In the 1830s, life for farm workers was hard and they could not bear more cuts to their pay. In Dorset they organised a union to fight back but this brought harsh punishments. People around the country campaigned and won the freedom of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival
There has been an annual gathering since the 1930s. It began as a Sunday afternoon event with wreaths laid on the grave of James Hammett, followed by a procession of banners and speeches about the Martyrs. Today, the annual event sees thousands of trade unionists from around the world descend on the small village of Tolpuddle, to celebrate the legacy they left behind.

2022 Festival

It's going to be the best one yet
Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 2022 15-17 July

Like the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival and Museum page on Facebook.

Join the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival group on Facebook and chat with other members.

31 Aug 2021

Songs from the States – Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival 2021

American leftist folk icon David Rovics seems as excited to attend Tolpuddle as we are to have him! He even wrote a new song for the occasion, showcasing his passion and skills as a singer/songwriter and political historian at the same time.