[diggers350] Diggers meet Kett

Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org
Tue Jun 29 13:16:05 BST 1999

A Plain Statement of Requests and Demands

In around 1470 the landowners of Norfolk, finding greater profit in
breeding sheep and cattle than in the small holdings of peasants, began to
seize the fields which from time immemorial had been cultivated by the
country people in common, and to evict whole parishes by pulling down all
the dwelling places. For eighty long years these clearances continued
unchallenged, until the summer of 1549, when Robert Ket organized the
Norfolk Rising, the only strong movement to prevent the utter downfall of
the working people of the country.

The rising failed in the end, but for more than six weeks the power of the
landlords was broken around Norwich, their enclosures were stopped, and the
hope of better things filled the hearts of the people.

In the week between 12th and 19th July 1549, 20,000 men were gathered at a
camp on Mousehold Heath, where under a great tree, the Oak of Reformation,
Robert Ket and his brother William sat administering justice. It was from
here that Ket prepared a plain statement of "Requests and Demands", a list
of twenty-nine grievances, to be sent to the king. He knew what was wanted
for rural England, and refused to admit that his purpose was disloyal or
his conduct rebellion.

Here, now, 450 years later, Ket's Rising has returned, and those assembled
now issue their own new set of twenty-nine requests and demands for rural

We demand:

No more "keep out - private property" signs
An end to all forelock-tugging
Social housing not luxury housing
No more golf courses for the few
To no longer be "trespassers in the land of our birth"
Land for people instead of GM deserts
Freedom to roam over uncultivated land, not herding into "country parks"
Village stores, not out-of-town superstores
The freedom to open gates, the responsibility to close them again afterwards
No littering of the land and sea (Sellafield take note)
Stop dogs worrying sheep and foxes
The right to take the road less travelled
The protection and promotion of allotments
The use of inner city land to house the homeless, not for executive flats
Turning derelict land in cities into community gardens
Sustainable human settlements
Access to land for everyday recreation
Hedgerows, not monoculture prairies
People before cars
People before minerals
Gatherings, not aggregates
Trees before tarmac
Reclaim the streets
Defence of council housing
And end to harassment of travellers and canal dwellers
Work on the land, not macjobs
Experience, not consumption
Refugees' right to return
The land is ours, and we demand access for everyone, irrespective of race,
age or gender
Tony Gosling  tony at gaia.org
Tel +44 (0)117 955 6769
14 Lancaster Road
St Werburgh's


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