Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tolpuddle and the Essex Connection

This year my plans to go to the Tolpuddle Martyrs' festival this weekend in Dorset fell through again.

The 6 martyrs were farm labourers who were sentenced to transportation to Australia for forming a trade union in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset 1834.

There was an outcry against this injustice and after 3 years the men were given free pardons and brought back home.

What many people do not realise is that when they returned from Australia they were given farm tenancies in Greensted and High Laver in Essex near Chipping Ongar. (TOWIE 1837?) This is only a 25 minutes drive from Newham in East London.

So today I retraced the walk I went on in 2010 (apart from getting lost this time) and revisited the historic Saxon church at Greensted where one of the Martryrs James Brine, had married Elizabeth Standfield (daughter of another Martyr) at the Church in 1839. I think this was their local parish church (despite most of them being Methodists).

The reactionary Rector of the Greensted Church at the time (I wonder if he took James wedding?) was virulently opposed to the Martyrs and helped make their lives so unpleasant that all of them eventually left and apart from one they emigrated to Canada.

Despite this latter association I would recommend that anyone who lives nearby and cannot make it to Tolpuddle to visit Greensted. It is believed to be the oldest wooden Church in the world and even the oldest wooden building in Europe. It is also incredibly beautiful and peaceful in lovely surroundings. 
Post a Comment