"Old Crown Court" Dorchester Things to Do Tip by ettiewyn
Dorchester Things to Do: 33 reviews and 62 photos
I had never heard about the Tolpuddle Martyrs until I read about them on Cathy's Tolpuddle page, but I suppose that their story is more widely known in the UK. They were a group of six agricultural labourers living in Tolpuddle who in 1832 formed something like the first trade union in the world, the "Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers". They particularly demanded higher wages, as they were paid much less compared to workers in areas where the industrial revolution was taking place.
Although groups like this were already allowed at the time, the land owner succeeded in having them tried. The trial took place in Dorchester!
The men were sentenced in 1834 and subsequently deported to Australia, but they became local heroes and 800,000 signatures were collected demanding their release. Their supporters were successful and five of them were indeed released (one member was not because he already had another criminal record).
The court where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced is preserved and can be seen by visitors. It is located next to the Stratton House council building and can be accessed from there. You need to write down your name and the time in a list when you enter and then you are free to walk around the historical court room on your own. There are also information boards on the Tolpuddle Martyrs. You need to sign out when you leave again.
No admission fee!
Opening times: 10.00am to 12pm, 02.00pm to 04.00pm monday to friday. In August, there are guided tours on monday and thursday afternoons that also include the cells and stock below the court which can not be seen on other days.
Address: 58 - 60 High West Street
Directions: In the town centre
Phone: 01305 267 992
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