Tolpuddle: A Novel of Heroism

Book Cover


19th Century

David Lawrence-Young

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Six agricultural workers from Tolpuddle UK sent to Australia in 1833 as 'slaves' for forming a trade union. Fight to return to UK as free men and win.



Short Summary

Six agricultural labourers from Tolpuddle, UK, (The 'Martyrs') set up trade union to fight for better pay and conditions. Landlords have them shipped to Australia as prisoners where they are harshly treated. Trade Union people in UK fight for them to be released and after three years this happened.

Tolpuddle 'Martyrs' returned to UK at government expense, received as heroes but later move to Canada following trouble from English neighbours.


1) Topuddle village, south UK (1833), 2) Dorchester courtroom, UK and local prison, 3) prison ship voyage to Australia, 4) Australian 'Outback' (various places), 5) Prison in Sydney, Australia, 6) different (not prison) ship back to UK, (late 1830s) 7) Public recognition in London theatre for their fight for freedom, 8) rural Canada (late 1830s)

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise


Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending, Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

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Main Character Details

Name: George Loveless

Age: 35

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring, Blunt, Complex, Confident, Decisive,Empathetic,Heroic,Leader,Visionary,Modest,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: John Standish & 4 supporting 'Martyrs'

Age: 30

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Aspiring, Complex, Confident,Empathetic,Faithful,Heroic,Visionary,Underdog,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: James Brine

Age: 25

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Aggressive, Blunt, Confident, Religious,Engaging,Heroic,Masculine,Modest,Outspoken,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: James Hammett

Age: 35

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Blunt, Complex, Confident, Aggressive

Development Pitch

When you read TOLPUDDLE (and hopefully watch as a film in the future) you can't help but be on the six 'Martyrs' side as they are railroaded by the dominant and uncaring English aristocratic gentry of the 1830s. They are imprisoned and transported to Australia for standing up for their rights and trying to improve the lot of the common agricultural labourer of the time. You hope that despite the cruel conditions that are dished out to them: imprisonment in jails and prison hulks; tough six month transportation journey from England to Australia;working in road-gangs and tough farming as 'slaves' in Australia, that they will succeed in escaping their cruel fate to have a normal life. You feel that they deserve to win and beat the Establishment which they eventually do. As the book/film comes to an end, you have a good feeling that they have taken everything that has been thrown at them and now control their destinies and survived it to lead a good life with their wives and families.

About The Author

Born in the UK, H am now a retired English and History teacher and lecturer. I have had 20 historical novels published in the USA, UK and Israel and have been a regular contributor to FORUM, an English teachers' magazine, SKIRMISH, a military history journal and WRITING (UK) magazine. I love photography, researching military history, the English language and Shakespeare as well as touring historical sites in USA and Europe looking for material for future books. I'm now writing a book about English criminals since 1303...

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

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Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing. NC, USA

Year Published: 2001 (UK), reissued 2018 USA.

Hard Copy Available



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