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UCLan historian helps celebrate key civil rights action

04 June 2013

Chris Theobald

How an event 350 years ago is still relevant today

A leading historian from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has played a key role in celebrating and debating a famous civil rights event which has lasting significance today.

Dr Nick Mansfield, Senior Research Fellow in History from the School of Education and Social Science, was among a panel of leading academic who travelled to Burford, Oxfordshire to debate the legacy of Levellers’ Day.

This was the 39th Levellers’ Day, marking the death of three civil war soldiers who were executed in Burford churchyard on Oliver Cromwell’s orders on May 17, 1649. A minute’s silence was held in the churchyard, where a plaque marks the place where the Levellers were shot.

With a real focus on the radical history of Oxfordshire the issues of civil rights, democracy and protest were explored through exhibitions, workshops and the panel of speakers.

“It was a very memorable day with a surprisingly sophisticated level of debate about the Levellers, the Burford Mutiny and their lasting historical influence.”

Commenting on the event Dr Mansfield said: “It was a very memorable day with a surprisingly sophisticated level of debate about the Levellers, the Burford Mutiny and their lasting historical influence. This year’s theme was about learning the lessons of history and applying them to the challenges of 2013.”

The day featured a colourful and lively procession of 500 people around Burford, headed by Civil War re-enactors, Morris dancers and a parson in full canonicals.

Dr Nick Mansfield took up his position as Senior Research Fellow in History in 2010 having been the Director of the People’s History Museum, Manchester for over 21 years. He is a Labour historian, specialising in the activities of early twentieth century farmworkers, publishing widely on patriotic labour and post war/ Great War political allegiances, including ex-servicemen, war memorials and working class conservatism. He also writes about material culture, especially historic banners, folk art and buildings. His current research centres on class, politics and nineteen century military.