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may 2019

17may8:00 pmTolpuddle Man


Event Details

Tolpuddle Man

Date: 17 May 2019

Venue: Shire Hall, Dorchester

Discover the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in the Courtoom where they were tried and sentenced to transportation.

Many have heard of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, but are amazed to learn the facts of a Dorset event which rocked the very foundations of the English establishment; fueling a 100,000 strong, London demonstration for their return from transportation.

On Friday, May 17, folk musical Tolpuddle Man, will return to Dorchester’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. It was in the Georgian courtroom in 1834, that the six Dorset labourers were sentenced to transportation to Australia. In the words of George Loveless, the leader of the Martyrs, they swore an oath organising a friendly society, “to preserve ourselves, our wives and our children, from utter degradation and starvation.”

Songwriter, Graham Moore will be joined by a cast of five, including Dorset born singer James Findlay, who, following his success as winner of the prestigious BBC Young Folk Award, continues to receive critical acclaim as a singer and musician.

James expressed his enthusiasm for their re-working of Tolpuddle Man, adding: “As a family friend, I grew up hearing Graham’s lyrics and now I hear them sung all over the country, everywhere I play. They are written in a wide range of folk styles, from the rebel rousing ‘Captain Swing’ to the anthemic ‘Tolpuddle Man’ title song, giving us good opportunity for creative accompaniments, when playing Fiddle, Guitar, English Concertina or Serpent.”

Graham described the relevance of the story for today and his commitment to using the Martyr’s own written accounts as the primary source for his writing. He said: “We tell the story with songs linked by drama. It’s wonderful to recreate scenes such as the Friendly Society initiation ceremony with the macabre skeleton effigy, and the trial scene of course, standing in the actual defendants dock where it all happened 185 years ago.

“The new Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum is a great venue. We hope the audience, seated in the original public gallery, will enjoy a very inclusive and uplifting experience. Unlike a classical musical performance, participating in our song choruses is definitely encouraged!”

Tickets for Tolpuddle Man at Shire Hall are selling fast, so make sure to book either via 01305 26184 or on the website The performance will be on Friday, May 17th at 8pm (with doors open from 7.15pm.)



(Friday) 8:00 pm


Shire Hall

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