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In depth: the story of the Yorkshire Giant

By SINEAD MCINTYRE - More by this author » Last updated at 22:00pm on 28th August 2006

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William Bradley began earning his nickname of The Yorkshire Giant from the moment he was born on February 10th 1787.

The fourth son in a family of 13 children he tipped the scales at an unusually large 14lb. And it soon became apparent to his father John, a master tailor, and his mother Ann that their son was no ordinary boy.

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At the age of 11 he weighed 11 stone and by the age of 18 he had shot up to seven foot eight inches and walked with the aid of a five foot ten inch walking stick.

Villagers in Market Weighton told how he was teased by other pupils at Joseph Mosey school because of his size and 'vacant look'.

However many were afraid of him.

Teachers at the school were said to have punished naughty boys by making him lift them onto high cross beams where they would be left clinging until it was decided they had been punished enough when he would lift them down again.

Once two men visited the school from miles away to look at him and offered him half a guinea to stand up so they could see how tall he was, but he refused.

However for a short time he did tour as a fairground freak until deciding that the cramped living conditions were bad for his health.

He was even presented to King George IV, who gave him a massive chain which he wore until the day he died.

Mr Bradley was often forced to come to the aid of villagers to rescue cats from trees or balls from gutters.

It was believed that he would have been even larger when he was a youngster if his father had been able to afford to satisfy his huge appetite. He would often complain that the only time he wasn't left hungry was when he helped out local butcher Robert Foster.

Mr Bradley died in 1820 at the age of 33.

His body was buried inside the village church for fear of graverobbers.

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