The Tolpuddle Martyrs
In 1834, farmworkers in the English village of Tolpuddle formed a trade union to fight for better pay. But they were soon arrested and received a shocking punishment.
In the 1830s, many farmworkers in rural England were living in desperate poverty. Conditions were particularly harsh in the village of Tolpuddle where landowners had lowered wages to starvation level. In response, a group of workers decided to form a trade union. But they were soon arrested and received a punishment that shocked other workers across the country. They became known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
(Photo: Drawing of the six Tolpuddle Martyrs. Credit: The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Museum)