Giant Bradley: Yorkshire’s tallest man

Giant Bradley, or the Yorkshire Giant, was the tallest British man that has ever been recorded. He measured 7 feet and 9 inches (2.36 metres).

William Bradley was born in Market Weighton in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1787. He was the fourth son of the family and his mother and siblings were of average height. William’s father was a master tailor and stood at 5 foot 9 inches (1.75 meters).

Artist impression of Giant BradleyArtist’s impression of Giant Bradley from 1810

Getting work as the Yorkshire Giant

We’re sure you can imagine Giant Bradley didn’t have an easy time finding work. He spent some time working on a farm near Pocklington but he was earning less than 10 shillings a week. That’s the equivalent of 50p today.

William began travelling with a group of showmen and massively increased his earning potential. Freak Shows were incredibly popular and would draw huge crowds. As the tallest man people had ever seen, Giant Bradley had great appeal.

The Yorkshire Giant travelled around the country with the showmen and was presented at many events, including the Hull Fair. In 1815, he took control of his own finances and left his minder. William started charging one shilling per person to visit him while he was in each town.

Giant Bradley was even invited to stand before King George III in Windsor. The King presented William with a gold chain that he wore for the rest of his life.

The death of Giant Bradley

William died when he was just 33. He is buried in his Yorkshire home town inside the local church. His house still stands on Market Hill and the town have even named a street after him – Giant Bradley Way.

Outside his old house is a commemorative plaque with key facts about his life and death. You can also see a tablet that records the size of his footprint.

Market Weighton Giant Community Day

Every year, the residents of Market Weighton throw a festival to celebrate Giant Bradley. It’s a family fun day held on the high street. There are themed games, fairground rides, food stalls and more.

You can follow the Market Weighton Town Team on Facebook to find out more about the event and other town activities.