THE FAT MAN OF MAL­DON

Landscape (UK) - - In The Home -

Mal­don has seen its fair share of colour­ful char­ac­ters over the cen­turies, and per­haps none more than Ed­ward Bright, ‘the fat man of Mal­don’. Bright lived from 1721 to 1750 and worked as a can­dle man­u­fac­turer and gro­cer in the town. On his death at the age of 29, he was thought to be “the largest man that ever lived in this is­land”, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal di­arist. His last recorded weight, at the age of 28, was 584lbs (265kg) or nearly 42st. But al­though Bright’s weight caused him many health prob­lems, he re­mained a jovial man. A note in the parish burial records states: “He was a very hon­est trades­man, a face­tious com­pan­ion, comely in his per­son, af­fa­ble in his tem­per, a ten­der father and valu­able friend.” The same note also records that an ex­tra-large cof­fin needed to be made for him, which was car­ried into All Saints’ Church on rollers and in­terred us­ing a pul­ley sys­tem. To­day, there is a sculp­ture of seven men stand­ing in Bright’s coat in the King’s Head shop­ping cen­tre, just off the High Street. Close by, a blue plaque marks what is be­lieved to be his for­mer home, Church House. This build­ing is now oc­cu­pied by Mrs Sal­is­bury’s Fa­mous Tea Rooms. Opened in 2014 by An­drea Sal­is­bury and her hus­band Mark, the tea­rooms have swiftly be­come one of the town’s most pop­u­lar at­trac­tions. “When we first came to Mal­don five years ago, the Bright’s Path ar­cade was closed off,” ex­plains An­drea. “So we re­de­vel­oped it and be­gan to open new shops, cul­mi­nat­ing with the tea­rooms. It has been re­ally good to open up a part of the town that had been for­got­ten, es­pe­cially as it is an area with a lot of his­tory.”

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