There is no clear evidence to suggest that this riot was a organised as a deliberate attempt to intimidate the chapel members.


It was a small village. looking at this acount, what do you think?

"Dissenters" persecuted for their faith

Despite the peaceful and moral emphasis of Methodists, "Dissenters" were treated with suspicion and even out-right hostility, as this account of the opening of the Chapel shoes:

Picture of the 1818 Chapel as it is todayOn Tuesday last, a Methodist Chapel was opened in the village of Tolpudde, Dorset, … During the Evening Service, when the chapel was much crowded, some little disturbance was made on the outside, but the peace was soon restored. About 8 ‘clock, when the Ministers and their friends were preparing to return, a mob of about 100 persons were found assembled near a chaise and another carriage, which were in attendance to convey them. These persons behaved in a most turbulent manner. A lady belonging to the Ministers’ party, before she could get into the chaise, was pushed down a bank into the road; the horses were much frightened by the tumult and noise, and the driver was for a considerable time unable to proceed. The ladies were under the necessity of walking a great distance, exposed to the most brutal insults. For more than two miles, in a very bad road, the drivers, horses, and carriages were pelted with stones, mud &c. the windows of the chaise were broken, and even the side of the chaise was pierced by a stone; one lady who rode by the side of the driver had a severe blow on her head: and at Piddle Town, two miles from Tolpuddle, the driver received a blow in his neck, of which he is now confined, and which, had it not been for a large neck cloth, would have proved fatal. Mr Bailey, of the Golden Lion, Weymouth, to whom the chaise belongs, has effected five guineas reward for a discovery of the offenders.

Extract from the Salisbury Journal, 19th October 1818,


In his later writings George Loveless described the problems of being a "Dissenter":

"But the secret is this; I am from principle a Dissenter, and by some in Tolpuddle it is considered
as the sin of witchcraft; nay there is no forgiveness for it in this world nor that which is to come...

[People were] persecuted, banished, and not allowed to have employ if they entered the Wesleyan Chapel at Tolpuddle”.

from "Victims of Whiggery" by George Loveless, 1837.