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The Giant Jack O'Legs

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Jack O'Legs was a man of unusual strength and size; he was like a giant! Although time has exaggerated his tale, Jack may have been a very real local character.

The giant Jack O 'Legs lived a very long time ago in a cave, in the middle of Weston Wood. Jack was famous for both his size and for his steady skill with a bow and arrow. It was said, he could shoot a straight arrow for three miles! Some said he could take down a bird at half a mile.

So tall was he that he often talked to his friends through their windows on the first floor, putting his elbows on the windowsill with ease. Jack was also a thief but often generous with his loot. His favourite place for giving money to the poor and needy is still called Jack's Hill, near the Great North Road.

One day in spring when he came to Weston, he found the townsfolk wringing their hands with worry.
"We don't know what we are going to do for a bite of bread," they said. "The last harvest was so bad we haven't got a bit of flour left."
Jack replied that he knew of a miller at Baldock, who had plenty of flour and that he would do what he could.

Off Jack went to the Black Horse Mill at Baldock. Jack broke into the mill and robbed the miller of a sack of flour, taking it back to his friends in Weston. The trouble was though, it didn't last very long and so he soon had to return again and again for more flour. Soon other millers in the area suffered too, as the flour ran out yet again and Jack's friends asked for help.

Jack's fame and 'helpfulness' did not go unnoticed by the wealthy millers and bakers. One night, a band of Baldock's wealthy bakers decided get rid of Jack forever. They waited in ambush for Jack, hiding behind the cold tombstones in the churchyard. Sure enough, along he came, unaware of the trap.

Fearing Jack's giant strength, the bakers let him pass by and then jumped out on him from behind. They clubbed and bound poor Jack tightly and then, very cruelly, burned out his eyes with a red-hot poker! Jack knew it was the end and made a last request:

"Put me out of my misery," said poor Jack. "I can't see to shoot you now and you have to bury me somewhere. Let me shoot towards home and bury me where my arrow falls." The bakers allowed Jack's request.

They placed Jack's longbow into his hands and, from where he was standing in Baldock churchyard, he took a great pull on the string and released the arrow swiftly in the direction of Weston. The arrow sailed over his cave and hit Weston church tower, over three miles away!

Jack's grave can be found just inside the churchyard gate. Two stones mark his grave. One at the head and another at his feet, a distance of eight feet apart!

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