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You are in: Cornwall > Local Radio > Anthony Payne

Anthony Payne

Anthony Payne

Anthony Payne is a one man stage play written by Dr Alan M Kent and is currently touring Cornwall. It has been specially adapted for BBC Radio Cornwall for Emma Lloyd's afternoon programme on every day from Monday June 11 from 4.30pm.

By the time the Cornish giant Anthony Payne reached his 21st birthday he already stood seven foot two inches. After his father, a tenant farmer at Stratton, 'attached' him to the house of Sir Beville Granville of Stowe, his landlord, Tony grew two more inches.

Listen to the Radio Drama

The production, 'Anthony Payne', is written by Dr Alan M Kent as a one man stage play that has been touring Cornwall this Spring with Truro born professional actor Dean Nolan at the helm.

It has been specially adapted for BBC Radio Cornwall with kind permission of the writer and is performed by Dean and produced by Emma Lloyd. Tune into BBC Radio Cornwall for Emma Lloyd's afternoon programme to hear the drama every day from Monday June 11 from 4.30pm. Each day we'll add the latest episode for you to enjoy on the BBC Cornwall website.

Monday 11 June 2007

To hear part one of the play, click on the link below:

Tuesday 12 June 2007

To hear part two of the play, click on the link below:

Wednesday 13 June 2007

To hear part three of the play, click on the link below:

Thursday 14 June 2007

To hear part four of the play, click on the link below:

Friday 15 June 2007

To hear part five of the play, click on the link below:

For all his size and bulk, the witty Payne showed no signs of clumsiness, but awed everyone with his dexterity and very quick reflexes. They also say he had the brains to match the brawn that had thrust him into the role of a mighty man.

A story frequently told about Tony illustrates his great strength. One chilly Christmas Eve, they say, someone at the house sent a boy into the woods with an ass to gather some logs for the fire.

The youngster however tarried. When he failed to return by a reasonable time, Payne entered the woods to search for him. Finding the lad, the giant, to save time returning home, loaded the log-laden ass on his back and then he and the boy went merrily on their way.

The Giant Bodyguard

When war erupted between Parliament and King Charles I in 1642, Sir Beville joined his forces on the side of the king, and Payne, also a Royalist, became his bodyguard.

One day news reached his master that a Parliamentary battalion led by Lord Stamford was approaching the town. A picked company, with Payne at their head, marched out to fight them. This battle ended with the Royalists as clear victors and Stamford's forces in retreat.

As the enemy's dead lay strewn over the battlefield, Payne set his men to digging trenches large enough to hold ten bodies each. When this work was finished, they began burying the dead. Nine corpses of the enemy soldiers soon lay side by side in the first trench.

Some men with shovels waited as Payne approached with the tenth. As he neared the trench, the man that was supposed dead spoke. Or rather he pleaded: "Surely you wouldn't bury me, Mr. Payne, before I am dead?"

Effortlessly toting the limp body in the crook of his huge arm, Payne replied: "I tell thee, man, our trench was dug for ten, and there's nine in already; you must take your place."

"But I be not dead, I say," the man begged earnestly. "I haven't done living yet. Have mercy, Mr. Payne; don't ye hurry a poor fellow into the earth before his time."

"I won't hurry thee," Payne answered, "I mean to put thee down quietly and cover thee up, and then thee canst die at thy leisure.

Of course, the good-natured Payne was just having some fun with his frightened foe. After the burials, he carried the wounded man to his own cottage and cared for him.

After the Restoration, King Charles II appointed Sir Beville's son John as governor of Plymouth Garrison, and Payne became Sir John's halberdier.

The King took a great liking for the friendly Cornish giant and commissioned Sir Godfrey Kneller to paint his portrait. This painting, which Kneller titled the 'Loyal Giant', can be seen today in the Royal Institute of Cornwall Art Gallery. A reproduction of it also appears in Gilbert's History of Cornwall, Vol. H.86

After he reached retirement age, Payne returned to his native Stratton to live out his days. Upon his death, the locals found that they were unable to get the oversized corpse through the doorway and down the stairs.

To solve the problem, they sawed through the joists, and the floor bearing the giant's body was then lowered with ropes and pulleys to ground level. Relays of strong pallbearers then bore the enormous coffin to his grave site near Stratton Church.

last updated: 08/01/2008 at 14:55
created: 07/06/2007

You are in: Cornwall > Local Radio > Anthony Payne



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