The giant of Fulwell who roamed Sunderland, and was more than eight feet tall

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The giant of the Fulwell Hills

The tallest man ever to live in England was a Mackem.

Well, it's a possibility and he lived in Fulwell but you have to go back 260 years to get the full tale.

And that's just what we have done with the help of Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

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Bones of a '9ft 6ins' man

It was back in 1763 that giant's bones were reported in a paper. They had been discovered in a small ridge four years earlier.

A man from Durham was digging on Fulwell Hills when he found the skeleton of a human body which measured 9ft 6 inches. Later calculations put him at closer to 8ft 2ins.

An undated Sunderland Echo archive view from Fulwell Mill.An undated Sunderland Echo archive view from Fulwell Mill.
An undated Sunderland Echo archive view from Fulwell Mill. | se

There were also reports of Roman coins found in the grave.

A 2nd Century pagan - maybe

Speculation soon mounted about who he was and it ranged from a Roman soldier to a pauper, or even a pagan from the 2nd Century.

Perhaps his identity will never be known but at least we can shed some light on Fulwell and its history.

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Back in 1296, Fulwell was sold by the Prior of Durham for just twenty shillings.

Is Fulwell named after an overflowing spring?

Over the centuries Fulwell has been recorded as, among other things, fule well, Fullwell and Fulwell.

A panoramic view of Fulwell from an undated Echo photo.A panoramic view of Fulwell from an undated Echo photo.
A panoramic view of Fulwell from an undated Echo photo. | se

All of these could indicate that its origin could have been a foul smelling well, or indeed it could have been an overflowing spring.

Our thanks once again for another wonderful contribution from Sunderland Antiquarian Society - this time from their newsletter archives.

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So much to see at the Heritage Centre

The society, which was founded in 1900, holds extensive archives which were amassed and donated by the people of Sunderland.

Sunderland Antiquarian SocietySunderland Antiquarian Society
Sunderland Antiquarian Society | other 3rd party

To find out more, interested people should visit the Antiquarian Society’s Facebook page or its website which is at

You could also get along to its Heritage Centre which is open in Douro Terrace on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9.30am to 12pm.

And to apply to become a member, email [email protected]

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