The village of Tolpuddle, east of Dorchester on the A35, is home to the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum. Here you will discover the tale of the six ill-fated Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were sentenced to transportation in Australia for attempting to form the Trade Union of their day. The Martyrs, led by George Loveless, had believed that forming a union in Tolpuddle would give local labourers a greater bargaining strength with their landowners. For this, they were made an example of, their sentence serving as a warning to others that they must not step out of line. The museum houses a series of interactive displays and artefacts that will enable you to visualise their plight, and tells how six men managed to change the face of social history. Whilst in Tolpuddle, leave time to view the Tolpuddle Martyrs Memorial Cottages (next door to the museum), which were built in 1934 to mark the centenary of the Martyrs' convictions.
Upon completing your visit to Tolpuddle, travel west to the county town of Dorchester, and take lunch in one of the many tearooms and cafes in the vicinity. A Blue Badge Guided Walking Tour of Dorchester will take in some of the town's most prominent historical sights, including a visit to the Old Crown Court and Cells, the very courtroom where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried in 1834. Discover the 200year history of crime and punishment that has occurred in this building, including the story of the infamous Judge Jeffreys and how he presided over the Bloody Assizes in this very courtroom.
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