Dorset life in 1856

The Tolpuddle MartyrsThe Tolpuddle MartyrsLife was tough for Dorset farm labourers in the 1850s. Despite the rural unrest in the region caused by Captain Swing in the 1830s and the Tolpuddle Martyrs in the 1840s, there had been little improvement in agricultural wages by the time the granary was built.

However the village of Sutton Waldron had one advantage - Archdeacon Anthony Huxtable (1808-1883).

In 1856, when the granary was built in Sutton Waldron, Archdeacon Anthony Huxtable was rector of the parish. A conscientious and attentive priest, he was better known as a reforming farmer and member of the Chemical Committee of the Royal Agricultural Society, where he sat alongside scientists and agriculturists of international repute for over 20 years. He practised Scientific Farming on his two farms, seeing modern practice as the solution to the crisis in agriculture. His work on the manufacture and production of manures was significant in the development of modern farming techniques.

St Bartholomew's church - Sutton WaldronSt Bartholomew's church - Sutton WaldronHuxtable did what he could to alleviate the problems of the agricultural labourers, giving work on his farms to the unemployed. In this he was somewhat unusual: at the time, the church was widely considered to be implicated in rural poverty.

In 1840 Huxtable married a local lady named Maria Langstone, and her considerable wealth made him a millionaire by today’s standards. He used this money to fund his ambitious scientific farming ideas, and also to fund the construction of the present village church – St. Bartholomew’s. Sir John Betjeman described it as "one of the best and most lovely examples of Victorian architecture”. The new church was completed in 1847. Whoever 'W.E' was, he/she would have known this church.

What was happening in the rest of England?