Tolpuddle – one of the many puddles – museum to the Martyrs was closed. One of the six, George Loveless, was represented in a fine Epstein like sculpture (large hands and feet) outside the museum. Without knowing the details of their story, I am impressed with the success of the protesting campaign which effectively returned them from deportation to Australia back to England. Although a Trade Union movement – fighting for the rights of farm workers to form a union – we discuss the cross over with the Chartist movement, a working-class movement for political reform around the same time (1838 – 1848) which took its name from the 1838 Peoples Charter, with 6 objectives, the main one being that every man over 21 who is not a criminal or insane should be allowed to vote.
We did a spontaneous swerve to the left, to head down to Cloud Hill, where TE Lawrence lived. It nestles amid the army firing range of Bovington Camp – where Lawrence was stationed. In a tea room – a converted school, light, airy high ceilings – some of his history was displayed and digested over excellent cream tea. Having worked as an intelligence officer in Cairo when war broke out, he was actively involved in the Arab Revolt against Turkey, an ally of Germany, a revolt the British had worked hard to encourage. However when he saw the outcome, a carving up of Arab land amongst the allies – Palestine to the British for example – he felt betrayed and fought with the Arabs to secure their independence and self rule, in the end thwarted. He was later was invited by Churchill to be a consultant on settlements, which gave some satisfaction when modest Arab autonomy was secured.
Cloud Hill, was now not surprisingly closed, but Morton Church of St Nicholas and St Magnus was open. Torie knew of it’s exceptional beauty, and it did not disappoint. The sun came out and we walked around to the unusual semi circular alter end, beholding the first sight of the clear glass etched windows. They were stunning.
‘This church was a normal little church with the usual amount of local history attached to it until it was hit by a fleeing German bomber in WW2. Once rebuilt, the stained glass was not replaced – instead a series of spectacular engraved glass windows were created by Laurence Whistler. Not only are the windows themselves world famous and a sight to see in their own right but the transformation of the inside into a place of light and space is magical. I will not tell you everything but leave most of it for you to discover for yourselves.’ So describes the web page. Whistler (brother of Rex Whistler) engraved them over 20 years, and it is the the largest display of his work in existence.
We ended at Lulworth Cove, a brief sortie to see if we could scope out a place for nest year. Not Lulworth, far too full of cars, ice-cream and cream tea shops. Although a perfect place for children, safe waters in the cove along with plenty of adventure near by for scrambling over rocks.
Charlie cooked us a spectacular lentil bake, after which, replete, we watched Silent Witness.
Last morning circular walk around the Fleet lagoon, with storms forecast and dire warnings on the news. The rain kept off although the wind did blow. Moonfleet still resonating:
‘Then if poor fellows try to save themselves, there is a deadly undertow or rush back of the water, which sucks them off their legs, and carries them again under the thundering waves. It is that back suck of the pebbles that you may hear for miles island, even at Dorchester…. which makes people turn in their beds and that God they are not fighting with the sea on Moonfleet Bay.’