Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Round Towers & Tall Stories

How my heart raced with anticipation as I got a glimpse of the lovely church of St Mary, West Somerton, framed by new growth in the hedge. 

The light inside the church is delightful, and with the kneeler cushions displays on the benches, it was a riot of warm colour. 

On the north wall, a wonderful medieval Last Judgement painting. Whilst at the east end of the church there was a lovely display of lilies; a tribute to those deceased within living memory in the parish...

It was only when we explored the graveyard outside that I remembered that this was the final resting place of 'The Norfolk Giant', Robert Hales, who died in November 1865. At 33 stones and measuring 7 feet 8 inches high... well, that made him exactly one foot and one inch taller than our very own Sequoia amongst Ramblers - Thadeus Basil-Snapper (the third). Robert, had gone to sea as a boy, but had to leave the navy as he outgrew the confines of a ship. He eventually ended up travelling as a visitor attraction in America, where his precipitous height drew great crowds. 

Here is his monument. It was rather disappointingly small. I had hoped for a gigantic ledger slab such as that for Erasmus Earle, in Heydon, Norfolk. Alas, sometimes we have to stretch our imaginations to meet the mind's moment. 

~ Munro Tweeder-Harris, Esq. ~


  1. Too embarrassed at the bad pun5 May 2011 at 07:17

    Ready for drumroll, please and much groaning. "Robert had gone to sea as a boy" did he spend his time bobbying up an down

  2. Nice 'Doom' painting. One of only a handful left, I think. Did you see the one I helped to restore in Dauntsey? ( )