Remember! Remember the 5th & 6th November!

Inspired by the Levellers and the Diggers

New Putney Debates celebrates the 799th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest on 5th & 6th November with a weekend of events looking at how social protest won the commons and ongoing struggle for land rights and democracy – from Robin Hood to recent protest to keep our housing and protect nature.

Starting with a trip to Hackney Marshes at 2pm on 5 November, a timeline exhibition at 5pm , followed at 7:30 a boat party with folk & protest songs , all on Fordham Gallery barge. Sunday has a walk plotting the steps in the evolution if the Charter of the Forest, through the streets and parks of London , starting at 1pm, Lambeth Palace.

5th November

2pm: Boat Trip visit to the Hackney Marshes common land. Meet 2pm at Fordham Gallery Boat, River Lee, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, E15. FREE

5pm: Opening of the timeline. This shows a history of land-rights and protest in and around London and the Thames Valley, from the first settlement of London to the entering of the Charter of the Forest and the Magna Carta into statute in 1297. Venue: Fordham Gallery Boat, River Lee, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, E15. FREE

7:30pm until late: Lands & Housing Rights protest song sing-a long with Robin Grey, featuring songs from the ‘Three Acres and a Cow, followed by boat party with acoustic music and pizza, featuring musician Pete Deane, Tim Flitcroft and friends. Venue: Fordham Gallery Boat, River Lee, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, E15. £5 tickets can be booked at

6th November

1pm: Walking tour featuring important points in the development of the Charter of the Forest. Meet by the roundabout outside Lambeth Palace at 1pm, ends at St Paul’s Cathedral at about 3:15pm. FREE
More information here:

Source: Welcome



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Voices of Albion Revisited: ‘Occupy Stonehenge!’ A Beginner’s Guide to the relevance of the original Free Festival Movement to Occupy

Henge 2Henge 1

It is now nearly thirty years since the so called ‘Battle of the Beanfield’, the shocking and brutal suppression by Wiltshire Constabulary of the last major attempt to hold a Free Festival at Stonehenge. The event was to coincide, almost simultaneously, with the first anniversary of the so called ‘Battle of Orgreave’, where no less brutal and oppressive Police tactics were used against striking miners; as part of the Thatcher Government’s crackdown against organized union opposition to its so called ‘reforms’. These two major social and political events, although seemingly world’s apart to the casual observer, unaware of what was really going on, were to effectively destroy or alter the lifestyles of large numbers of now largely socially disenfranchised people irrecovably; and were to lay the foundations of the subsequent and still on going Neo Liberal restructuring of the U.K. Labour and Housing Markets.

Although film of the brutality of ‘The Battle of Orgreave’ was transmitted nationally and internationally by mainstream news networks, video of ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ was not. It would be some years before the suppressed footage shot by an ITN news crew on the day would eventually resurface, much of it already having disappeared to places still unknown, this time in a Channel Four documentary entitled ‘Operation Solstice’. Amongst those interviewed in the film as part of their campaign to get legal redress, for the vicious and brutal way that they had been treated by those in authority, were Helen Reynolds, Alan Lodge and Mo Lodge; three names that may well be familiar to many of those who are still involved in the still on going Stonehenge Festival Campaign and its other related campaign group, O.A.T.S.: more generally known as ‘Open Access to Stonehenge’.

In an interview with the makers of ‘Operation Solstice’, Mo Lodge described the Stonehenge Free Festival, its organizers and its participants as being an effective ‘threat to the State’. The fact that the numbers of people involved were ‘doubling every year for four years…’, to use her exact words, demonstrated to the Authorities that those involved were perfectly capable of managing their own affairs without the excessive interference, or indeed demands, of either Central Government or Big Business. Indeed, as she was also to point out in her own personal summing up of the reasons for the Free Festival’s suppression, ‘…once it became to be a month long it functioned perfectly well, it had its own economy, it had its own system for everything and was so successful in that sense that it must have been a huge threat to the state…’ The biggest threat of all however was the fact that it epitomized what Mo herself was to describe as ‘anarchy in action and it worked’.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, on September 17th 2014, some three months and one day after the thirtieth anniversary of ‘The Battle of Orgreave’, and amid tight security, Occupy Wall Street marked its third anniversary. In an on-line CNN iReport to coincide with the third anniversary celebrations, reference was made by the media mainstream as to how the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations had drawn thousands together in Zuccotti Park and nearby areas to protest against the problems engendered by the 2008 Financial Crisis. Little attention was paid to the fact that on this side of the Atlantic at least the foundation of the Occupy Movement marked the thirtieth anniversary of the onset of the 1978–79 “Winter of Discontent”. A series of crippling strikes that had largely come about as a result of another previous Labour government’s inability to manage the economy and deal with large scale unemployment. Indeed, it was Conservative attacks on the then Labour government’s unemployment record that were to give rise to perhaps its best known political slogan “Labour Isn’t Working” during the 1979 General Election that brought Margaret Thatcher into office.

Like Occupy in its purest form the Stonehenge Free Festival Movement represented a return to the true and primitive democracy to which the Seventeenth Century Diggers and Levellers aspired. Aspirations that were recently re-invoked during the latest round of Occupy London’s ‘New Putney Debates’. The second programme of discussions aimed at moving Britain forward towards a more democratic and socially enfranchised society inspired by the original Leveller Debates of October and November 1647. Like Occupy, the Stonehenge Free Festival Movement also looked towards such new innovations as the development of renewable energies and alternative economic models; long before many of the present active participants in the current wave of protests and occupations that it has engendered were even born.

For more about ‘Occupy Stonehenge’ check out the group on Facebook or follow the Stonehenge Festival Campaign newsletter soon to be available on Issuu.

This post originally appeared in the Stonehenge Festival Campaign 2014 Winter Solstice Newsletter.

Henge 4

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Voices of Albion Revisited: Iolo Morganwg The Bard of Liberty

LondlevLondputThe initiation of this ongoing thread began, to all intents and purposes, as a response to the New Putney Debates of October and November 2012; when the LSX Occupy Group decided to celebrate the 365th Anniversary of the original Leveller Debates at Putney Church with a similarly radical series of discussions on a series of possible political futures for the country. Unbeknown to many who had taken part in the original Putney Debates, not to mention their Twenty First Century successors, a key figure in the initiation of the original Putney Debates had been Oliver Cromwell; the later Lord Protector.


As has already been noted during an earlier posting on the parallel stream to this present thread, Cromwell’s original family surname of ‘ap Gwilym’. or Williams, was to link him to one of the greatest and most controversial figures in the history of Welsh Bardic Revivalism, that of Edward Williams. Better known by his Non de Plume as Iolo Morganwg, Edward Williams was destined to be the original reviver of the so called ‘Druidic Gorsedd’, on Primrose Hill, in the summer of 1792; and thus a primary source of inspiration to those later Bards and Druids who were to kindle another fire in the Cauldron of Inspiration of the late Wally Hope: erstwhile ‘Reviver’ of the Stonehenge People’s Free Festival.

stagehengeInterestingly enough, like many of the Wallies, the anarcho-spiritual movement that Wally Hope was himself to spawn, Iolo’s own home grown form of revived Druidism was itself to be directly rooted in radical revolutionary politics. Like many of Iolo’s contemporaries, he himself was to be greatly inspired by the great tide of revolutionary ideas that was to sweep across Europe and North America at the end of the eighteenth century. And, like William Blake, who had been similarly influenced by events across the other side of the Atlantic, Iolo’s own personal brand of Ancient Druidic philosophy was likewise to be rooted in the original Leveller concept that some sort of primitive democracy had existed in Britain before the coming of the Romans; and that for a limited period of time, between the departure of the Roman Legions for mainland Europe as the Empire that they served had descended into the chaos of military anarchy that had ushered in the Dark Ages, and the arrival of the Normans in Britain, these ancient indigenous democratic institutions had been temporarily and partially revived.

At the bottom of this posting I have embedded the first episode of the six part Youtube edit of my 2007 independent film ‘Voices of Albion: Levellers, Luddites, Diggers and Dongas in Traditional and Contemporary Folklore’; which examines Iolo’s inspirational links to the Age of Enlightenment that was to spawn him. In the next posting we shall look further at some of the ideas that we have already touched on, at various other stages in this ongoing thread, in relation to what readers are about to view here; as well as setting ourselves along the road to examining a great deal more, in terms of the history and development of the ideas that were at the hub of both the Leveller and the New Putney Debates, than I myself was able to look at during the course of a single one off documentary.

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Voices of Albion Revisited: The Measure of Albion


In the third installment of this recently reactivated thread we follow on from the concept of Custom Law and Common Right, in relation to Wally Hope’s Stonehenge People’s Free Festival, and the Open Access to Stonehenge Campaign that it was eventually to spawn more than three decades after his death, with a look at the significance of Stonehenge as an actual physical repository of the lost science of Prehistoric Britain; as set out in its physical dimensions. In many ways, the fact that the builders of Stonehenge appear to have possessed an in depth knowledge of the Universal Canon of Number and Measure that the builders of the Pyramids of Egypt, and many other similarly ancient monuments across much of what is generally referred to as ‘the Old World’, and beyond, can also be proven to have been familiar with, is perhaps a key factor in the decision by English Heritage, and the various other vested interests linked to the sorry saga of the Free Festival and its suppression, to restrict non-commercial tourist based access to the Stones as far as is humanly possible.

Although it is widely accepted that Stonehenge was used by Prehistoric Man as some sort of Astronomical computer, for the purpose of calculating the best available dates for the sowing of each year’s crops, with a view to obtaining the most bounteous harvest possible, comparatively little has found its way into the mainstream of public consciousness in relation to its primordial function as the physical embodiment of our ancient forbears’ extensive knowledge of the ancient science of Metrology. The late John Michell, in his long out of print treatise on this largely forgotten subject, ‘Ancient Metrology: The Dimensions of Stonehenge and of the Whole World as therein symbolized’, published back in 1983 by Pentacle Books, a long vanished imprint that produced a whole series of equally fascinating tracts on inter-related subjects, describes this system as follows:

‘A tradition that has been credited by many learned men over the centuries is that the ancients encoded their knowledge of the world in the dimensions of their sacred monuments….men of science in very ancient times possessed knowledge of the shape and dimensions of the earth and its planetary neighbours which is still expressed in ancient monuments, units of measure, systems of numeration and other relics and traditions of the past.’

In recent years such ideas have been more openly discussed in the wider community in relation to a similar Canon of number and measure incorporated into the dimensions of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland; as a result of the run away success of Dan Brown’s celebrated novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’; and its equally successful cinema adaptation starring Tom Hanks in the lead role. At the heart of the plot line in both novel and film, as well as the series of pseudo-historical books by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh that are believed by many to have influenced them, lies the significance of such ideas to elite fraternities within the Power Structure, people like Opus Dei and the Freemasons, who claim to possess the hidden keys of cipher and symbol, at the heart of such ancient knowledge, as a key element within their own secret and closely guarded hidden esoteric teachings.

Perhaps then this explains the reason why the situation regarding Open Access to Stonehenge is and always has been such a contentious issue. It was as if Wally Hope had transgressed the ‘Unwritten Law’, in the comedic ‘Doug and Dinsdale Pirahna’ ‘Pythonesque’ usage of the term, when he founded the Festival back in 1974, as his subsequent death under what are for many of us still mysterious circumstances could have been lifted straight out of Dan Brown’s novel. Were there hidden forces at work that did for him, and if so what was their motivation for doing this? And, was it in some way connected with the ideas espoused by Michell in some of his most obscure writings about Stonehenge? Elsewhere in ‘Ancient Metrology’ Michell continues as follows:

‘The dimensions of the great circle of Stonehenge, the temple of prehistoric Wessex, provide a monumental record of the standards of measure used by its builders and of the lengths they attributed to the Earth’s dimensions’.

During the course of the same treatise, much reference is made to an earlier published work by the same author entitled ‘City of Revelation’, that preceded it by some several years,  in which the geometry of the monument is also looked at in some considerable depth. Interestingly enough, amongst the two dimensional Plane Geometric figures that Michell superimposes over a ground plan of the Monument during the course of the latter work is the regular Hexagram, or ‘Star of David’, a symbol widely used by Illuminists, Freemasons, and other secret societies, throughout a wide variety of overt and covert applications. Was this the key to Wally Hope’s unfortunate and premature demise? And, if so, was he some sort of masonic martyr, sacrificed on the altar of their quasi-religious doctrines as a means of keeping knowledge of the Monument’s hidden significance out of the consciousness of the mainstream?

Whatever the real truth in relation to the last posed question, it is fact that both English Heritage, the Police and every other vested interest linked to the death of Wally Hope and the subsequent demise of the Free Festival, was in some way linked to the hydra of masonic influences that permeate the upper echelons of the Power Structure at every conceivable level. In a future installment of this ongoing thread we shall examine these ideas in more depth.


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Voices of Albion Revisited: Custom Law and Common Right

Giant's Dance 2

The Giant’s Dance

In the first posting on this newly reactivated thread we looked at the significance of Wally Hope’s Stonehenge People’s Free Festival in terms of its descent from a far earlier festival, rooted in Custom Law and Common Right, the origins of which are lost in the deepest primordial mists of Ancient Time. Many of those involved in the long running Open Access to Stonehenge Campaign have continually attempted to use these facts as the basis for their arguments for greater access, so in this posting I have decided to look at some of the ancient and well established traditions relating to some of the genuinely documented Rites (and Rights) of Assembly that were formerly enacted there as recorded by Ancient Bardic historians.

One of the greatest Medieval repositories of Ancient Welsh Bardic lore are the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ contains much interesting information about Stonehenge. Although, like many Medieval histories written up by Medieval clerics, openly hostile to the pagan traditions that many of them were so successfully to preserve, Geoffrey’s work is riddled with inaccuracies, there is a great deal of hidden knowledge contained within its pages that Geoffrey himself was unable to understand: and therefore largely unable to interfere with as a result.

Amongst the traditions preserved by Geoffrey in relation to Stonehenge is that it was previously referred to by the indigenous Britons as ‘The Giants Dance’. The fact that gigantic hill figures, such as the Long Man of Wilmington and the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, were undoubtedly worshiped by at least some of our remote ancestors, whether as fertility symbols, ancient prehistoric surveyors, or in some other guise, is beyond any questionable doubt. It is therefore probable that at some point during the Solar Year the various priesthoods of the myriad of cults with which these great landscape effigies were at one time formerly associated came together at Stonehenge to commune through music and dance.

As we saw in my previous posting, old antiquarian representations of what are believed to have been the earliest festivals in the vicinity would tend to support this point of view, so it is indeed a credible scenario. Similarly, another of the activities which appears to have taken place on or near the site, at least according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, include manifestations of the ancient Folk Moot, or traditional Parliaments: in many ways a more ancient and uniquely British, as opposed to Norse, version of the old Manx Parliament, or Tynwald, formerly enacted on the Isle of Man.

Elsewhere in Geoffrey’s ‘History’ we are told of how Ambrosius Aurelianus, King Arthur’s direct ancestor, is said to have enacted just such an assembly in the vicinity of Stonehenge itself; shortly before his death, and internment, close at hand. Indeed, according to Geoffrey, Ambrosius Aurelianus’s remains are said to have been buried within the precincts of Stonehenge itself. Regardless of the clear lack of historical accuracy in relation to many of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s statements, archaeology has shown  conclusively that the immediate area around Stonehenge was used extensively as a burial ground for what were almost certainly a dynasty, or dynasties, of Sacral Kings; as far back as the era generally referred to as ‘The Beaker Period’: when the civilization generally referred to as ‘The Wessex Culture’ were the dominant social force in the region.

The ‘Old King’s Barrows’ sketched by the eighteenth century Antiquarian, William Stukeley, whose pioneering field work around Stonehenge and Avebury was to preserve for posterity  a reasonably accurate visual record of many unique landscape features that have failed to survive the test of time, clearly show that the area around the monument itself  was formerly used as some kind of ritual complex directly connected with the internment of ancient primordial sacral kings. On the face of this evidence then, it is probable that these self same rituals were also in some way linked to the election of each sacral king’s successor.

We know from the earliest surviving records that a system of electoral, as opposed to hereditary, monarchy was practiced in Ireland and Scotland right the way down into Mediaeval times. It is also fact that the legend of the Sword and the Stone that lies at the heart of the Arthurian  Tradition makes direct reference to Ambrosius Aurelianus’s descendant, Arthur, as having been elected king in this way. Although Geoffrey makes Arthur’s Father, and predecessor, Uther Pendragon, the brother of Ambrosius Aurelianus, genuine Breton, Welsh and Cornish sources give a different rendition of Arthur’s pedigree altogether.

Taking this into consideration then it is perhaps significant that recent excavations in and around Tintagel have unearthed some sort of ritual complex in no ways dissimilar to that which formerly existed at Dunadd in Scotland: the ancient place of ritual election and enthronement of the Scottish Kings of Dal Riada. Of further significance is the fact that amongst the sacred objects rediscovered at the site was an ancient stone carved with an equally ancient footprint similar to that in which the the successful Dal Riadic royal candidate was made to stand during the course of the Coronation Ritual.

Of further significance still is the fact that amongst the successors of Ambrosius Aurelianus who are listed by Geoffrey of Monmouth as having been buried somewhere within  the Stonehenge ritual complex is Constantine King of Cornwall: a successor of Arthur who features in the writings of Gildas the Wise. It is fact that Tintagel was formerly one of Constantine’s landed possessions, in addition to being the legendary birth place of King Arthur.

So what can we learn from these facts, and how do they relate to current efforts to restore Open Access to the Stones to the people who still venerate them as sacred? Geoffrey of Monmouth’s history is quite clear with regard to the ancient Prophecies of Merlin that the successors of Hengist and Horsa, the Anglo-Saxon invaders whose emblem of the White Horse is identical to that of the German House of Hanover from whence the dynasty of Windsor ultimately descends, would be driven from power in these Islands by a descendant of the indigenous Welsh. Is the deep seated fear amongst those with a vested interest in the present monarchical set up, that the rise of a new royal line, rooted in a heritage of Ancient British Princely descent, would see the fall of the old, as the New Age is ushered in, the real reason for the ludicrous situation as regards Stonehenge? Or is there something even more sinister afoot when it comes to Open Access to Stonehenge?


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Voices of Albion Revisited: The Vision of Wally Hope

‘The Grand Festival of the Briton’ by Charles Hamilton Smith (1815)

As a tribute to the LSX Occupy Group’s New Putney Debates to coincide with the 365th Anniversary of the original Leveller Debates at the end of the First English Civil War, I decided to post the whole of my 2007 film ‘Voices of Albion’ up on the Merlinhedd Youtube Channel, in its entirety, for the very first time. The film itself is essentially an historical examination of the descent of the Stonehenge Free Festival Movement and its successors, including the Anti-CJB Movement, the Advance Party and others, from the seventeenth century Levellers and Diggers: who were ultimately to inspire many of the current participants in the Occupy Movement: and in particular Occupy London.

The original founder of the Stonehenge Free Festival as we all came to know it was the late Wally Hope. In 1974 Wally was to organize the first ever Stonehenge People’s Free Festival. Not so very long after, so the story goes, he was arrested, sent to prison and eventually died under what have been generally referred to as ‘strange and unexplained circumstances’. In an age before the internet, digital media and mobile ‘phones, this sort of occurrence was an everyday reality for people engaged in the kind of activities that Wally and his confederates espoused.

According to the internationally acclaimed author John Michell, whose many published works on Stonehenge were to include ‘Ancient Metrology’, ‘The View Over Atlantis’, ‘City of Revelation’ etc. etc. etc. Wally’s ashes were ceremonially scattered among the Stones during the course of the second Stonehenge Free Festival. My own personal experience of John Michell, who I knew extremely well, was that although he was very in touch with the archaeological, astronomical and mathematical aspect of the Stones themselves, and what they actually represented in both physical and spiritual terms, he had very little genuine down to earth contact with the people who were actually involved with the Festival itself: other than through the odd participant such as the present writer.

It therefore came as something of a surprise and a delight when I was contacted out of the blue by members of the group that Wally was to found before his untimely death, who were to refer to themselves forever after as the Wallies, within hours of putting ‘Voices of Albion’ up on to Youtube. More delightful still was the revelation that Wally’s ashes are presently in their custodianship, and that through them his spirit, and ultimately, his goals, live on. Even more strange and interesting than this, perhaps, was the additional fact that I had been invited to join the Facebook group that they themselves had founded in his honour just hours before the third anniversary of its creation. It was as if Wally was trying to reach out and  communicate with me from beyond the grave.

Wally’s principal aspiration in terms of the Free Festival that he founded was to ensure its perpetuation to the end of time. The fact that in the eighteenth century the Revd. William Stukeley, who, together with the seventeenth century antiquarian John Aubrey, had been amongst the first to recognize the true significance of the Stones, had also concluded that the traditional festival that had taken place there in his day, and was to continue on into the nineteenth century, was almost certainly descended from prehistoric antecedents, only goes to show that Wally was divinely inspired.  This also placed it in the realm of Custom Law and Common Right in terms of the Festival’s legality, something that I shall be looking at in depth and detail during the course of the next several weeks and months in this blog.

The picture at the top of this posting is an early nineteenth century impression of what the eighteenth century festivals at Stonehenge would or could have looked like in prehistoric times. It is based on an earlier, although somewhat less elaborate, artistic impression by Stukeley, whose principal conclusion that the enactment of such ancient rights had been passed down from time immemorial, was to be taken up by the nineteenth century Chartists: themselves in every way the lineal descendants of the Levellers and the Diggers. In due course we shall look at this lineal descent more fully, as well as the link between the Chartists themselves and the earliest Orders of Druids: many of whose principals were equally revolutionary in origin.

Readers of this posting anxious to know more about John Michell’s unique personal insight into the legal controversies surrounding the Festival should check out his Radical Traditionalist Paper Number 6, published back in 1985 at the height of the battle between the Festival goers and the Authorities in relation to who should have rights of access to the Stones and whether or not a Festival should be allowed to go on there. Entitled ‘Stonehenge: Its Druids, Custodians, Festival and Future’, it provides an interesting perspective upon the legacy of Wally Hope.

‘Stonehenge: Its Druids, Custodians, Festival and Future’

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Joe Rush at Portobello’s Mute Gallery

For those of you that missed the screenings of the Merlinhedd recut of JB’s 1988 Mutoid Waste video at this year’s Portobello Film Festival, and the attendant art exhibition at the Mute Gallery, here’s the second part of it from the Merlinhedd Youtube Channel…
Check out the new season on Merlinhedd Youtube starting later on in the year. Be there or be square….
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