John Frost (1784 - 1877) was a prominent member of the Newport community, and was held in great esteem and affection for his good character, sense of justice, selflessness, and high principles. In the early 1830s he had become a vocal champion of universal suffrage and a prominent Chartist. He was elected in 1835 as a town councillor for Newport and appointed as a magistrate, and was elected mayor the following year. He was elected as a delegate to the Chartist Convention in 1838.
On November 3, 1839, he led a Chartist march of 3000 in Newport. The marchers came under fire from the army, and within 20 minutes the protest had been brutally suppressed. Frost was arrested and charged with high treason. He and his two fellow leaders became the last men in Britain to be sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Following a huge public outcry, the sentences were commuted to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. In 1854 Frost was pardoned, on condition that he never returned to Britain. He moved to the US, and toured the country lecturing on the unfairness of the British system of government. In 1856 he received an unconditional pardon. He returned to the UK and retired to Stapleton, where he died at the age of 93.