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I'm Mr. Olivey and we're going to be continuing our inquiry into 17th century Britain today.

I've actually been reading this book by Christopher Hill, who's a very famous historian who wrote all about "The World Turned Upside Down." I don't know if you can see that there.

It's really interesting.

And some of the groups of people Christopher Hill talks about in this book we're going to be learning about today.

Before we start the lesson though, you should know this by now, you need two things.

First, paper and pen.

If you haven't got those, go and get them now.

Good, you've got a paper and pen now, excellent.

Second thing, just try and find a reasonably quiet place to work.

Like this nice quiet corner of my house where I've been reading Christopher Hill.

Genuinely really fascinating, this story today, I think you're going to enjoy it.

Let's get started.

So, this is lesson 4 of a 6 lesson inquiry and our title for today is "Quakers, Diggers and Ranters" and our inquiry question still is "In what ways was Britain turned upside down in the 17th century?" So.

Come back to this image that we've seen a few times now.

And I'd like you, for five seconds, to try and find two different things that are the wrong way round.

That are upside down, rather.

I'll give you a countdown.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Okay, what have you gone for? Good! I'll tell you the ones I've picked this week.

I'm going to say that there is a horse that is being pulled along by a cart, and the horse is even holding a whip there, and there is a wheelbarrow that is pushing along a man.

Obviously, this is very, very strange.

Very upside down.

Because in the 17th century the world was turned upside down.

Or at least that's how many people believed their world was changing.

Everything was wrong, everything was strange, everything was different.

And that's going to be our big inquiry question that we're still working towards this lesson.

But, just so we're all aware of the story so far, we're just going to think about how we got here.

How did we get to this world turned upside down? So, I'm going to try to do this in under a minute, so strap in.

So, in the beginning we had Charles the first, he was an absolutist monarch.

He believed that his power came from God, but this brought him into conflict with his Parliament.

And they started to fall out and eventually there was a civil war between Charles and his Parliament.

Between the Cavaliers, who supported the King, and the Roundheads, who supported Parliament.

And Parliament, in 1645, set up something called the New Model Army that was an incredibly efficient, professional fighting force full of ordinary men that promoted people on merits.

But this New Model Army started to get some radical ideas.

And at the Putney Debates between the leaders of the New Model Army and the ordinary people in it, known as the Agitators.

Some of these people, known as Levellers started to demand votes for all men over 21 and all kinds of other extreme new ideas.

But their demands were rejected and eventually England slipped back into a second civil war between Charles and Parliament.

But that didn't last very long, it only lasted less than a year.

And when Charles was captured again, Parliament was not happy and something known as the Rump Parliament chose to put Charles on trial in January 1649.

10 days after he was put on trial, Charles was executed in front of a crowd of shocked people.

People turned away in disgust, women fainted, England could not believe that the Rump Parliament had actually killed its King.

So those are the ways so far that we've looked at.

Britain being turned upside down.

But this lesson, we're going to think about some different aspects of 17th century Britain that turned the world upside down.

First, is a group called the Quakers.

So I'd like you to just pause the video now and write down that title.

Okay, let's find out about the Quakers or the Society of Friends.

Now, in the 1650's all kinds of new ideas about religion started to emerge.

And these were called sects.

So a sect is like a sort of subgroup of a religion, like Christianity.

And one of these groups were called the Quakers or, as they preferred to be called, the Society of Friends.

Now, the Society of Friends didn't like the fact that the established church had lots of hierarchies.

So they had priests and then Bishops and then people above them, Archbishops.

The Quakers said no.

They argued that all people had an inner light within them that came from God and that anyone could preach the Gospel.

And that there should be relative equality between people within their faith.

They didn't have churches, they had things called meeting houses, which were often just houses and barns and fields.

And a very important figure was George Fox.

Now what George Fox did, was he toured the country, preaching and gathering more and more people in with his message of hope and peace.

The Quakers didn't believe in war, they didn't believe in violence.

And they still today are pacifists.

Meaning they don't like war.

Even more unbelievably perhaps, was the fact that Quakers, in a time when society was deeply patriarchal, so very strict gender roles for men and women, they actually allowed women to preach.

Now one of these Quaker women, someone called Margaret Fell, who organised a lot of Quaker meetings and published a lot of sort of Quaker pamphlets from her home in Swarthmore Hall.

The Quakers allowed women to preach and, again this was a really new idea about religion.

All of the strict hierarchy of the established church was being challenged by this group.

Peaceful people, with a message of hope and peace.

But sometimes, the Quakers were seen as too extreme and challenging the established order too much.

One of these people was a man called James Naylor.

Now what James Naylor did was he also went up and down the country preaching, like George Fox.

However, one day James Naylor decided to enter Bristol riding on the back of a donkey, surrounded by people with palm leaves shouting "Hosanna, Hosanna." And this was mimicking a scene in the Bible where Jesus does a similar thing when he enters the city of Jerusalem.

And people were outraged that James Naylor had done this, they thought he was pretending to be Jesus.

And as punishment, it was voted that James Naylor would be whipped, put up in stocks and would have a hole bored into his tongue as punishment.

But in general, in the 1650's, the Quakers were given more freedom than they would be certainly in the 1660's, 1670's, and early 1680's.

But that's a story for a different time.


Let's do some true or false questions about the Quakers.

Pause the video now and sort these into whether they are true or false.

Okay, let's find out the answers.

So the first one is true.

The Quakers disliked churches, priests and hierarchies.

They believed that anyone should be allowed to preach the Gospel.

Even women or the poor, which was a very different value to their time.

The second is also true.

George Fox believed that all people had an inner light that came from God.

But it's false that Quakers met in huge cathedrals, chapels and palaces.

They actually met often in very ordinary houses or in fields, in barns.

They didn't like the established church.

But it is true that James Naylor was punished for riding into Bristol on a donkey because people thought that he was mimicking Jesus.

And it's false that women were not involved in the Quaker movement.

Actually women were incredibly important because there were stories about people like Margaret Fell who helped organise these Quaker meetings.

Okay, that's the first part done.

Well done for your answers there.

Next group we're going to meet though that turned the world upside down are some people called the Diggers.

So just pause the video now and write down that title.

Okay, let's find out who the Diggers were.

To begin with though, I'd like you to just listen very carefully to this quote.

"Was the Earth made to preserve a few rich men to live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasure of the Earth from others, who may beg or starve in a fruitful land; or was it made to preserve all her children?" Now, that quote may seem a bit tricky.

But basically, what's being said here, by a man called Gerrard Winstanley, is that the Earth is not just for a few rich people to extract wealth from.

To become rich by taking bits of land and sort of putting fences on them and taking all the food from it.

He's saying that all the wealth in the Earth should be shared by everyone.

The Earth is a common treasury for all people to share.

This is a pretty radical idea.

And people like Winstanley, what they would do is they would go onto the common lands in England, so land that wasn't owned by anyone, that might just have some weeds growing on it, and they would plant food and they would graze their cattle on it and they would treat the Earth, not as property, but as something that everyone should be allowed to share and to use to get food and to support themselves.

The problem though, was that these ideas terrified the English ruling elites.

In fact they were so scary that they would do anything to stop Winstanley and his Diggers.

One of the things they did was they took poor Winstanley's cow and they put it on trial for trespassing on someone's land.

So Winstanley's cow was put on trial for trespassing on a Lord's land.

But even more unbelievably, Winstanley chose to defend his cow as a lawyer in court.

Utterly ridiculous! But the elites also used violence to stop the Diggers from building these sort of common treasuries.

And at St.

George's Hill in 1649 they sent soldiers who were referred to as King Property to drive the Diggers off the land, to tear down their cottages, to burn their corn, to dig up their crops, and to destroy what Winstanley had tried to build.

The Diggers didn't last very long, but some of the ideas that they embodied were picked up hundreds of years later.


Let's sort these statements about the Diggers into whether they are true or false.

So pause the video now and unpause to find out the answers.

Okay, let's have some answers.

It's true that the Diggers believed the world was a common treasury, something that everyone should share.

But it's false that they planted mangoes and bananas on common lands because those crops didn't exist in England at the time.

Instead, they planted things like peas, corn, quite basic things, turnips, that sort of thing.

It is true that Winstanley defended his cow in court and it's certainly false that the English elites admired the hardworking Diggers.

If anything they were terrified by them and the fact that they challenged the social order.

But it's true, sadly for the Diggers, that King Property destroyed their cottages and their corn in 1649 on St.

George's Hill.


Final group then and I think these are the most unbelievable ones.

Quite literally the most unbelievable ones.

It's the Ranters.

So pause the video now and write down that title.

Okay, let's find out about the Ranters.

Now this is a pamphlet from 1650 and it's called a "Ranter's Ranting." And what it shows is a group of people called the Ranters who allegedly were doing incredibly extreme things in the name of God in the 1650's.

Because it was claimed in this pamphlet, and others, that the Ranters saw sinning as a good thing.

Because they said "well if God decides everything we should do, God has also decided when we should sin, so if we sin we actually get closer to what God wanted us to do and then God will be pleased and we can then be forgiven for our sins." So the Ranters did all kinds of unbelievable things.

They would run around the towns naked, they would drink lots of alcohol until they fell over, they would get into fights with each other, they would gamble, they would smoke, they would lie, they would steal.

They would do all kinds of things that were seen as wrong because they would argue "well God chose for us to do them, so why should we resist?" This pamphlet I've actually had to obscure slightly because it shows the Ranters doing lots of very rude things.

And you can just imagine that in the 1650's this kind of behaviour was utterly shocking.

People were disgusted by the idea that people were doing this sort of thing and claiming that God wanted them to.

In fact, people were so shocked that they saw the Ranters as a kind of disease.

Because around this time it was a common idea to see the country as a sort of body.

To refer to it as a body politic.

This comes from Thomas Hobbes's famous book Leviathan where he depicted the state of England as being like a sort of actual person, made up of lots of other people.

This is what he means by the body politic.

And someone called Thomas Edwards wrote a book, a very nasty book, called "Gangraena".

And what "Gangraena" did was it compared groups like the Ranters to a disease called gangrene.

And gangrene is a disease that rots your flesh, makes it go quite literally green and start to fall off.

Makes you very, very poorly.

So the Ranters were seen as like a gangrene, rotting away at England's body politic.

Something that needed to be removed.

There is just one problem though, for historians when it comes to the Ranters.

Because while the idea of people doing all these extreme things is incredibly entertaining and interesting, we only know about the Ranters because of pamphlets criticising them.

So we don't actually know if they were even a real thing.

It may have just been that they were a rumour, made up by people like Thomas Edwards to sell his books.

To gain popularity and notoriety.

So the Ranters, yeah quite an unusual group of people, to say the least.

If they even existed.

Okay, finally then, let's do a true or false.

Pause the video now and then unpause it to find out the answers.

So, it's false that the Ranters were the most popular Puritan sect in England.

They certainly weren't.

The most popular of these sects, by a long way, was actually the Quakers.

It's also false that historians are certain that the Ranters actually existed.

Historians are far from certain.

Many think that they may have been entirely made up.

It is true though, that the Ranters believed that sinning brought them closer to God.

It's false that the body politic was another name for Charles the first, though.

It was actually a name for the entire country of England, the entire state.

And it is true that "Gangraena", this book, saw the Quakers, the Diggers, and the Ranters as diseases, which should be removed from England.

So, could you pause the video, read the slides on the next page and answer the comprehension questions.

And resume once you've finished.

Right, let's go through those answers.

Question 1, "what did the Society of Friends think about the established church in 1650's England?" The correct answer would be "they disliked it", but a better answer would be "the Quakers disliked the hierarchy of the established church.

They believed that everyone had an 'inner light' from God and that anyone could preach." So, well done if you got that one right.

Question 2, "what did the Diggers think about land and property?" The correct answer would be "they saw land as 'common treasury'", but a better answers would be "the Diggers disliked property.

They used common lands to grow peas and cabbages; to them, the world was a 'common treasury' for everyone to share.

Their beliefs terrified England's ruling elite." Question 3, "what did the Ranters believe?" Now the correct answer would be "that God wanted them to sin and that sinning brought them closer to God." But a better answer would be "the Ranters believed that God decided everything- including when they should sin.

Ranters drunk alcohol, swore and gambled; they believed that sinning would actually please God." Question 4, "why can't historians be sure that the Ranters existed?" And the correct answer is "we only know about them because of pamphlets criticising their actions." But a better answer would be "historians only know about the Ranters because of the pamphlets attacking their actions.

We do not have any sources actually written by Ranters." Question 5, "what disease did Thomas Edwards compare these Puritan sects to in his 1646 book?" The correct answer is "gangrene", but a better answer would be "Thomas Edwards' book "Gangraena" compared Ranters and other small Puritan sects to gangrene- a disease that rots people's flesh.

Edwards saw these sects as a disease rotting away England's flesh." Well done on your answer to those comprehension questions.

Finally then, let's come back to this pamphlet.

"The World Turned Upside Down." And let's come back to our inquiry question.

"In what ways was Britain turned upside down in the 17th century?" The final thing that I'd like you to do is just on your piece of paper write down the ways in which the Quakers, the Diggers and the Ranters turned Britain upside down in the 17th century.

Pause the video now and do that.

Okay, very good.

Those thoughts will really help us in our final lesson to tie all this together.

Now if you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

I've really enjoyed teaching you today.

I found the Quakers and the Diggers and the Ranters, and all of these new ideas in the 1640's and 50's so fascinating.

So, thanks for sticking with the lesson.

I can't wait to teach you about the 1650's next time.

Bye for now!.