Tag Archives: Elephant Man

Travels with Richard Armitage: Let’s start in Leicestershire


Daniel Lambert (1770-1809), oil on canvas, art...

University of Leicester

University of Leicester (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Lambert, who holds the title of England’s fattest man,
hailed from Leicester. Lambert weighed in at 52 stone.

(Photo of young Armitage courtesy of RANet, map courtesy of http://www.beautifulpicturesofengland.com, all other images Wikipedia)

Leicester Priory Memorial window

Richard III in action at the Battle of Boswort...

Richard III in action at the Battle of Bosworth Field. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently received a post from the Anglotopia website, indicating that their sister site Londontopia was giving away two copies of Christopher Winn’s newest book, I Never Knew That About London. I signed up, of course, as I never turn down the opportunity to obtain a free read that sounds interesting. So I went and investigated more of Mr. Winn’s books at amazon.com.

The lad from Leicestershire with the very wide mouth he would get to put to good use one day as a bellowing Sir Guy.

Turns out he has a whole series of books filled with fun, fascinating and often little-known facts about various parts of the United Kingdom. I am a sucker for trivia about places that intrigue me. I found his I Never Knew That About England for a cheap price through the Amazon Marketplace and bought it.

Last night I enjoyed browsing through it and an idea came to me today as we rode to town earlier this afternoon.
Why not visit the places, via blog posts, from whence RA’s ChaRActers hail and share some of the trivia Mr. Winn has collected about each one?
To kick things off, let’s visit Leicestershire, where our lad himself grew up, shall we?

Leicestershire is called the Heart of England, a perfect place for the TDHBEW who stole our hearts to claim as home.

Genetic fingerprinting was first discovered at Leicester University in 1985 and the Leicestershire Constabulary was the first police department to use genetic fingerprints in the criminal prosecution of Colin Pitchfork. He became the first murderer in the world to be convicted on the basis of genetic fingerprinting.

Did you know Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man, was born in Leicester, as was England’s Fattest Man? Daniel Lambert, born in 1770,  weighed 52 stone and had a waist circumference of 9 feet 4 inches when he passed away at age 36. I believe that is 728 pounds . . . Mr. Lambert was so fat, he couldn’t sink, and could often be seen floating down the River Soar with some of the local children riding on his stomach. That had to be both an interesting sight and experience!

Familiar with Cook’s Tours? Thomas Cook actually put together the first package tour back in 1841 from Leicester to a temperance meeting in Loughborough.

Richard III, the king whom Richard Armitage dreams of bringing to life on the screen, spent the night before the fateful Battle of Bosworth Field at the Blue Boar Inn in Leicester. As he rode out to battle, his spur got caught on a stone whilst crossing Bow Bridge, and an old woman predicted the king would soon have his lifeless head dashed against the same stones. His body was, in fact, dragged back over the parapet where it hung for two days before burial at Greyfriars Church.

(Oh, Richard–another role where your character comes to a terrible end. But it’s your dream . . . and I want it to come true for you.)

Elsewhere in lovely Leicestershire, a definite Guy of Gisborne-ish connection: Ashby-De-La-Zouche was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe as the place where Richard the Lion-Hearted, disguised as the Black Knight, jousts with Ivanhoe and Robin Hood wins the archery competition.

John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, was the Rector of Lutterworth in the southern part of the county. Joseph Hansom invented the hansom cab at his workshop in Hinckley in 1835. The Luddite Movement was born in Ainsley, near Leicester, in 1811. Little Dalby is the birthplace of Stilton cheese; Market Harborough is the home of the largest battery maker in the world. And the best thing to come out of Leicestershire? Richard Armitage, of course.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs.

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia