Cobham Centre

Many of the Diggers were residents of Cobham, including Gerrard Winstanley. One, Anthony Wren, probably lived in a cottage which still stands in The Ridings.

Winstanley, the Diggers' main spokesperson, moved to Cobham from London with his wife Susan King in 1643. After the Diggers were evicted from St George's Hill in August 1649 they continued their project to make the earth a 'common treasury for all' on the Little Heath at Cobham.

Some of the people most opposed to the Digging on Little Heath were also associated with Cobham, including Parson John Platt, the lord of the manor, and his opposite number at Stoke d'Abernon, Sir Anthony Vincent. Platt was the Diggers' most active opponent, though other ministers in Surrey appointed a 'Lecturer' or special preacher at Cobham to stir up opposition to the Diggers.

The White Lion in Street Cobham - which is still standing but no longer known by that name - was once the venue for a meeting of those hostile to the Diggers. But the Diggers had considerable support from the people of Cobham, and it was not until Easter 1650 that inducements and threats eventually persuaded a sufficient number of them to assist the gentry in dispersing the Diggers' camp.

Winstanley spent much of his later life at Cobham and held positions of responsibility in the town and the church. The origins of his connections with Cobham are unclear, though his father-in-law William King at one time owned property in the town. This might have been Mole Cottage, a seventeenth-century house still standing in Church Street.

Next site: Little Heath.