Loveless, George

Dorset farm labourer and WM local preacher, he was born on 9 February 1797 at Tolpuddle, Dorset and worked as a farm labourer from his early years. In 1833 he formed 'the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labours' at Tolpuddle in a bid to improve the low wages of farm workers in the area. In an excessively repressive reaction to the social unrest represented by the 'Captain Swing' riots and rick-burning, he and his five fellow members (the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs'), all but two of whom were Methodists, were convicted of taking an unlawful oath and sentenced to seven years' transportation to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania). Public outcry followed (in which the WM leadership remained conspicuously silent) and a full pardon was eventually granted. Returning home in 1837, Loveless wrote The Victims of Whiggery (1837) and The Church Shown Up (1838) in protest against the prevailing regime. After living briefly in Essex, where he was active in the Chartist agitation, he emigrated with his wife and family to Ontario. They farmed successfully at Siloam, where they were instrumental in building the first Methodist church. He died near London, Ontario on 6 May 1874.

  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number,1907 pp.41-4
  • Owen Rattenbury, Flame of Freedom: the romantic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs (1931)
  • G.E. Fussell, From Tolpuddle to TUC (Slough, 1948)
  • Joyce Marlowe, The Tolpuddle Martyrs (1971)
  • Graham Padden (comp.), Tolpuddle: an historical account through the eyes of George Loveless (London, 1984)
  • History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, 4 (1988) pp.432-4
  • Andrew Norman, The Story of George Loveless and the Tolpuddle Martyrs (Tiverton, 2008)
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: NADS
Category: Person
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