William Bradley (giant)

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William Bradley aged 18 and half years. His measures in the caption are: height 7 ft 8 in (2.34 m), chest circumference 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m), width of hand 5.25 in (13.3 cm), foot length 15.5 in (39 cm), weight 26 stone (170 kg).

William Bradley (10 February 1787 – 30 May 1820), known more commonly as Giant Bradley or the Yorkshire Giant, is the tallest recorded British man that ever lived, measuring 7 feet 9 inches (2.36 m).[1]

Bradley was 0.2 inches (5 mm) taller than Bao Xishun, who was recognised as world's tallest living man by Guinness World Records between 2005 and 2007.


Born in Market Weighton within the East Riding of Yorkshire, William was the fourth son in a family of thirteen and weighed 14 pounds (6.35 kg) at birth.[2] His father, a master tailor measured 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m), while his siblings and mother Anne were of average size, although one sister who died in an accident at age 16 was tall.[3]

He was said to have been teased at school because of his height, though many students were scared of him.[2] Teachers at the school were said to have punished misbehaving students by getting Bradley to lift them onto high cross beams, until the teacher decided to have them taken down again.[2] After leaving school he worked on a farm near the town of Pocklington, earning less than 10 shillings (50p) a week.[3]

The Yorkshire Giant[edit]

Bradley travelled with a group of showmen under the alias of the Yorkshire Giant; at the time, the freak shows were popular and would draw large crowds. As the tallest British man, Bradley was a prized asset in the business joining the huge Yorkshire Pig which was bred in Sancton two miles from Market Weighton.[3]

After touring many fairs up and down the country, including the Hull Fair, he parted from his minder by 1815 to manage himself. He would charge a shilling for each person to visit him in a room which he hired in various towns.[3] He was even presented before King George III at Windsor who gave him a large golden watch on a chain, which he wore for the rest of his life.[2][3]

Bradley died aged 33 in his hometown of Market Weighton, where he was buried inside the church because of fears of graverobbing.[2] His house still stands on Market Hill. The A1079 road which passes Market Weighton is named Giant Bradley Way.[4]

Giant Bradley Day[edit]

An annual festival is organised in memory of William Bradley in his home town of Market Weighton. The event has been held annually in May since 1996 and is attended by hundreds of people in the town. It is a family-oriented event with games, amusement rides, stalls and other attractions, including the famous "Weighton Lash". Christopher Greener who was the tallest living European for a period of time has taken part in the celebrations in the past.[5]


  1. ^ "Stand Up Tall and Be Proud". NotMuchFits.co.uk. 23 July 2007. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "In depth: the story of the Yorkshire Giant". Daily Mail. UK. 28 August 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "This Giant remains among friends" (PDF). The West In View. 23 July 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Giant Bradley Way". 24 May 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "William Bradley – The Yorkshire Giant". Wicstun.com. 23 July 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2013.