In 1649 Gerrard Winstanley and 14 others published a pamphlet in which they called themselves the “True Levellers” although once they began to put those beliefs into practice they soon became known by supporters and opponents as “Diggers”.
The Diggers’ beliefs envisioned an ecological interrelationship between humans and nature, acknowledging the inherent connections between people and their surroundings.
Winstanley declared that “true freedom lies where a man receives his nourishment and preservation, and that is in the use of the earth”.
In April 1649 several Diggers had begun to plant vegetables in common land on St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey at a time when food prices reached an all-time high. They had invited “all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink, and clothes.”