The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

The Lincolnshire Gigantic (Sewell) Youth

by Mike Sewell

This article was originally published in the July 1999 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.

Through the pages of the Lincolnshire Family History Society Members' Interests booklet, I was contacted by Mr John Pepperdine of Norwich with the following extract from the Norfolk Chronicle of 24 April, 1819:

Master Sewell, the Lincolnshire gigantic youth, 13 years of age and weighing 18 stone and Miss Eleanor Fitzjohn, Queen of the Dwarfs, 30 inches high and weighing 27 Ibs, were exhibited at the Two‑necked Swan, Market Place, Norwich.

The newspaper also gave the information that Master Sewell was called Joseph Neale Sewell, with measurements of 51 inches round the body, 22 inches round the calf of his leg and 12 inches round the wrist.

The IGI lists the baptism of a Joseph Neale Sewels, the son of Mary Sewels, on 20 February, 1805 at Scamblesby in Lincolnshire, who is presumably the person referred to in the newspaper article.

Scamblesby, which lies between Louth and Horncastle, is just outside of my area of interest, so I was unable to give Mr Pepperdine any additional information about the family, subsequent career and fate of the gigantic youth. However, there may be someone in the Society who can provide the answers. If so, please pass on the information through the pages of this Journal.

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