This week in history- The Tolpuddle Martyrs and their struggle

This week in 1834, 6 Dorset agricultural workers were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and transported to Australia for forming a trade union and swearing an oath of secrecy. Led by George Loveless, a Methodist lay preacher, they were convicted in a rigged trial and transported to Australia. As the workers struggled to survive in dire economic conditions when the power belonged to all the landowners, protests had started to increase and the ruling classes felt their power base threatened and wanted to stamp it out.

In a very unfair trial, the 6 men were convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and transported to Australia.

The ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ transportation records are available on TheGenealogist, there’s more details here. After a determined protest back in Britain, they were eventually pardoned and allowed to come back in 1837.

Do you have any ancestors that were convicted around this time and sentenced to be transported to Australia or New Zealand? Have you found their transportation records from the 1700 or 1800s? We’d love to hear your stories!

Workers in field
Agricultural workers in the field

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