Tony Benn unveils plaque at Wapping to Civil War hero Thomas Rainsborough

Veteran polirtician Tony Benn at Wapping

Veteran polirtician Tony Benn at Wapping - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

Veteran politician Tony Benn paid tribute to the English Civil War movement when he unveiled a plaque in London’s East End commemorating Thomas Rainsborough who fought for equality and democracy.

Parliamentarian Roundheads in new battle for Wapping

Parliamentarian Roundheads in new battle for Wapping - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

Rainsborough was the most senior officer in Cromwell’s New Model Army and his funeral became a mass demonstration of the Leveller movement.

The plaque unveiling was organised by Tower Hamlets Council and the National Civil War Centre at St John’s Churchyard in Wapping, where Rainsborough’s family came from.

Rainsborough spoke in defence of the Levellers Agreement of the People in the Putney Debates in 1647, which sought to give ordinary citizens a voice, not just the rich and powerful.

But he was killed by Royalist forces during the siege of Pontefract Castle.

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Tony Benn was joined for last week’s unveling by MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter, Baroness Pola Uddin, broadcaster and campaigner John Rees, Lindsey German and former London Dockers’ Leader Brian Nicholson.

Tower Hamlets councillor Rania Khan said: “Thomas Rainsborough started that journey fighting for equality hundreds of years ago. We still need to continue to fight those battles to make the world a fairer place.”

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Musketeers from the Rainsborough Regiment of the Sealed Knot fired a volley in salute to mark the occasion.

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