The Davenant Press


The Levellers and the English Civil War


By David Loades.

ISBN 978 1 85944 233 3. Published 2014. The Levellers was one of many radical groups produced by the ferment of the English Civil War. Under a Leveller government there would have been no established church, no tithes and no agreed statement of doctrine which in the seventeenth century would have led to chaos. Their ideas were radical, imprecisely formulated and occasionally contradictory. They were feared by the New Model Army for their election of Agitators – shop stewards! But their success laid with the army and it was the army at the time of the Putney Debates that their strength emerged.. The real test of their strength came when the Levellers in the New Model Arm mutinied so normal military discipline was put to the test.. The significance of the skirmish at Burford, Oxfordshire when 400 were captured and imprisoned in the church and three of the were executed and buried in the churchyard. 800 escaped and disappeared into the countryside. Normal discipline had stood that test.