Re-enactment of the 1661 revolt goes up the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral – but didn’t enter and seize it

OK, I know I’m early (for once.) Advent doesn’t end for a couple of days and Epiphany comes after Christmas on January 6th. But Epiphany the 37 minute film is here now and for free! Unlike The Interview there have been no death threats and no mysterious hacking, as the ruler who its plot tried to get rid of has been dead rather a long time, though the people the film celebrates did come to a very nasty end, with a number of them being publicly hung, drawn and quartered after their 3-day uprising in London was brutally put down.

Director Suzy Gillett has decided to give us a Christmas present, and a year after it was completed,and after several screenings this 36 minute epic is now free to share.

The cast includes a number of people I know and have photographed at other events, in particular from Class War, and the subject comes from one of the more interesting periods of English history, perhaps the last era when we really had really interesting times.

Ian Bone holds a framed print of Thomas Venner leader of the Fifth Monarchists

The seventeenth century got off to a good start in 1605 with Guy Fawkes, by 1620 things were so bad that the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America, then in 1642 a few years of Civil War, after which in 1649 we did the only sensible thing we’ve ever managed to do too our royal family, beheading the king. Unfortunately Parliament turned down the ‘Agreement of the People’ and we ended up with a dictator, Cromwell. After his death, people thought a king would be a better idea, and we had the Restoration in 1660. Actually it didn’t work out too well (except for Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’ who had innumerable mistresses and acknowledged 14 of his illegitimate children) and when his brother and successor tried to make us all Catholics it was time for change again – and our so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, truly a missed opportunity as it brought a replacement Protestant King from Holland.

Probably carrying axes and a pike was banned in the City of London after the 1661 Fifth Monarchist outrage

With that background, here is Suzy’s text about Epiphany from Vimeo:

Epiphany is about the rise and fall of the mystics and anarchists of the English Revolution. The Fifth Monarchists stood up to the restoration of the Monarchy in 1661 and were hung drawn and quartered for their efforts.
The Muggletonians lasted for 300 years, keeping a low profile they had their own religious beliefs that successfully continued until well after the restoration of the Monarchy.
Celebrating these little known political and religious sects of the English Civil War, a collective of people made a re-enactment of Venner’s uprising on the 6th January where he marched into the city to St Paul’s fighting off the army in a hopeless battle.
Incarnated by contemporary anarchists, Ian Bone and Martin Wright.

On the steps of St Paul’s Catherdral. The girl with the pike is a great-grandaughter of the last Muggletonian

I became involved with the film when I went to photograph the re-enactment, not at the time realising I was going to become a very small part of the film. Most of the time I managed to keep out of the way of the cameras, but there are three scenes in which I appear in fleeting glimpses. You can see my pictures from the making of the re-enactment at Epiphany Rising Against King.

Ian Bone holds up the picture of Venner on the steps of St Paul’s

Only one of the pictures in this post appears in the selection on My London Diary, and that is developed slightly differently.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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One Response to “Epiphany”

  1. […] and socialists whose comments related the it to our current times. The event was for a short film, Epiphany, with Ian Bone as writer working with director Suzy […]

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