 1638 his skill was recognized and accepted as an equal in the merchant organization. It was very btw – Gerard met Susan King and was going to take her as his wives. The father of the bride William was a doctor, he came from the poor and achieved everything in his life, because the demands on the groom made high. In 1639 he led his daughter down the aisle and passed the care of her to Mr Winstenley.

The conflict of King Charles I with Parliament led to the outbreak of civil war in 1642. Gerard Winstenley supported the idea of overthrowing the monarch and set out his views in pamphlets he printed for his money. During the battles, demand for the luxury outfits he was selling plummeted. The aspiring politician’s year of adventure ended with the ruin of his shop. The couple would have starved had it not been for William King to intervene. He invited the couple to move in with him in the village of Cobham in the county of Surrey.

Cromwell’s troops on the march. Modern drawing The

wrestler for equality

father-in-law did not intend to feed his son-in-law with gift. The former rich man was forced to make his possible contribution to the economy, working as a shepherd. He was introduced to the heavy weekdays of local peasants. In his spare hours, the miserable sought solace in reading the Bible. There were no calls for humility in the lines of the Holy Scripture, but there were many interesting thoughts that dealt with the just arrangement of life.

In front of fellow villagers, Gerard Winstenley made a call to change his usual way to get rid of the monarch’s power forever. He described the techniques in detail, and the common people liked them. In April 1649, the rebels captured St. George’s Hill next to the village and opened it up. This community referred to themselves as diggers, or diggers. According to the charter offered by our hero, the land should have been expropriated from the aristocracy and processed together. Products were to be distributed according to need, with anyone who joined the commune immediately receiving everything they needed.

Gerard Winstenley agitates the peasants. Ancient engraving


In the civil war, such orders in a small group of peasants proved to be winning. Neighbors noticed the success of the diggers and began to embrace their experiences. Naturally, no communism smelled here. Grueling labor and need were constant companions of Winstenley’s comrades. But commoners of that era had modest requests. A piece of bread on the table allowed them to escape the temptation to become brigands, or vagrants, and perish from a blade or starvation. It resembled the primal way of the first farmers and saved lives.

Resentment was caused by the inhabitants of the commune in the aristocracy. Landowners did not want to cede their endowments for free. The fact that the rebel leader claimed that self-capture of abandoned grazens was good to God caused special excitement. In 1650 nobles hired soldiers who defeated the settlement. Winstenley fled to Hartwordshire and hired as a steward at Lady Eleanor Davies’s estate.

Soldiers disperse diggers. Old engraving


As soon as the passions around the diggers settled, our hero returned to Surrey, however, did not find his associates there. Some of them were killed, some were hiding from punishment. Gerard Winstenley was under the protection of his esteemed Rodney, because he could not fear retribution. He became creative and in 1652 published the book “The Law of Freedom”. There, the famous rebel laid out his ideas, appealing to the Old and New Testaments.


Gerard Winstenley festival is held annually in the English city of Wigan

to Old Man King of Brave He liked his son-in-law and in 1647 he gave his heirs a small estate. Suddenly, a wealthy Gerard transformed himself from a man with a dubious biography into a respected member of the village community. In 1659 he was elected starosta. The former throated, the only freedom he now allowed himself was the support of the Quakers – one of the currents of Protestantism.

After the death of faithful Susan in 1664. Gerard went to London. There he managed to establish a personal life in a year, remarrying Elizabeth Stanley, and to return to the ranks of merchants. True, now Winstenley traded corn. In 1676 he tried because of a trifling, was a lot nervous and died.

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