Dr John Rees

Staff details

Dr John Rees


Visiting Research Fellow




jrees012 (@gold.ac.uk)

John is researching his second book on the English Revolution of the 1640s, following The Leveller Revolution (Verso, 20

John Rees is researching the republicans and regicides of the Long Parliament, 1640-1650, in preparation for a second major book on the English Revolution. This will develop the argument of The Leveller Revolution (Verso, 2016) that the proclamation of the Republic and the execution of Charles I was the result of a political bloc fashioned by the radical Independents and the Leveller movement. The so-called ‘fiery spirits’ of the long parliament often had personal and family histories of opposition to the Stuart monarchy and examining these will give us an insight into the causes of the English Revolution. The study will focus on the careers of four of the most prominent fiery spirits, the MPs Henry Marten, William Strode, Peter Wentworth, and Alexander Rigby.

Academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Goldsmiths, University of London. 2014
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Politics, Portsmouth Polytechnic. 1978

Media engagements

Conferences and talks

2019: The Levellers, wage labour, and the poor
Talk given at the Honest Labour: exploring the interface between work and nonconformity conference organized in association with the University of Bedfordshire, Keele University, Loughborough Uni.

2017: Henry Marten and the Levellers
Talk at the National Portrait Gallery

2016: The Leveller Revolution
Talk at the National Civil War Museum

2017: Seminars at the New Economics Foundation
Media training course lectures

Work in popular history

John Rees was the organiser of a major conference to mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Lilburne, in March 2015 at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. The conference resulted in a collection of essays by leading academics in the field published by Routledge in 2017. The event had the financial support of the Amiel and Melburn Trust and the Goldsmiths Annual Fund.

John Rees is also the organiser of the Leveller Association which seeks to popularise the history of the radicals of the 17th century. This work has included a tour of Parliament with Jeremy Corbyn MP, the installation and unveiling of a plaque to Thomas Rainsborough at St Johns Churchyard, Wapping, and the annual Levellers Day seminar at the Communication Workers Union training centre at Alvescot Lodge, Oxfordshire. John Rees has also conducted a seminar on the Levellers with the cast of the latest National Theatre production of Caryl Churchill’s play about the English Revolution, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, and his essay on the Levellers appears in the programme for this production.