Women’s Demonstration March 1649

 

Song by Rev Hammer “Bonnie Besses” celebrates a march by 800 women. They were protesting at the arrest of the Leveller leaders, including ‘Free born John’ (John Lilburn) arrested by Cromwell and taken to the Tower of London at the beginning of the counter-revolution. The Leveller colours were sea green (as represented in our tricolour) and hence the reference to ‘sea green’ dresses.

 

 

 

 

Song written by Rev Hammer

Voice-Mary Overton  -   Chorus-The Women of the City of London

 

We are the Bonny Besses in the sea-green dresses,

And we spit on your abuse of this power.

And we say “Free Honest John from the Tower”.

 

So at five in the morning with William Walwyn,

They dragged Honest John to the Tower.

With Thomas Prince and Richard Overton

They dragged Honest John to the Tower.

 

Once more high treason was the given reason,

When they dragged Honest John to the Tower.

And the women of the city rose up in disgust and pity.

When they dragged Honest John to the Tower.

And the streets threw up this bloody cry…….

 

We are the Bonny Besses in the sea-green dresses,

And we spit on your abuse of this power.

And we say “Free Honest John from the Tower”.

 

And Parliament said, “Women go tidy your beds!”

When they dragged Honest John to the Tower.

And Parliament said, “Some things are above Women’s heads!”

When they dragged Honest John to the Tower.

And the streets threw up this bloody cry…….

 

We are the Bonny Besses in the sea-green dresses,

And we spit on your abuse of this power.

And we say “Free Honest John from the Tower”.

 

Forty Thousand names wanted to break those chains,

Of our four friends there in the Tower

Forty Thousand names wanted to break those chains,

When they dragged Honest John to the Tower.

And the streets threw up this bloody cry…….

 

We are the Bonny Besses in the sea-green dresses,

And we spit on your abuse of this power.

And we say “Free Honest John from the Tower”.

 

 

 

Copyright © Republican Socialists 2015

Designed by Millbank Design 2015