In 1981 Tony Benn stood on Blackheath and spoke to a crowd of supporters marking 600 years since John Ball's famous 'When Adam delved' sermon.
In connecting himself so closely with Ball, Benn was joining the ranks of progressive figures from around the world to have attached themselves with, and partially mythologised, the memory of Colchester's radical 14th century priest.
John Ball Society founder David Grocott is now a Community Fellow of the University of Essex department of history and is researching the way in which 19th and 20th century socialists have appropriated the memory of Ball to cultivate the concept of insular English socialism quite removed from European Marxism.
Further news of this research will be posted on this page in the future.
If you would like to book a talk from David about his research contact him on