Events at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester


What: Experience the Tolpuddle Martyrs story like never before – via augmented reality!

When: From March 19th

More info: Acclaimed artist Jason Wilsher-Mills interviewed descendants of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to create a new artwork for Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester. The exhibition will feature the six Dorset farm labourers brought to life through augmented reality.

Jason’s previous work with young disabled people, Brave Boy Billy, was displayed at the Tate Modern. Everything within the specially created artwork will have a meaning and visitors will see the story come to life and float in front of their eyes! So, come and experience the Martyrs’ story like you’ve never seen it before!

For more information visit or call 01305 261849.

What: Play – To Win The Day

When: March 27th at 7.30pm

More info: This acclaimed folk-drama, by Dorset-based group Time & Tide, uses historical record combined with folk music of the time and area to create a song cycle of the Tolpuddle women.

Follow in the footsteps of the families of the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’, whose lives were changed forever when their menfolk – husbands, fathers and sons – became ‘marked men’. Accompany these women on their journey, as they face prejudice against their class, religion and gender.

For more information visit or call 01305 261849.

What: Mother’s Day afternoon tea

When: Sunday, March 31 – for one day only! Treat you mum to one of our tasty afternoon teas!

More info: Afternoon cream teas are just £12.50 each and are very popular, so please book in advance via 01305 261849.


What: Wicked Wessex – Strange Superstitions in Wessex.

When: Until April 6, all day.

More info: As part of the Wicked Wessex exhibition learn about the Bellarmine Jug. On loan from Wiltshire Museum, stoneware jars like this were common in the 1600s for carrying beer and wine. But they also had another use – as ‘witch bottles’ to ward off evil curses.

People would fill a jug with human hair, fingernails and sometimes blood or urine! Then it was sealed and hidden in the home. This jug was left at Wiltshire Museum in 2010 by a mystery donor. Thankfully, it didn’t have any gruesome contents! Free to visit with museum ticket. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.

What: Jewellery making workshop with Caroline Parrott.

When: April 6th 10am – 4pm.

More info: Caroline creates beautiful, colourful jewellery using hand printed and coloured aluminium. This is an exciting opportunity join her and create your own unique jewellery, using anodised aluminium that you hand print and dye as part of the workshop. Students typically create five different pieces in a day including, earrings, bangles and pendants.

Suitable for beginners and those with experience of jewellery making.

Please bring an apron and wear old clothes as dyes can stain permanently. Lunch and all materials are included in the price, which is £65. For more information or call Abbie King on 01305 261849

What: Count Your Chickens – Easter at Shire Hall

When Easter holidays – April 6th to April 22th

More info: Join the team at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum for a host of fun this Easter Holiday. There will be a Count Your Chickens Easter trail around the museum to keep youngsters entertained and every day there will be Easter biscuit decorating and Easter craft activities. The Count Your Chickens trail will be free with the admission price, while there will be a small extra charge for the biscuit decoration. For more informationvisit or call 01305 261849.

 What: Behind the Scenes Tour

When: April 17th at 2pm

More info: Tour is £2 per person, in addition to a valid Museum Annual Pass.

Limited availability. Booking advised, visit or call 01305 261849.

What: Wicked Wessex – Witches in Wessex

When: April 20 – July 6, all day.

More info: Discover how those suspected of witchcraft were treated in Wessex, and see a scold’s bridle (on loan from Salisbury Museum.) It was used to punish people who were suspected of witchcraft. It was placed over the victim’s head, so they couldn’t speak, or more importantly, curse anyone!

This is one of the horrible punishments used during the 17th century witch trials that took place not just in Wessex, but across the whole of Europe. Some witches faced the stocks or ducking stool, others were hanged.

Free to visit with museum ticket. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.


What: Tolpuddle Man, with Graham Moore and James Findlay

When: May 17th at 8pm

More info: Graham Moore, James Findlay and company present songs and scenes from the renowned folk musical ‘Tolpuddle Man,’ within the original Old Crown Court, where the six Dorset labourers were tried in 1834. Tickets are £12 for adults and £10 for children. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.