Tolpuddle Martyrs’ chapel to be restored, a place to “sit and think”

A small, dilapidated agricultural building next to the main road through the Dorset village of Tolpuddle is to be made to sit as “a quiet place” and to think, in honor of the structure of the little-known role in the British trade-union history.

Mountain maple tree in the centre of the village, a few hundred meters from the old barn, is famous as the place where six agricultural workers, which became known as the Tolpuddle martyrs, after they were sentenced to transportation to Australia in 1834, together for better wages and working conditions, as their already miserable numbers was a challenge, if the cut from nine to six shillings in the week.

They were pardoned two years later, according to its cause, a national campaign, and a petition was signed by 800,000 people. Their story is celebrated in a festival and rally is organized every summer by the Trades Union Congress, and is told in a small museum in the village.

Andrew McCarthy, the Chairman of the Tolpuddle Old chapel Trust, in the interior of the building. Photo: Tom Wren/BNPS

Some who come to the rallies know that the years prior to the meetings under the tree, most of the men met regularly in the small building that was originally the plainest and humble one-room Methodist chapels.

It was in 1818, of two of the martyrs, George Loveless and Thomas Standfield on a small patch of land they leased in addition to the cottage home. The pair were almost certainly the two that have been recorded, as the return, with “their hearts glow with the sacred flame” after we walk the 20 miles to and from a Methodist meeting in the town of Wareham. At least four of the six martyrs were Methodist.

It were superfluous, as the village has a chapel, a larger Methodist in 1862, and was converted to a small barn and stable.

An artistic impression of how the restored chapel will look like. Photo: Adrian Whittlesea/Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust

Andrew McCarthy, who lives a few houses away, thinking that the two martyrs have need to build it with their own hands. “It looks like a barn, because, in essence, that’s what it was – the kind of buildings you saw, every day, from simple, cheap materials, cob with a bit of brick and flint, sticks and twigs and straw for the roof.”

McCarthy is the chair of the Tolpuddle Old chapel trust, which bought the building, just in time to rescue it from collapse, and learned a couple of weeks ago that it had won a development grant of almost £ 65,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund – and on the way to a full grant of almost £350,000.

The building is listed chapels Grade II*, the second-highest category, in honor of his importance, not only for the martyrs of history but as a rare survival of the easiest early Methodist. The trust was able to buy it for £25,000, after the farmer had to put in place approaches, both of the Methodists and the TUC. The building had lost many years spent on the at-risk register of the National significant building is in danger, for always, even dilapidated building even for storage.

The head of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, takes part in the annual rally in Tolpuddle to commemorate the martyrs. Photo: Geoff Moore/Rex/Shutterstock

The old chapel will be restored as simple as possible, the magnificence of the re-introduction of the original entrance door and restore the a try, a Gothic arch window. But the interior is empty, apart from a work bench and an old Methodist Bible McCarthy, the of a garden Center owner who found it- wrapped in plastic – in one of their polytunnels.

The village has lost its shop, but still a town hall, a pub and museum.

“We don’t want all of these things,” McCarthy said on the duplicate. “What we want is a place where people escape from the busy world for a little while, and just sit on the bench and calm down a bit and think about the history of the martyrs, what they believed, their connection with the land and the building. Or you can just sit.”