John Ball, ‘Hedgerow Priest’, 1380
‘Matters cannot go well in England, nor ever shall until all things shall be held in common, when there are no vassals or Lords'.
John Ball, 1380
John Ball was a popular roving preacher. He argued for social equality and his radical views brought him into conflict with the Church. He gave open-air sermons on village greens and other public spaces, hence his description as a hedgerow priest.
He was imprisoned several times but continued to preach. Ball was a prisoner at Maidstone Prison, Kent at the start of the Peasants’ Revolt. He was released and gave a rousing open-air sermon to the rebel army that had assembled at Blackheath.
Ball went on to support Watt Tyler throughout negotiations and further rebellion in London. He was identified as a ringleader and hung, drawn and quartered. The Peasants Revolt demonstrated that ordinary people could organise and resist the impositions of the ruling class.
One of a set of eight images from Red Saunders’ Hidden Project.
The Hidden Project
The Hidden Project recreates great moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. The aim of the project, through reimagining those events, is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history.
Tony Benn, Patron of the Hidden Project, says “Those who see these photographic representations will then be able to identify with past generations and gain confidence from the knowledge that they are part of a world-wide movement that has always existed and must be sustained.”
Red Saunders is a professional photographer who combines his photographic practice with cultural, musical and political activism.
Images copyright Red Saunders 2011. Retouching by Adrian Hayes.
Further information, reading list and full credit list of supporters and volunteers on ‘The Hidden Project’ go to the website: www.redsaundersphoto.eu.