Henry Bickerstaffe

Henry Bickerstaffe
Birth and death
1606 - 1661
Related places
Alistair Grant

Henry Bickerstaffe (bap. 1606, d. in or after 1661). He was known to be living at the family home at Painshill on 1st January 1640, and during the civil war he paid taxes and contributed loans to parliament in Walton. In April 1649 Bickerstaffe joined Winstanley as a digger on St George's Hill, and was one of the signatories to 'The True Levellers Standard Advanced' of April 1649. The following month he signed the second Digger pamphlet, 'A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England'. In June he was prosecuted with Winstanley and the other Diggers for trespassing upon St George's Hill, and was fined £10 and imprisoned. According to Winstanley's account he was released after 3 days, but it is not known if Bickerstaffe rejoined the Digger colony after his release. In the 1650s he collected rents on the family properties in Walton and Cobham, and in 1658 was named as a defendant in the disputed ownership of the family estate. The most curious episode of his life occurred on 30th September 1661 when he briefly became keeper of Kingston Jail, where he'd been imprisoned as a digger 12 years earlier.

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