Venue: Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne DT9 3NL In early October 1831, the defeat of the Second Reform Bill in the House of Lords led to a wave of pro-reform public protests and disturbances across Britain and Ireland. Concurrently in Dorset, a microcosm of the national struggle over electoral reform was being fought out in a county by-election which posed Lord Ashley an anti-reformer against the pro-reform candidate William Ponsonby. In a close fought race, marked by widespread […]
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At the start of World War One Bridport was essentially a one industry town: rope and net making. The war brought opportunities to the town but also challenged paternalist employers with a revival of trade unionism and state pressure to improve low wages. With the Armistice, the sense of a collective national interest on the home front began to ebb away revealing long-standing as well as new tensions in the town. This talk explores the origins of these tensions in the war years and the range of […]
As part of BridLit Fringe Kev Davis and Steve Mills from the Bristol Radical History Group explore the history of smuggling and poaching in Dorset. Should Smugglers be considered folk heroes and to what extent smuggling was a community enterprise? Did you know poachers in some quarters are seen as the second oldest professionals? Who are they? Did they take game for the pot or to sell? Were they in direct competition with the landowners? Both sides used violence, guile and confederates with […]
Two of the most common types of popular disorders in late Tudor and early Stuart England were the food riots and the anti-enclosure riots in royal forests. Of particular interest are the forest riots known collectively as the Western Rising of 1626-1632, and the lesser known disorders in the Western forests which took place during the English Civil War. The central aims of this volume are to establish the social status of the people who engaged in those riots and to determine the social and […]
In 1834 six Dorset farm labourers were tried and condemned to transportation to Australia for joining an early Trade Union. Since then the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ have become an iconic part of modern British History. Three years before the events in Tolpuddle much of rural England was rocked by a massive uprising of farm labourers known as the ‘Swing Riots’. This pamphlet analyses why ‘Tolpuddle’ has taken its place in the popular memory, and why the far more significant events of ‘Swing’ have been […]
A look at the history of smuggling in Dorset and the government responses to it. This pamphlet examines to whether smugglers should be considered folk heroes and to what extent smuggling was a community enterprise.