Skeletons of Saxon Giants Over 7 feet tall: 6th & 7th centuries A.D.

At least two notable gigantic skeletons of Saxon men, towering 7 ft, to 7 feet 4 inches tall have been documented from 6th and 7th century A.D. Saxon graves in the 20th century at two independent sites in Northern, and Eastern Britain.

First is the “Burgh Castle giant.” On Display in the Royal Ontario Museum in 2012 (Apparently no longer on display as of Oct. 2013). Acquired in 1967 – 68, this skeleton was found near a Roman Fort in a 7th century Saxon Castle in Norfolk, England.The height of the man was approximately 7 feet 4 inches (2 m, 23 ) and his age was around 40 years at death.


Skull of the Burgh Castle Giant.


Skeleton of the “Burgh Castle Giant” being prepared for shipment. Read Full Story, “One Giant Leap – Oct. 4, 2012” from the Ontario Science Centre:

The Burgh Castle Giant was not a pathological case of pituitary Gigantism in the opinion of a Dr. Rideout, but was a healthy, strong, and long lived individual for his era. His bones showed uniform growth, were very strong, and his skull showed no signs of pathology. See paper below, “The Burgh Castle Giant” – The Ontario Archaeological Society – Arch Notes. April – May 1977 page 37:


The second find of Saxon giantism is evidenced from the year 1994 near Castle Garth, when the bones of a man 7 feet tall, and a woman over 6 feet tall were found in a 6th century Saxon cemetery. Evidently a population of “Saxon giants” once lived in the area.

From the “The Independent / London / By Robert Mendick – March 12, 2000.”

“Archaeologist Demands Respect for Giants’ Bones
Bones pointing to the existence of a community of “Saxon giants” in north Yorkshire go on display next month despite a protest from the archaeologist who found them.
The part-skeletons are an extraordinary find. Dug up from a sixth-century Saxon cemetery discovered beneath the ruins of Thirsk Castle, they indicate a seven-foot-tall man and a woman more than six feet in height. A number of children were also buried there.

“These bones could explain why there are quite a number of hefty Yorkshiremen about,” said Cooper Harding, curator at Thirsk Museum, where the remains will be displayed.

“You can imagine the terror of the native Celtic farmers, who were quite short, when confronted by these giants.”

But Leslie Webster, a curator at the British Museum, specialising in the early Anglo-Saxon period, said last night: “Saxons were not particularly tall. These bones are certainly not normal. It would not be a normal height for any period of British history.”

The cemetery was discovered by archaeologist Anne Finney five years ago by pure chance during a routine dig among the castle ramparts. But the artefacts have been kept hidden from the public, stored in vaults and seen only by academics. Ms Finney, who runs a firm called Map Archaeological Consultancy, handed them over to the Yorkshire Archaeological Trust.

Thirsk Museum lobbied intensely for the bones and items of jewellery – including a stunning bronze cruciform brooch and early Saxon pottery – to be handed over and put on public display. It finally won after a five-year battle.

But Ms Finney is unhappy with the museum’s plans. “It was a very good find. But the bones should not be on display. You should treat human remains with reverence.”

Mr Harding said: “Our display will be restrained and thoughtful. But as you can see, it is the bones which capture the interest of the public.”


The bones of the the 7- foot tall “Saxon Giant” on display at the Thirsk Museum:

There are many other historical reports of exceptionally large and gigantic sized skeletons found in Medieval, Ancient, and Pre-Historic grave sites throughout Britain, and tales of Giants feature prominently in British lore. See Steve Quayle’s great website:

The classical account of the Battle of Stamford Bridge in the year 1066 features a prominent story wherein a Norse Viking Giant alone, in single combat, and heroic fashion held back the entire Anglo-Saxon army from crossing the bridge, and slew forty men in the process. Finally, an intrepid Anglo-Saxon soldier, floating under the bridge by boat, thrust his spear point up the unsuspecting Giant’s rear, toppling him on the spot! Harold Hardrada, the Norse King, also killed in that same battle, was said to have been “five Ells” (7 feet) in height according to the chronicler Snorri Sturluson.

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2 Responses to Skeletons of Saxon Giants Over 7 feet tall: 6th & 7th centuries A.D.

  1. Joe Cornwall-Berwick says:

    Leslie Webster is wrong concerning the height of these Englishman and woman and the average height of English during that time. (Saxon/English being the same thing. As is Anglo-Saxon/English being the same thing). The average English height was particularly taller than that of the natives. It has already been proven by archaeological skeletal remains that the English/Anglo-Saxons (same thing) were taller than the native Britons. The then English average height being 5ft 7inc to 5ft 10inc. 6ft not being uncommon. Even Englishman Earl Byrthnoth was 6ft 10inc. The British average height was 5ft 5inch. And today you will still find that on average the English are still taller than the Welsh, Scots and Irish.

    • rephaim23 says:

      Joe, thank you for that insightful data. I too have heard that the Medieval English / Anglo Saxons were tall, averaging at least 5 ft 8 for men. I think these rare and spectacularly tall skeletons in the 6 -1/2 and 7 feet range are evidence that certain genetic and environmental factors were at work in some of the early Saxon communities allowing for such tremendous stature. I have theories that these sort of giant warrior types may have been a kernel in the inspiration of giant lore in England and the United Kingdom. Some recent genetic studies in Ireland in 2011 by the New England Journal of Medicine had found a mutant 1,500 year old gene that has produced individuals as tall as 7 to 8 feet in height over the generations in a certain county in Ireland. The Norse and Gemanic folk were always renown for having men of tall stature often 6 feet or better among their ranks.

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