taken from 'NORTH COUNTRY SPORTS AND PASTIMES' published in 1893

John Weightman of hayton


FOR great size and well-proportioned figure, combined with amazing strength and activity, JOHN WEIGHTMAN was one of the most remarkable men ever bred in Cumberland .

Born at Greenhead, near Gilsland, in 1795, he was brought up at the quiet pastoral village of Hayton , near Brampton , where he continued to live until the time of his death. In that neighbourhood, he was always .spoken of as a remarkably simple minded man, being quiet and settled in appearance when about his daily work or any ordinary pursuit. Fierce passions, however, were then only asleep, shrouding a peculiar temperament, easily excited to mirth or to violent anger.

In a physical point of view, he was a wonder, being endowed with tremendous bodily strength on one hand, and the agility of a cat on the other. He stood fully six feet three inches high, and weighed from fifteen to sixteen stones, presenting one of the finest gigantic models of the human frame ever seen, with a countenance free, open, and pleasant to look upon. Possessing a good reach of arm, and such formidable power in the shoulders, that in the act of wrestling he invariably beat his elbows into the ribs of an opponent which vice-like pressure was so terrific in its results, and became so well known, that many strong men were glad to get to the ground, in order to escape his punishing hug. Had these natural advantages been supplemented with shrewdness and good generalship, capable of estimating the different points of an adversary indispensable requisites to the finished wrestler he would have been more than a match, the best of five or seven falls, for any man in the kingdom. One who knew him well, once laconically described him as: "A greit thumpin', giant like fellow; varra strang i' th' arm, but rayder wake i' th' brains ! "

In his prime, Weightman proved himself to be a clever leaper, either at long length or running high leap "cat gallows." Many tales are current at Hayton and the neighbourhood of his clearing five barred gates with the greatest ease. He once leapt over a restless black mare, sixteen hands high, which belonged to Sir James Graham of Edmond Castle ; then turned round, and with another short run, went over again from the reverse side. Sir James was so delighted with this display of agility, that he presented the performer with half a guinea.

When a young man, Weightman was as full of tricks of a " daft-like" character as ever mortal was, the recital of one or two of which may serve to illustrate his great strength and recklessness. Once upon a time, in passing through a toll-gate, he said to the keeper of it : "Ye divvent mak' ony charge, div ye, for what a man carries on his back ?" "Oh dear, no, by no means ! " was the ready reply. "Than here goes, my canny bairn !" cried Weightman, and presently the toll-collector was astonished to see him stalking through the gate, with a strong- built pony strung across his shoulders ! A still " dafter " trick than the foregoing is told of him on another occasion, when he carried a donkey on his shoulders up stairs into a "loft," where a numerous body of lads and lasses were capering away at dancing; placed the "cuddy" in the midst of them ; and nearly frightened the wits out of some of the " flayter sooart o' lasses !"

Paradoxical as it may seem, Weightman was a remarkably light and graceful dancer ; indeed so much so, that he could trip through the mazes of a dance with as much ease and nimbleness as any slim built youth in his teens. He had a very small and neat foot, which circumstance may in some measure account for his remarkable activity. As an athlete, Weightman won his first prize on the village green of Wetheral, about the year 1814, being then under twenty years old ; and continued to carry off first honours from the same place for seven years in succession. In his twenty-third year, and while making himself a name as the champion of several minor rings, he was matched on Brampton Sands, to wrestle a man named Routledge, of "Clocky mill," the best of three falls, for two guineas a side. The miller was big, bony, and strong, and so far was formidable ; but being both numb and faint-hearted, Weightman easily iettled him off in the two first falls.

During Weightman's whole wrestling career, he never had a more steadfast friend or admirer than Dr. Tinling of Warwick-bridge. The doctor had no doubt formed a correct estimate of the young giant's powers, and saw clearly enough that if they were only exercised with ordinary care and skill, no man living had any chance of throwing him a series of falls. "Th' auld doctor could mak' him owther win or lose, varra nar as he hed a mind," said a clever light weight wrestler, with a shrug of the shoulders.

Notwithstanding the facility with which prizes might have been gained, it was only on some occasions that Weightman attended the great annual gathering at Carlisle , and it was a much rarer event for him to go far from home to contend. However, in the early part of his career, he once wandered away to Egremont Crab Fair, and entered his name among the West Cumbrians . He was thrown there, by Ford of Ravenglass, a good hearted wrestler, standing six feet two inches, and weighing fifteen stones. On another occasion, in his young days, he went with Dr. Tinling to Newcastle , and won the wrestling there ; his patron, the doctor, being overjoyed at his success. The prize was a handsome silver watch.

Ford and Weightman were drawn together again, in the fourth round, for the head prize entry at Carlisle in 1821, when the same luck attended Ford as had done at the previous tussle. For the second prize at Carlisle , however, Weightman turned the tables upon the powerful West Cumbrian, by throwing him so ridiculously high in the air, that one of the spectators declared that "his legs seemed to touch the clouds !" Joseph Abbot, from the neighbourhood of Bampton, near Shap, a broad set, powerful man, contested the final fall with Weightman. At that time, " Joe was a greit hand for rivin' doon at th' gurse, an' crazy mad he was when he lost."

Weightman not being satisfied with his success in contending for the head prize on the Swifts in 1821, a match was arranged to come off between him and the winner of the same William Richardson of Caldbeck for five guineas, on the Eden-side cricket ground, Carlisle, in the month of October following. Between four and five thousand people gathered together to witness the contest. There existed a great difference in the age of the two men: the Caldbeck hero being on the shady side of forty, and Weightman only twenty six. The one might be called a veteran, and the other said to be in the prime of life. The younger man had the advantage, likewise, in weight by a stone or more; in height, by fully four inches and a half; and was naturally endowed with far more suppleness and activity. A considerable time elapsed before they could agree about holds ; and yet, no sooner was this preliminary effected, than the champion of two hundred rings went down like a shot, and without appearing to have the least shadow of a chance. After the fall, the winner was so elated with success that he cut all sorts of ridiculous capers, and kept leaping backwards and forwards, over two or three chairs or forms which chanced to be standing in the ring, after the manner of school boys at their sports. The second fall was nearly a fac-simile of the first; and if Weightman could only have taken things more coolly and waited his time, the chances were a hundred to one that he would have been hailed victor. Instead of this through Richardson's dilatoriness in taking hold, and otherwise delaying over trifling things Weightman fairly lost temper, threatened and coerced in various ways, and finally shook his fist in Richardson's face.

Some of the onlookers, sympathizing with the elder man, commenced a vigorous attack of hooting, on which Weightman turned his backside to the spectators in a saucy and defiant manner. After this open display of insolence a tragic finale seemed imminent.' The ring was broken up in an instant; and the roughs of the crowd, headed by the notorious Tom Ridley, soon worked themselves into a state of furious excitement. They made a rush at the delinquent, some dealing out blows with their fists, while others kept up a constant shower of sods and such like missiles ; nearly tore the shirt from the back of their victim ; and finally forced him savagely through a thorn hedge on the top of the bank. In describing the melee which took place, Weightman himself said : " Yan shootit, 'Tek th' watter, Weetman !' anudder shootit, 'Tek th' dyke, thoo greit gowk, thoo !" bit I niver kent reetly whoar I was, till I fund mysel' on Eden brig, wid Gwordie Maut leadin' me seafly by the hand. I varily believe," added he, "'at Gwordie Maut seav't mee life ! "

("Gwordie Maut," in common phraseology, stood for George Armstrong, a well known character in Carlisle, who kept a public house, between the bridges in Caldewgate. "Gwordie" stood to Matthew Nutter, the artist, for the model of the stooping figure of the Maltster on the sign of the "Malt Shovel," in Rickergate. to the police office in Scotch Street , from which place his friends, after some difficulty, managed to get him liberated, by paying a fine of forty shillings).

Preliminary to this affair, and quite in keeping with its general character, it may be stated that on the morning of the match, as Weightman was riding into Carlisle on a spirited "black-brown" mare, which belonged to his uncle, he threw the money down on the ground, due for passing through the toll-gate at the foot of Botchergate. This Mr. Rayson, the keeper, refused to pick up. Getting annoyed at the delay which ensued, and in order to clear the way, Weightman struck at Rayson across the shoulders with his whip, and then leapt clean over the gate. For this offence he was taken.

Immediately after the unsatisfactory termination of this match, Weightman issued a challenge to wrestle "any man in Cumberland the best of five falls, for fifteen or twenty guineas." No one came forward to take up the gauntlet thus thrown down ; and although, up to this date, Weightman had not won any prize of importance, nevertheless an impression had gone abroad that he was a formidable customer to meet in a number of rounds.

The year 1822 was a very chequered one in Weightman's career, suffering in it, as he did, so many minor defeats. An account of his adventures, so far as they are known to us, and are noted in the local papers, may help to illustrate in some measure both his weakness and his strength. In the month of May, Forster of Penton threw him at Kirkbampton, after a very fine and severe struggle. At Micklethwaite races, near Wigton, in June, he was defeated by Jonathan Watson of Torpenhow ; and at Durdar, by James Graham of The Rigg, Kirklinton. On the Monday of one of the weeks in July, he won the belt at the New Inn, Armathwaite, finally throwing John Peel. On Wednesday afternoon, he went in company with his friend, Bill Gaddes, to Hesket-i'-the- Forest , and carried off a silver cup and half a guinea, for which there was no sport, "none of the faint-hearted youths daring to contend with him." At Plumpton races, the same evening, he was thrown with ease by a youth of eighteen, named Launcelot Graham of Hutton-end; but succeeded in getting the belt for the last eight slanders he and Thomas Peat tossing up for it, after endeavouring for nearly half an hour to get into holds. On the Thursday of the same week, he won the first prize of half a guinea at Stoneraise.

At Keswick in August, he was fairly capsized by William Cass of Loweswater, in the last round but one of the first day's sport ; and on the second day, through the wet and slippery state of the ground, he was again brought to grief, in the final fall, by Jonathan Watson. During the same month, at Wigton races, he carried off the first day's prize of two guineas, in grand style ; Tom Richardson, the Dyer, being second. The prize at Great Barrock races also went to Hayton.

At the Carlisle races, held in September, worse luck followed Weightman in contending for the head prize than had done on the previous year being thrown in the first round by John Fearon of Gilcrux. This unfortunate defeat, however, was the means of arousing the lion in him ; and for the second prize "he just bash't them doon as fast as he com at them." The last standers were Clayton of Dovenby, Robert Watters, and Joseph Graham of Dufton : Weightman receiving four guineas as his share, and Graham two guineas as second stander.

In August, 1823, Weightman carried off the second day's prize of three pounds, at the Keswick regatta, disposing of William Sands of Whitehaven in the final fall.

Following immediately after, came the great annual gathering at Carlisle , where it was publicly announced : "If wrestlers don't take hold within half a minute after peeling, the fall to be given to the one most willing to commence playing." William Litt, the author of Wrestliana, was chosen umpire. Weightman, the favourite at starting, was in grand "fettle;" looked fresh and ruddy, without carrying an ounce of superfluous flesh ; and by the cool and determined way he began each round, evidently meant winning. In the third time over, he brought James Robinson quickly to his knees; in the fourth, John Hudless; in the fifth, John Allison; and in the sixth, was fortunate enough to be odd man. Then came the final struggle with John Robson of Irthington mill, who tried hard to "bear the prize away;" but his struggling was of no avail, for at each move Weightman kept gathering him up and improving his grip, and it soon became the miller's turn to drop powerless to mother earth, in like manner to those compeers who had fallen before.

The following sketch of Weightman appeared in the columns of the Cumberland Pacquet, and is supposed to be from the pen of William Litt:

"As for the victor, Weightman, he is to a stranger a complete puzzle. To judge from the almost universal disrepute with which he is regarded in Carlisle and its vicinity, you expect to behold in him every personification of a finished blackguard ; but the very first glance is sufficient to stagger any ideal opinion respecting him. I never saw a man of equal birth and education, that had so much of the gentleman in his appearance, and there is, even in his conversation, an unassuming mildness equally striking. As a wrestler, if much cannot be said of his science, \a& powers will not be limited by those who have either tried or seen him wrestle : for, to cut the matter short, I do not think there is a man in the world possessing any chance with him, the best of five or seven falls. His behaviour in the ring was strictly correct; but such is the general opinion of his powers, that though the wrestling was never previously surpassed, yet the almost certainty of his winning greatly allayed that anxiety for the final result which is essential for creating and keeping awake the interest which the scene usually excites."

A letter appeared in the columns of the Carlisle Journal, dated September i6th, 1823, touching facetiously upon a point which, in later years, has been successfully carried out. The writer says :

SIR, As a great admirer of athletic sports, I always make a point of being present at the wrestling at our races, but being "small of stature," I frequently miss a good deal of the sport. To gain a complete view I should willingly pay a small sum, and I have no doubt if those concerned in the

management of the sports would provide seats for those willing to pay, that they would be soon rilled, and the funds be materially increased, as well as a great convenience granted to me and those of my fellow creatures who have not the good fortune to be above six feet.

I am, Sir, &c., JOHN LITTLE.

About this date, it was currently reported that Weightman had engaged to go to London to undertake the duties of porter at Carlton Palace . No finer looking man could have been selected for this post, but it was not his luck to exchange the bleak north for such desirable quarters. Had he been removed to so aristocratic an atmosphere, it is more than probable that his hot Border blood would have led him into no end of difficulties ; as it did, for instance, at the magistrates' office in Carlisle , when he quarrelled over a disputed fall in the wrestling ring, with a big burly fellow, named Tom Hodgson from Wigton. During the trial, Weightman lost all control over his temper, and swore eighteen or nineteen times, although reprimanded for his profanity again and again. On being told that the magistrates intended to fine him a shilling for each and every oath he had sworn, in accordance with an old act recorded in the statute books, he exclaimed : "Fine me for ivery oath I've sworn ? That's a bonny go ! Wey, I med as weel mak' it an even pund, than !" And accordingly he did so.

In the autumn of 1824, the two sons of Henry Howard of Corby Castle Philip and Henry Francis drove in a pony-phaeton to Hayton, and asked for Weightman. When they arrived, he was "hard at wark plewin', in a field behint the hoose." Meanwhile, his mother good soul not knowing well how to show the greatest amount of civility to her visitors, invited them, in homely phraseology, to "a sup milk, an' a bite o' breid an' cheese." When Weightman made his appearance, he was pressed to attend the forthcoming wrestling meeting on Penrith fell, which he consented to do after some persuasion. Accordingly, he put in an appearance at the races held at Penrith early in October, where a large muster of first-rate men had assembled. Weightman, however, naturally anticipating onlookers with friendly feelings, from Corby and Greystoke castles, had come with a fixed determination to carry off the head prize against all comers. Putting his full powers into play, therefore, whenever he was called into the ring, man after man fell before his slaughtering attacks, in an astonishingly brief space of time ; leaving Joseph Abbot of Bampton, second slander. And so delighted was the young heir of Corby with Weightman's achievements, that he brought the victor with him in his carriage from Penrith to Warwick Bridge .

The annual wrestling meeting on the Swifts at Carlisle , in September, 1825, says a local report of that date, "was attended, as usual, by myriads of country people, for whom this manly amusement appears to have charms quite unknown to the degenerate race pent up within the walls of smoky and enervating towns. The ring was under the entire management of Mr. Henry Pearson, and the most complete order prevailed. It is calculated that from twelve to fifteen thousand persons were lookers-on at the first-day's sports." The first prize was eight guineas; and one guinea was given to the last thrown man, or second stander. . Among other well known wrestlers who .attended, and whose names are not mentioned hereafter, may be noted, John Robson, Jonathan Watson, Tom Richardson, George Irving, William Earl, Joseph Abbot, and Wilfrid Wright. Weightman, for the second time, carried off first honours, with great ease: all efforts put forth to stop his onward career being futile and unavailing in the extreme. In the third round, he met Dan Burgh of Crookdale Hall ; and in the fourth, Thomas Miller of Crookdykes. In the fifth round, James Graham of Kirklinton laid down, because, (as the victor slyly remarked,) "he kent it was nek use russellin' !" In the sixth round, Weightman was lucky enough to be odd man; while, in the final fall, the perfidious tricks and sturdy attacks of Jacob Armstrong availed him nothing for quick as thought his various moves were frustrated, and he was sent to grass, sprawling on his back, in a style which neither he nor any of his partisans had anticipated.

In the following year, 1826, Weightman was again the successful competitor for the head prize in the Carlisle ring. He was opposed, from the second round, by the following wrestlers, namely, Thomas Lawman, Wilfrid Wright, John Robson of Irthington Mill, Joseph Robley, and George Irving. The description given in the Carlisle Patriot of the event, is curious as being the production of one to whom the North Country sport was evidently a novelty, and on that account it may be worth quoting. The writer says :

“ The wrestling on Wednesday, attracted thousands upon thousands of country people, to witness their favourite sport. The play, according to pully-hauley critics, was scientifically excellent. The men squeezed, nipped, buttocked, etc., in the most charming style ; and great was the applause of the vast mass congregated around the ring, when some sturdy athlete measured his long length on the ground. On the first day, the grand contest lay between the celebrated Robson, a fine young fellow of about twenty-two, weighing fifteen stone, ten pounds, and the still more celebrated Weightman, also a young man, but of more experience, and five pounds heavier than the weighty Robson. This pair of modern Ajaxes stood up nobly to each other. 'A breathless silence (says a spectator) reigned throughout the ring. ' They laid hold like men like true athletse each confident in his own powers. The struggle begins now now now huzza ! the invincible Weightman is again victorious ! Honour and glory once more for the East of Cumberland !' So says our scientific informant but not so Mr. Hercules Robson and his friends. They declared that the fall was not a fair one, and the mighty business of the ring was for a while suspended ; but the umpire, Mr. Todd, and a great majority of the spectators decided otherwise and Weightman soon finished the game, and pocketed the first prize, by finally laying low the able-bodied George Irving."

In spite of the umpire's decision, Robson and his friends continued to harp on about what they called the unfairness of the fall on the Swifts, until they issued a challenge to the effect that Robson was prepared to wrestle Weightman for £20, which was readily accepted by the latter. According to agreement, the two men met about three weeks after, in Crosby Willows, a meadow near Low Crosby, which turned out a hollow affair after all, nothing really occurring, except several tedious attempts to get into holds. While the rain was pouring in torrents, and the spectators becoming restless at the absence of sport, an amicable finale was ultimately arrived at by Robson shouting across the ring : "We'll russel nea farther, Weetman, i' this doon-pour o' rain. Cu' thy ways here, my lad, an' I'll gie the' a leg on to my nag." Weightman offering no opposition to this proposal, the two were soon mounted, and rode together to a neighbouring house of refreshment, where a few friendly glasses passed between them, which probably helped to fill up the existing breach. In after years, Weightman always spoke of Robson with much respect, describing him as "a canny weel donn't lad, an' a varra gud russeller."

Robson, who excelled principally as a " hyper," measured six feet two inches in height, and increased in weight and bulk, year by year, until at the age of twenty-four he weighed as many stones as he numbered years. He died young in March, 1830 his coffin being so large that it was impossible to get it into the room where the corpse lay, without taking the window out. He had a narrow escape from being robbed about three years before his death. Returning from Carlisle, some highwaymen attacked him while passing through the woods between Corby and Ruel Holme. He, however, got clear off from the miscreants, and arrived at home without harm or loss of property, although he was fired at in making his escape.

Weightman won twice at Melmerby Rounds, getting a guinea and the belt each time, the usual award to the victor. On one of these occasions, when returning home through the village of Cumrew , his companions and he being fresh in drink, smashed a window to atoms, and had fifteen shillings to pay for their wanton mischief.

At Penrith in 1827, it was generally expected that Weightman would be the victor, but it turned out otherwise. He was thrown in the fourth round by a mere stripling, under twenty years of age,named John Loy, who, it is only fair to state, gained the fall in rather a surreptitious manner. Weightman's own account of the affair was this : "A bit iv a lad stept oot of a corner o' the ring, an' pretendit he wasn't gaen to russel ; but aw at yance, t' lal taistral snapt't, an' bash't me doon iv a varra nasty fashion."

During the same year, William Cass of Loweswater, the winner at Carlisle in 1822, challenged any man in the north to wrestle a match for twenty guineas. In reply to this challenge, Weightman sent the following letter to the editor of the Cumberland Pacquet :

SIR, In reply to the challenge of Mr. Cass, given in your paper of last week, to wrestle any man in Cumberland, Westmorland, or Lancashire, for twenty guineas, I beg to inform him through the same medium, that I and my friends will be at the Duke's Head Inn, Scotch-street, Carlisle, at two o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, October the 2yth, where I hope his friends will meet us to arrange preliminaries and deposit the money. I remain, Sir, yours very respectfully,


The wrestling world in the northern counties looked forward to this match with intense interest, but Cass thought backing out to be safer policy than encountering an opponent so formidable.

In the year 1828, some preliminary steps were taken towards arranging a match between Weightman and Mc.Laughlan, the innkeeper, at the annual gathering at Carlisle in the autumn; but like the preceding ones, it came to nothing finally ending in a tie, and then a wrangle. Mc.Laughlan at that time was a great overgrown giant, weighing at least five or six stone heavier than his rival. Referring to this meeting many years after, Weightman said : "Clatten com up i' fun iv his way o' 't gat hod o' me afooar I kent reetly whoar I was, an' flang me doon like a havver sheaf. Sec bairnish nonsense as that, ye know, suin rais't my dander, an' i' th' next roond I dud whack him ! I pait him vveel back iv his can mak o' coin."

An acquaintance one day asked Mc.Laughlan how he liked Weightman's "grip" at Carlisle . "Oh, Lord ! it was fair vice wark !" exclaimed the giant, giving an involuntary shudder at the mere thought of being screwed up in the "vice."

In October, 1829, Weightman bore away the chief prize from the Penrith ring a second time.

The entry included Cass of Loweswater and George Irving both thrown by Weightman and most of the best men in Cumberland and Westmorland. At the conclusion of the wrestling, the winner could have been backed against any man in England for £100.

At Wigton date uncertain where there was a strong muster of good men from the East and West, the head prize of eight guineas fell into Weightman's hands.

At one time or other, Weightman won seventeen silver cups, and once, on being asked what became of them, candidly replied : " I selt ivery yan o' them, an' drank th' brass."

An anecdote illustrative of his fearless courage and successful resistance to apparently overwhelming odds, must not be forgotten. In the year 1829, his uncle sold a cow to a butcher in Carlisle , named Roberts, we believe. The payment for it not being forthcoming at the proper time, nor any prospect of it, Weightman was despatched to recover the amount owing, and rode to Carlisle on a brown filly for that purpose. Coming up with Roberts on Eden bridges in company with another butcher and a confederate Weightman told him he wanted "owther the coo back with him, or the brass to pay for it." The only reply to this question was the filly being struck so forcibly with a thick stick, that it was nearly " fell'd" to the ground with the stroke. Boiling with indignation at this treatment, Weightman cried out: "If ye strike the beast agean, I'll strike ye doon!" Again the filly was struck, and the fray began in earnest. Leaping off his horse, Weightman seized the two butchers, taking one in each arm, and "clash't the'r heids togidder till bleUd flew aboot like onything !" Their confederate also joined the fray in a skirmishing mode of attack, and although it was now three against one, they were rapidly getting the worst of it.

Seeing the tide thus turning against them, one of the rascals resorted to the knife, and inflicted a great gash on Weightman's hand, the mark of which he bore to his dying day. An onlooker, who interfered on Weightman's behalf, was immediately knocked down, under the wheels of a cart, and severely injured. Things becoming thus desperate, several by-standers stepped forward at this stage of the affray, and put an end to the dastardly attack.

Although Weightman possessed no lack of courage when it was called into action by such an event as the foregoing, he was, nevertheless, often very diflident and reserved in the affairs of everyday life ."I's nobbut shy I's nobbut varra shy, an' divvent like to ax onybody," was a phrase frequently on his lips, when any trivial favour had to be solicited.

At one time of his life, his company was a good deal sought after by 'Torny Armstrong, and two neighbouring 'statesmen, named Bleaymire and Jordan. "Sec chaps," said he, in regretful tones, "sec wild divvels as thur, aye wantit a feul ; an' I sarra't for yen langer than I sud ha' deun." After his wrestling days were over, Weightman continued his irregular habits and mode of life, and as age crept on he was by times reduced to considerable straits in order to make both ends meet. Hard fisted poverty, and the pressure of circumstances in various ways, not unfrequently forced his simple Cumbrian speech to shape itself into proverbial phrases, which sometimes lingered in the memories of those who heard them for weeks and months after. Take the following as examples : "Fwok sud aye be menseful, an' menseful amang fwok." And again: "Jwohn Barleycworn's ruin't mony a gud heart, an' 'ill ruin mony mair yet."

Poor Weightman ! When Mr. Scott was taking the portrait, by photography, which illustrates this volume, the old man was greatly surprised at the process, and asked with much simplicity : " Is it a thing he hes mannish't to pick up by his can ingenuity, d'ye think ? or hes't been put into him by God Almighty "

In his eightieth year, being reduced to the most abject poverty, alone in the world, and without friends to assist him, an appeal was made through the local papers for assistance, which met with a generous response on the part of the public, and served to "keep hunger frae t' dooar" while his health continued to be anything like good. But at the close of the year 1874 in the midst of one of the severest winters on record Weightman had a stroke, which laid him prostrate; and having no one near to minister to his wants, the parish authorities stept in and insisted upon his being removed to the poor-house at Brampton. This was sore news to the poor man, and went sadly against the grain, but there was no help for it. And in January, 1875, he, whose exploits in the wrestling ring had been cheered to the echo, again and again, by tens of thousands, at last found a pauper's grave his corpse being followed thither by a couple of infirm old men from the workhouse, and none else.

Such was the end of the powerful and gigantic John Weightman.