The Chartist sculpture is positioned in Westgate Square in Newport. This was where John Frost led more than 3,000 people on 4 November 1839 to demand the release of several Chartists being held in the Westgate Hotel. This was the last armed rebellion in Britain and it was ruthlessly suppressed when 28 soldiers inside the hotel were ordered to open fire on the crowd. At least twenty people were killed and fifty wounded. Frost and other leaders of the march were subsequently found guilty of high treason and transported for life.
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform that existed between 1838 and 1848 and which took its name from the People’s Charter of 1838. This had six basic reforms in order to make the political system more democratic:
1) A vote for every man over the age of 21
2) A secret ballot for elections
3) No property qualification for members of Parliament
4) Payment for MPs (so poor men could become one)
5) Constituencies of equal size
6) Annual elections for Parliament
Plaque to the dead
Some of the Chartist dead were buried in the Cathedral Church of St Woolos (pictured above), which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, in Newport where there is still a plaque to their memory.