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King James I of England had a peculiar interest. Some would even call it a fetish. He liked giants and dwarves. Let me tell you now that a sure fire way to make yourself popular in the court of King James was to bring him a dwarf or a giant to admire.

One such giant who was brought forth for the King's pleasure was a certain John Middleton, of Hale, then in Lancashire, but now in Cheshire. He was nine feet, three inches tall. He had hands like shovels - they measured eighteen inches across.

He was a sight for sore eyes when he was brought before the king. He wore a gold and red jerkin, richly embroidered breeches and green stockings. The King gasped - some say he even applauded. "We must arrange a fight!" Cries King James "The Giant must fight my best man!"

Naturally, John Middleton beat the King's best man with ease and was sent home to Hale with the prize of twenty pounds in his big, handsome pockets.

The pub called The Child of Hale in his home village is named in his honour. And his portrait was hung proudly in the library of Brasenose College, Oxford, where the Lancastrian students had held a lavish party in his honour.

God bless, John Middleton - a giant among giants!

Note: rootbeer277 rightly points out that:

...most giants aren't very strong because their bodies are so heavy. Many have trouble just walking. Robert Wadlow, the tallest person on record at 8'11" tall...had to wear braces to strengthen his leg bones to support his 490 pound weight

How do we explain the strange case of John Middleton, then? Again, rootbeer277 does so admirably:

The Guinness Book of Records measured an imprint of his hands and estimated he was probably only 7'9"

So the story of John Middleton is a testament to the power of legend and chinese whispers!

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