Elizabeth Gale with 2013 Rural Craft Winner
Elizabeth Gale with 2013 Rural Craft Winner

Our Rural Craft competition has been introduced to recognise craftsmen and women living within a twenty mile radius of Melplash Church and who derive their livelihood or a greater part of it from their craft.  The competition has been created by Mrs Elizabeth Gale, former Chairman and Secretary to the Melplash Agricultural Society, in memory of her late husband, Guy Gale.

“Last year we had a wonderful cross section of crafts entered including hedgers, thatchers, potters and wheelwrights.  It would be fantastic to get a similar number and range this year.”  said Mrs Elizabeth Gale

Ben Short, Charcoal Burner. 2016 Rural Craft Award winner.

Guy Gale was a Master Thatcher in Dorset for over fifty years, Chairman of the Dorset Master Thatchers’ Association and an executive on the UK committee.  He took a great pride in his work and could run his hand to other skills such as hurdle making, woodcraft, stone walling, bee-skep making and hedging.  He enjoyed sheep shearing by hand which he practised on some of his own flock of Polled Dorsets and Ile de France sheep when farming at Salway Ash over forty two years.  Hand sheep clippers are used both in shearing and thatching.  Guy Gale served on the Melplash Agricultural Society executive committee and was at one time chairman of the sheep section.  He was always on the field during show week in all weathers assisting in getting everything ready for show day.  He died in January 2009.

The winner of the Rural Craft Award will be presented with the Guy Gale Perpetual Memorial Trophy and £100 prize money.  The trophy has been made by Simon Grant-Jones, blacksmith, specialist toolmaker and lecturer at the Dorset College of Agriculture.  A prize of £50 & certificate will be awarded to the second place winner.

If you would like to enter our 2017 Rural Craft competition please complete an entry form by clicking here.

tim hurn potter rural craft winner 2015
Tim Hurn, Potter. 2015 Rural Craft Award winner.

2016 Results

This  year’s judges were the 2014 Rural Craft Winner, Mr Zach Watts, a Master Thatcher and the 2015 Rural Craft winner, Mr Tim Hurn, a Potter.  The Steward was Mr Stuart Gay.

The Winner receives The Guy Gale Perpetual Memorial Trophy, a free trade stand at the Melplash Show and £100.  The runner up receives £50.

1st         Ben Short, Charcoal Burner from Powerstock

2nd       Russell & Christopher Randall Wheelwright and Joiner from Litton Cheney.

3rd        John Hazell, Made in the Vale, Woodturner from Broadoak

4th        George Hider, Garden Sculptor from Merriott

The winner, Ben Short, will receive the Guy Gale Perpetual Memorial Trophy at this year’s Melplash Show on 25th August, where he will also be displaying his work.