2017 Rural Craft award winner, David Burleigh pictured with Elizabeth Gale

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 2018 Rural Craft competition please complete an entry form by clicking here.

2017 Results

This  year’s judges were the 2015 Rural Craft Winner Mr Tim Hurn, a Potter and 2016 Rural Craft Winner Mr Ben Short, a charcoal burner.  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 :  David Burleigh – Oak Timber Framing

2nd : Russell Randall – Wheelwright

3rd : Richard Wilson – Potter

On winning the competition, David Burleigh said ‘Dorset born, I have been timber framing in this part of the county for twenty years.  I started my career in historic building repair and progressed to framing both restoration and new build projects. To understand how to repair historic fabric, it is important to be able to construct in the traditional fashion. Timber framing has a long history in this country with many buildings dating back into the Medieval era.  I am proud to be associated with such an ancient craft and am very honoured to be awarded the Guy Gale Memorial Trophy for Rural Crafts.