Woodcraft Folk

Cheltenham District
Woodcraft Folk

Levellers Day - May 2015

The Woodcraft Folk did the Levellers proud last Saturday (16th May 2015). Groups from Gloucester, Oxford, Swindon and Cheltenham (with representatives from Stroud and Banbury) made up the largest, most colourful and noisiest part of the parade through Burford Town centre. The groups gathered for a commemoration of the ending of the Levellers rebellion by 300 soldiers in Oliver's Army in 1649. The Levellers where early 'socialists' campaigning for votes for everyone (so long as they were men), freedom of speech, decent health care and housing - ideals held dear by the Woodcraft Folk. Three ringleaders Cornet Thompson, Corporal Church and Private Perkins paid the ultimate price with their lives in the churchyard of Burford Church.

Despite the sun shining, Levellers Day started with a chilly breeze while the erection of the marquee went ahead without a hitch (apart from, to everyone's amusement, Chrisman, who's put the marquee up 100 times in the past, trying to put some guy ropes on the wrong way). In the meantime, more and more Woodies arrived at the rec and by the time the march was about to start there must have been 50-60 of us from Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. The main event kicked off at Burford Church where we gathered with various trade unionists before marching up Burford high street, weaving between the classic cars that presumably met up there for another reason. It was great to see the Woodcraft Folk making up a significant portion of the March and making the most noise with people singing songs, blowing whistles and tooting horns.

After the parade we all gathered in the recreation field, some to listen to speeches about why it is not a good idea to have the conservatives win the general election, the rest of us to be entertained by juggler, stilt walker and all round entertainer, Thomas Trilby - and very entertaining he was too. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and very restful for us adults, take a look at the photos if you don't believe me!