Saturday, 12 March 2022

The Giant of Barnby vs the Giant of Newlyn.

Fishing ports for every generation have at least one contender for the title, 'Giant of'. Back in the 70s and 80 Newlyn was home to a gentle gian, Hoss - named after the cowboy TV character from the series Bonanza.

The lovely, Stephen 'Hoss' Maddern, seen here lowering fish down the fishroom on the Keriolet - truly a gentle giant.

So, here's a story involving some gentle giants from way back in the late 1800s. Maybe someone can tell us more about these remarkable man and the weightlifting challenge that undoubtedly took place in Newlyn harbour around 150 years ago. Surely there are descendants of the 'Newlyn Giant' alive today, someone somewhere must know more?!

Born in Barnby, Suffolk, Amos Beamish was was baptised (25th May 1845) and buried (4th March 1914) at St John The Baptist’s Church, Barnby. 

He was a fisherman and agricultural labourer and was also known as "The Giant of Barnby"
Amos was and is a local hero. He stood six feet six inches tall and weighed 28 stones . Because of his size the hatchways of vessels he sailed on were enlarged, but since he was said to do the work of two men owners were pleased to modify their boats. 

During a fishing voyage to Cornwall he was challenged by the Newlyn Giant to lift a stone weighing 60 stones (381kg), which he did with ease, the Newlyn man failing. Amos could carry four hundredweight of cement at once, one bag tucked under each arm and a sack in each hand, a total of 448lb (203kg). He had a tremendous appetite and would eat 30 herrings at a sitting.

Victor W Beamish was fortunate to meet an old fisherman who sailed with Amos Beamish, the Barnby Giant, and who told the story that he and Amos were walking along what was then a lane from Barnby to Lowestoft to work, when they were confronted by two men intent upon robbing them. Amos did not hesitate. He threw the first man across one hedge and the second man over the other - while his young friend had only to stand by and watch the ill-matched contest. And Frank Beamish tells the story that his mother Frances, when visiting Amos and Louisa, was sitting in front of their cottage when Amos came home carrying a tree trunk on his shoulder; and when he threw it on the ground the whole cottage shook. Legend has it that during the Barnby train crash Amos Beamish lifted the entire end of a carriage in order to release trapped passenger. The following extracts are taken from The Lowestoft Journal date 2nd January 1892.