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The Putney Debates Exhibition at the

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Putney,  London, England


St Mary's Church, Putney (by Putney Bridge)

the site where the Putney Debates were held in 1647.


Normal Opening Hours: 

Monday - Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm

Please call 020 8788 4414 before visiting

  weekly events in the church can cause the exhibition to temporarily close


Exhibition Open


The Putney Debates DVD is available from 

St Mary’s Church Putney price £5.00 (personal callers)

(£9.99 on Amazon)




The 360th celebrations at St Mary’s, October 2007.  

Film 1  The Story of the Debates 

Extracts from the play are intercut with comments from  historians: John Morrill, Antonia Fraser, and Quentin Skinner;  Rev Dr Giles Fraser, politicians Justine Greening, Susan Kramer, Martin Linton filmed on a 17th wherry rowed from Westminster to Putney; and  Civil War re-enactment scenes.  

Film 2  What’s Wrong with Britain’s Democracy? 

A modern Putney Debate chaired by Geoffrey Robertson QC.  with Billy Bragg, Shami Chakrabarti, historians Tony Benn, Tristram Hunt, Antonia Fraser (1 hr 25 mins)


 Previous Events


Magna Carta and the Putney Debates

A series of lectures given by three eminent women of faith. They will explore what good government might look like from the perspective of their faith. The Lectures: Thursday 1st October Judaism Rabbi Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi West London Synagogue Thursday 8th October Christianity The Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury Thursday 6th November Islam Ms Sughra Ahmed, Programmes Manager, Woolf Institute.

Magna Carta Putney Debates flyer

BBC2 television series

Maya Vision International are currently in the process of making a social history series with Michael Wood for BBC2. It is an eight part series starting from approximately 400AD until the present day, including the events surrounding the Putney Debates.  Interweaving the national story with the local, we’re looking to set the lives of the ordinary people in the context of great events, showing them struggling with invasion, plague, famine and war - and often with their rulers - to make their own history and shape their own identity. You might have come across the last series they made ‘Story of England’ based in a village in Leicestershire, where we engaged with the local community to tell the story of that particular village through community-based research and archaeology. This is based upon a similar idea, but nationwide.

The Putney Debate

To Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights

"This House believes that freedom is worth killing for"    Moderated by Rev Canon Dr Giles Fraser

Putney High School (proposition) debated the issue with King's College School (opposition)


On a vote of all attendees Putney High won the debate.  Interestingly, King's won the 2nd 'general public' vote  


A Putney Light Shines

By Maria Oshodi, Extant.  Performed Professional Actors

Based on original Debate transcripts, this new theatre production, written by Maria Oshodi, Extant, and performed by professional actors,  illuminates the twists and turns of the Debates about church, state and monarchy.  Hear the historical voices, including Cromwell himself, debate our constitutional future within the very walls where the original debates took place 360 years ago

The People Voiced

  WYT, performed in the open air:

A site specific performance by young people exploring Putney characters and stories of those connected with the   Debates raging on inside the church. Discover what life and politics felt like for Putney folk and their relationships with New Model Army soldiers discussing the future of British democracy.

Living History


Civil War re-enactment company Tower Hamlets Trayned Bandes Regiment

 Pewter Making by Worshipful Company of Pewterers

Levellers Beer Tent, Hog Roast, 17C foods

Celebration Church Service

Bell Ringing - 17th century Peals

River Party rowed by the Putney Oarsmen conveying VIP's from Westminster to Putney

 The Putney Oarsmen in full 17th regalia, recreate a typical journey from Westminster to Putney as it would have been made 360 years ago.

17th century music concert


Concert of fine music from the period and recitations from poets Marvell and Milton.


Everyman and his Government

The American Premise’. 

The impact of the Putney Debates reaches far beyond these shores. Syracuse University London will present a discussion—featuring academics from Oxford , Syracuse University , University College London, University of Sheffield and University of Warwick —on the how the Putney Debates laid the groundwork for the contemporary ideals of democracy (Rule of Law, one man-one vote). It will also explore how those ideals continue to be tested in both US and UK governments. 

17th Century Putney

Illustrated talk by Dorian Gerhold of  Wandsworth Historic Society

What's Wrong with British Democracy

Verso debate on the state of democracy in contemporary Britain,  chaired by

Shami Chakrabarti director of Liberty and 

Geoffrey Robertson QC human rights lawyer ,

in collaboration with St Mary’s Church, Putney with 

musician and author Billy Bragg, historian and broadcaster Tristram Hunt and author Dan Hind.


 They discussed whether the demands of the Levellers set out at the Putney Debates of 1647  have been realised and how Britain’s democracy can be revitalised.                 


We would like to thank our sponsors and local businesses for helping us celebrate the opening of the exhibition



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