Edward Longmore, the Herefordshire Colossus

Robert Walker came to our November meeting to give a lively talk about this unusual character whose life began in Adforton.  Whilst searching on the internet for something quite unrelated, Robert found a newspaper article that gave details of ‘the giant’s death and burial. On 25th Jan 1777 he died in Spitalfields; known as the ‘Herefordshire Colossus’ he earned his living by ‘making a shew of himself’ as he was 7ft 4” tall and 6ft round. Although buried in a double coffin at fifteen feet, his corpse was stolen after six weeks by the ‘medical gentry.’

Robert explained that Edward Longmore probably had gigantism, a benign tumour on the pituitary gland which puts a considerable strain on the heart and would have made the sufferer unpleasantly smelly. One of the places he exhibited could have been Bartholomew’s Fair, where there were hundreds of booths with ‘freaks’ and would have been how he made his fortune. This he left in his will (a copy of which is in our archives) to Ann Sears and her daughter Elizabeth along with a trust to protect them should Ann’s former husband prove troublesome.

Robert speculated as to how Edward and Ann might have met and formed an opinion that the two Watling Streets which lead to his burial place of Hendon, might be the solution.

Was a church warden named Edward Longmore in our registers, the same man? Robert thinks so but cannot be certain.

 

V.S.

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