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Tolpuddle, near Dorchester – home of the Tolpuddle Martyrs

Historic village famous for the six Tolpuddle Martyrs: early trade union activists who in 1834 were unjustly sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia for the illegal swearing of oaths. At least four, possibly five, were Methodists and three were preachers.

The Martyrs' Chapel, built in 1818, still stands but has not been used as a chapel since 1844 when the lease expired. It is a Grade II* listed building on the English Heritage at Risk Register, but today it is privately owned and presently not accessible to the public.

At the eastern end of the village, in front of the Methodist chapel (built in 1862), stands a memorial arch from 1912. The memorial arch is a listed monument.

The grave of James Hammett, the only Tolpuddle Martyr to re-settle in the village after being pardoned, is in St John's churchyard, with a headstone carved by Eric Gill. Also in Tolpuddle is the site of the tree, unfortunately now just a stump, under which the Martyrs famously met.

The Martyrs' Museum is at the western end of the village, along with the TUC Memorial Cottages, which were built in 1934 on the centenary of the Martyrs' conviction. There is also a modern commemorative sculpture, which was built in 2000.

Also nearby
The scene of the Martyrs' trial, The Old Crown Court in West High Street in Dorchester, and the cells where they were held are open to the public. St Mary's Winterborne Whitechurch, where John Westley (grandfather to John and Charles Wesley) was ejected from his living in 1662 is nearby. His son Samuel (father of John and Charles Wesley) was born and baptized in this village. Tolpuddle is situated in 'Thomas Hardy Country' and is very close to the 'Jurassic Coast' – the beach and cliffs near Lyme Regis famous for finds of dinosaur fossils.

Getting there [SY 798943]
Car : The village is located roughly midway between Puddletown and Bere Regis off the A35.
Train : The nearest stations are Dorchester West and Dorchester South seven miles away. Wool station is eight miles away and Wareham nine miles away
Bus : Number 387 runs 5 times daily (not Sundays) between Poole and Dorchester stopping in Tolpuddle.

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