This text was copied from Wikipedia on 22 October 2020 at 6:00AM.
Official Portrait of John Middleton
|Died||1623 (age 45)|
|Height||9 ft 3 in (2.82 m) (Unknown)|
John Middleton (1578–1623) was an English giant who was born in the village of Hale and is commonly known as the Childe of Hale. Legend tells that he slept with his feet out of the window of his small house. Tales also credit him with great strength.
John Middleton was born in the village of Hale, near Liverpool. According to contemporary accounts and his epitaph, Middleton grew to the height of 9 feet 3 inches (2.82 m) and slept with his feet hanging out the window of his house. Because of his size the landlord and sheriff of Lancashire, Gilbert Ireland, hired him as a bodyguard. When King James I stopped by in 1617 to knight Ireland he heard about Middleton and invited both of them to the court, which they accepted in 1620.
Middleton beat the King's champion in wrestling and in doing so broke the man's thumb. He received £20, a large amount of money in those times. Unfortunately, jealous of his wealth, Middleton's companions mugged him or swindled him out of his money while he was returning to Hale.
John Middleton died impoverished in 1623. He was buried in the cemetery of St Mary's Church in Hale. The epitaph reads, "Here lyeth the bodie of John Middleton the Childe of Hale. Nine feet three. Borne 1578 Dyed 1623."
Though his true height will probably never be known, he is likely one of the tallest people in history. If these height markings are accurate, he would surpass Robert Wadlow's stature of 8'11".
There have been numerous local uses and commemorations of Middleton; a pub in Hale, named "The Childe of Hale", bears a copy of the Brasenose College portrait as its sign. Previously situated across the road from the church was a large tree trunk. In 1996 it was carved with representations of John Middleton, Hale Lighthouse and other local symbols. In 2011, due to disease and in the interests of public safety the tree trunk was removed by Halton Borough Council. In April 2013, the wooden sculpture was replaced by a bronze statue 3 m tall by local sculptor, Diane Gorvin.
Brasenose College, Oxford, possesses one life-sized portrait, two smaller paintings and two life-sized representations of his hands. Another life-sized portrait can be seen at Speke Hall in Liverpool, a National Trust property. Although it he was said to be 9'3, some experts suggested that he was merely 7'9, believing his hands weren't measured accurately according to records. However his remains were supposed to be exhumed during the Victorian Era but were worked out to about 9'3.
Childe of Hale Trail
- BBC News: A tall tale: The Childe of Hale remembered (accessed 12 April 2013)