We’re glad to hear that the much-loved Martyrs Tree of Tolpuddle, just up the road from Athelhampton House, is here to stay, with tree surgeons undertaking pruning work on the 300 year old sycamore tree.
Because of the tree’s age, the trunk has become weak in places, and so work was needed to keep the tree going strong. The crown of the tree was therefore cut to encourage new growth, with hopes that the tree will live on for another 200 years if regular upkeep work is carried out.
The sycamore tree is famous for being the meeting place of a trade union movement of farm workers, who in 1834 regularly met there to protest their meagre wages. Six of these protesters, later known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs, were sentenced to deportation to Australia, however, a nationwide petition meant that the decision was reversed and the Martyrs legally pardoned.
The legacy of the Martyrs lives on in the village even today, with the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs festival being celebrated every July. Tolpuddle’s village pub, The Martyrs Inn, also uses the martyrs as its namesake, and is a family-friendly country pub managed by us here at Athelhampton House and Gardens, one of the leading Dorset wedding venues.