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Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man (Graham Moore)

24 Nov 99 - 02:03 AM (#140213)
Subject: Lyr Add: TOLPUDDLE MAN (Graham Moore)^^
From: Liz the Squeak

From the pen of Graham Moore, if anyone can supply chords, I'm sure people would be grateful. The verse is the same tune (more or less) as the chorus.

(Graham Moore)

Farewell to my family, it's now I must leave you
That far fabled shore in chains we shall see
Although we are taken, do not be mistaken
As brothers in union, we shall be free

They can bring down our wages,
And starve all our children.
In chains they can bind us and steal all our land.
They can mock our religion,
From our families divide us,
But they can't break the oath of a Tolpuddle man.

To those who rule us we are the dissenters;
Do your duty, be grateful, don't complain we are taught.
For God in His wisdom has divided this kingdom
For few to have much while so many have naught:

As brothers and sisters with an oath we will bind us;
The labouring poor in all England shall rise.
Though Frampton has framed us, they never will tame us,
Arise men and women; we'll yet win the prize:^^

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to Australia in 1834, for taking an oath that they would work to support each other and their families. The landowners were forcing them to work longer hours, reduced their wages, meaning starvation and deprivation for all. The oath was to hold back a portion of their produce, to enable them to feed their families, whilst reserving seed stock to grow their own food. Six men took this oath under a Yew(?) tree in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset. When the landlords learnt of this, they tried to charge the men with theft. The courts decided that as the men were starving, the landlords were the guilty ones, for not ensuring their wellbeing. However, because the feudal system was biased towards the landlords, all wealthy landowners, the men had to be punished. Frampton, a local magistrate(?) held that the men had taken an oath on the tree, not the bible, that it did not include loyalty to the King, and thus were guilty of blasphemy and treason. The penalty for this was death or transportation. The men were transported, without their families, to Australia, where there is a memorial to the only man who died there, many years after the pardon was granted.

The pardon was granted on the grounds that the King, when Prince of Wales, became a Freemason, whose oaths did not include loyalty to the reigning monarch. As the King could not be transported, or seen to be guilty of treason against himself, the 'martyrs' had to be pardoned. All but one returned to England.

The Trade Union movement takes its roots from this first oath, and every year, the Old Labour party (Socialist) meet in the village for a memorial. It has been some time since the memorial was attended by a serving Labour Prime Minister.....

I daresay I've got half of the story wrong, because I'm doing it from memory, I can't even remember which King, except it was probably one of the Georges. And transportation was the easy option - there is a bridge, not 5 miles from Tolpuddle, in Dorchester, that still bears the notice that any persons found damaging the said bridge will be transported for life. Offenders really could be transported for stealing a loaf of bread, that isn't a folk myth.... If the voyage out there didn't kill you, it was likely that the climate and still relatively unknown local fauna would.... Quite a lot of transportees were allowed to take their immediate family with them, thus making it a new life for all. The Tolpuddle martyrs were refused this concession.


24 Nov 99 - 02:12 AM (#140218)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

OK, so I tend to go on a bit, and I haven't got the hang of formatting, I've been awake since 3.30 am, suffering from plague and homesickness....

John, hope you get this, the story is as accurate as I can remember from the BBC programme 'Blue Peter' piece done several (!) years ago in one of the annuals. Frampton is such a common name, he pops up everywhere, in the magistrates courts, in Parliament, in the Militia - there is even a village named after him, where he had his major manor..... Oddly enough, it gives some indication of just how much Frampton owned, because the village of Frampton is a good 8 miles away, with 2 river valleys in between.... Much of Dorset is part of the Duchy of Cornwall, which could be part of the reason the men were charged with treason, an oath against their 'overlord'...

Remember next time the Unions call strikes and work to rules - the movement was started to prevent starvation - with the legislation on the minimum wage, this might never need happen again....

LTS (which doesn't stand for Liz the Socialist but.....)

24 Nov 99 - 02:45 AM (#140224)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: John in Brisbane

Truly excellent, Thanks Liz. Regards, John

24 Nov 99 - 05:07 AM (#140234)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man

Really interesting. Anybody know any more about this or others like it? Have Peter Bellamy's, The Transports. What about the tune? Would love to learn this.

24 Nov 99 - 05:28 AM (#140235)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

Oooh, warm glow all over, that done a good thing feeling...

The tune can be had from Roy Bailey's cd 'Business as Usual', ISBN 0203930 940023, published by Fuse Records, CFDC 400 in 1994/5 OR on a double cassette that I can't lay my hands on, but may be available if you contact Roy or his agent directly. The cassette is called 'The writing on the wall', and is a recording of a talk that he did with Tony Benn MP (fka Sir Anthony Wedgewood Benn)about this very sort of thing - the empowerment of the masses. An excellent selection of songs, it includes 'Tolpuddle man', 'Little Red Courvette (the $65 car song mentioned elsewhere), 'Rosa's lovely daughters' and others of a socialist/humanist bent. Please be careful if trying to get it through your library, as there is a book by Tony Benn with the same title, and there is also a book called 'The writings on the wall', a series of essays on the beginnings of the punk rock movement, as derived from various toilet walls, from what I could gather, speed reading it....

If you get the chance to see Roy perform, ask him, and he will be only too pleased to sing it, he says he likes requests, he doesn't have to think what to do! Similarly, if you are of that sort of mindframe, or just like to hear an amusing person discussing social history with an anti-establishment bent, get hold of anything that Tony Benn has written, he is one of natures' true gentlemen, and good at taking the p*** out of himself. He is also an excellent historian.

On a poseur note, I was at the folk club one night (about 300 years ago it feels....) when Graham Moore, a regular there, came in. He stood up to sing (he did an excellent version of 'fishing for the humpbacked whale') and asked if he could try something he'd written that week for a community play to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, so that puts it to 1983/4. He sang 'Tolpuddle man' and received a good 8-10 seconds stunned silence, before the applause started, it was that powerful an image. I know, I was there.....


24 Nov 99 - 07:53 AM (#140248)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: margaret

I fear I'm about to bring the level of conversation down about fifty notches, but. . . I stayed in Tolpuddle for a month more than a decade ago, and besides the very inspiring story of the martyrs, there was another story circulating about the name of the town. They said that it had originally been called "Tolpiddle" but when Queen Victoria was passing through on some tour they didn't want to offend her with piddle so it was changed to puddle. This sounds totally apocryphal, especially since the martyrs' episode predates her reign by a few years. Any verification or sound refutation available? Cheers, Margaret

24 Nov 99 - 09:30 PM (#140496)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Mig

Hello from Sydney Australia [where we sing "'though Frampton's defamed us"].
Back in 1993 my friend Margaret Walters who had recently returned from England [and met Graham Moore?] organised a show using about ten songs by Graham and by another writer [name eludes me]. These were connected by readings from the trial and elsewhere and by Margaret's narrative. The songs were performed by Margaret and a wonderful [now defunct sadly] group called Taliesin.
I've let her know about this thread, and hope she may join in.
I can't stay long 'cause I'm at work, but when I get connected at home I'll be able to contribute better.
I will say 'though that Graham Moore's 'Captain Swing' about the machine-breakers in Dorsetshire is a phenomenal chorus song! You may shudder, but I hope one day to hear an electric rock band play my arrangement of it.

25 Nov 99 - 04:55 AM (#140572)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

Yes indeedy! It really was called Tolpiddle, because the river that runs through the valley, and this can be confirmed by looking on any OS map, is called the river Piddle or Trent. Trent is another old English word for river. There are lots of them around, rivers called the river River..... Anyway. There are also villages called Puddletown was Piddletown; Piddlihinton was Honeypuddle, there is also Little Piddle, Piddletrenthyde and Affpuddle. Long river,the Piddle. Incidentally, an enterprising pub used to sell bottles of Piddle Water, but had to stop because it didn't meet the Trades Descriptions standards.....

And indeed, Graham Moore helped write much of the music for what started out as a community play, and got out of hand, and became the 'Tolpuddle Man'. 'Captain Swing' was always one of my favourites, being a luddite at heart, and it goes fantastically with a shanty chorus group to give it welly.


25 Nov 99 - 12:02 PM (#140674)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Penny S.

a< href=>A puddle link<

25 Nov 99 - 12:09 PM (#140675)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Penny S.

Or not, as the case may be

A puddle link

Another puddle link


25 Nov 99 - 01:07 PM (#140689)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak


Found the Abbotsbury Website whilst looking up the Piddles, waaaaaaahhhh, BDASLAB again!! I guess it's time to go home for the weekend again.

Thanks Penny,for bringing that one to the site. If anyone wants to see what reduces me to this state, follow the sites through and look up Abbotsbury in the places to go..... sniffle sniffle.... my aunty lives in one of those houses..... sniffle sniffle sob...!


25 Nov 99 - 01:27 PM (#140691)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: selby

Did Graham Moore right Tolpuddle man with Mick Ryan or did Mick just make a cracking job in the production at Whitby some years ago? Keith

25 Nov 99 - 05:06 PM (#140727)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

Can't remember, it may have been a co-write, but it is certainly credited to Graham. They wrote a lot together for the play, but Mick has managed to leave a total nonimpression on my brain (probably cos I did't fancy him so much, Graham was sporting a very nice beard at the time, but that's another thread.....)


26 Nov 99 - 11:59 AM (#140947)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: GeorgeH

Was the "community play" ever performed, even?? Certainly the song was part of a suite (including "Captain Swing"), which was performed as a complete show, but that was not acted or even staged at all. I recall it having been "toured" twice with slightly different bands; a friend of ours played in at least one of the line-ups; we saw the show in Dorchester Town Hall and our daughter still cherishes the tape (well worth getting hold of if you can find it). My recollection is that the show was jointly attributed to Graham and Mick, but I don't know if they co-wrote songs or each contributed different songs. Guess I need to look out the tape's sleeve notes.

Mind you, Liz, I think your history is rather fanciful. The men were transported for "swearing an illegal oath" (or some such); blasphemy wasn't necessary here. And, as you point out, they were pardoned when their supported threatened to instigate an action against the Prince of Whales (oops, couldn't resist!) on the same charge. Similarly, while you can't separate the laws of that time from fudalism, the link isn't as close as you suggest. (The South Western branch of one of the Trade Unions - T&GWU? - published a good short account of the Tolpuddle event; we picked up a copy at the Dorset Steam Fair one year). Again, your link with the Dutchy of Cornwall seems tenuous . . I'm afraid I find your mix of fact, speculation and approximate association a little disconcerting.

However . . are you actually from Dorset, or just harbouring fond memories? And did your time there take in any of the Cattistock Ceilidhs or the sometimes associated Rampisham sunday lunchtime sessions? Wonderful times. Of course - just to show that some things change less than one would hope - the sessions at Rampisham ended when the landowner (or "squire" as I think he'd like to see himself) refused to renew the landlord's lease on the pub. I'm even told he claimed that the vehicles parked at the pub, and the customers' comings and goings, detracted from the view from his window, but that, too, might just be fanciful gossip.

I'll save my other "class war" story of spoiling Dorset views . .


26 Nov 99 - 06:26 PM (#141092)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: bobby's girl

To George - I remember the sessions at the Tigers Head, and good days they were too, if a little cramped! 'Tolpuddle Man' has been performed on a regular basis by Endangered Species, a Dorset-based folk theatre company. I've seen them perform several times, but the most memorable times are when they perform the play in the old Crown Court in Dorchester, which is the actual court where the Martyrs were tried and convicted. It still looks exactly as it did then, and the whole thing is very spooky. This year they performed the play on the weekend of the Trade Union Rally at Tolpuddle, and the following day, Graham sang Tolpuddle Man outside the Martyrs Inn in Tolpuddle - a very emotional experience!

26 Nov 99 - 08:55 PM (#141129)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: wildlone

Tim Lacock and the Scorpion band perform Tollpuddle man and Capt Swing,as do the Yetties.
Bonny Sartin in his poem about Dorset writes "Down the middle theres a bit of a muddle nobody knows if its piddle or puddle"

26 Nov 99 - 09:57 PM (#141152)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

George, Yes; yes, but couldn't tell you any details; and I think so.

Yes, proven family back to early 1700s; probably, I did say, but made from whole cloth (used to work in the museum/records office there, seen many a thing not on public display......nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more); yes, fond memories of travelling back to my home on the parcel shelf of a Spitfire sports car, with 2 6 foot something blokes in the front...., never got into the sessions, usually too hungover; and everything you hear about the Tigers' Head and Rampisham is true. The stupid thing was, the bloody squire only lived in the village for about 2 weeks out of 52!!


29 Nov 99 - 01:33 PM (#142187)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: GeorgeH

bobby's girl, wildlone and squeaky liz: thanks for the further info and the actute attack of nostalgia I'm now immersed in. We only lived in Dorset for 4 years (of my 51) but it still feels more like home than anywhere we stayed longer. Thanks in particular for confirmation of the Tigers Head story - the couple of times we were told it a few too many pints had been consumed to be 100% certain. And at least one of our visits to a session there the fog was too damn thick for the squire to have seen it at all . .

As for New Scorpion Band performing songs from Tolpuddle Man - the might be connected to the fact that Colin Thompson is in Scorpion Band and was also in at least one iteration of the Tolpuddle Man project (including the concert performance we saw and the recording).

If any of you see Colin and/or Ruth (who were involved in organising the Catistock and Rampisham events) please pass on love from "George & Chris".


30 Nov 99 - 10:18 AM (#142606)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

AAAAAAHHHH Colin!!!! You've just reawakened a long dormant (though not dead) passion, boy did I ever have it for him way back then!!! Seems I'm doomed to fancy musos, cos I actually ended up going out with another violinist then! Eventually married a melodeon player....

And if Ruth or Colin offer you some of their homemade apple wine - sit down first, and don't plan on getting home in the next 48 hours....


01 Dec 99 - 07:30 AM (#143105)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: GeorgeH

Our fondest recollections of Colin concern denting our bank balance. First our son (aged about 9) hears him playing fiddle and decides he wants to learn it, too. Then a couple of years later he hears Colin playing sax and decides he wants to learn that as well . .

No complaints really, though. Now 21, David's a reasonably competent fiddler, and a damn fine sax player. And a reunion with Colin (and in a good year Ruth and the children) is a significant bonus at Sidmouth each year.

So - I'm sure you've answered this elswhere, but where are you cast up these days, as it's clearly not Dorset?


01 Dec 99 - 02:24 PM (#143265)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Liz the Squeak

Smelly old London, sublime to the ridiculous really, married a melodeon playing East End boy who wouldn't move. How East end? His dad's school bullies were the Kray Twins.....


16 Feb 02 - 06:19 AM (#651420)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man
From: Herga Kitty

Refresh for inquiries about Captain Swing

06 Sep 21 - 04:41 PM (#4119016)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man (Graham Moore)
From: Joe Offer

Joe - needs consolidation

06 Sep 21 - 06:42 PM (#4119028)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man (Graham Moore)
From: Malcolm Storey

Tolpuddle Man was performed at the Metropole in Whitby as part of Whitby Folk Week in a year I will have to check.
The rehearsals were in the accommodation Judy and I were sharing with Mick Peat and Barry and Pauline Renshaw. It was above the Argyle Garage adjacent to the Metropole and had a huge communal cooking, eating, lounging room.
I also have recording - sound only unfortunately - of the performance.
It was a brilliant show.