The Eccentric Simeon Ellerton

In the 18th century there was an eccentric fitness fanatic named Simeon Ellerton from Craike in the county of Durham. So why is he viewed as one of the most eccentric people ever to have lived? And why is his name now part of history? Here are the strange facts.

He loved walking and would often undertake errands for the local village or act as a courier to deliver items far and wide. However, he had an ulterior motive when he was out on many of his long walks . . . he would look for and collect stones that matched his specs and then carry them home on his head.

So what was the reason for carrying these stones back on his head after every long walk? Well, he had a grand plan . . . to build his own house with these stones. Not being a rich man, this way he would be able to have the building materials for free.

To keep anyone from commenting or interfering with his plans, if anyone asked him the reason for the stones loaded on top of his head, he would simply reply, “Tis to keep on my hat.”

Strange facts about Simeon were building up.

Simeon Ellerton eventually collected and stored so many stones that he had enough building material to build his very own cottage. He built the cottage himself, free from the costs of materials and builders’ fees.

So was Simeon Ellerton slightly mad or eccentric? After all, he built himself a house for free whilst keeping fit at the same time. With the above information I would have to say that he was a smart guy with a single goal in mind.

However, when the cottage was completed, he felt very uncomfortable walking around without any stones on his head, so he used to walk around with a bag of stones on his head just for the heck of it. This fact, together with the fact that there are easier ways to transport stones, such as a bag slung over his shoulder or tied to his waist for example, points out the fact that Simeon Ellerton was definitely eccentric without a doubt.

To prove how his fitness benefited him, he lived to the very respectable age of 104 when he died in 1799. Bear in mind that in the eighteenth century health and medical care was very undeveloped, which makes this feat of living a long life back then even more impressive.

If you are having a new conservatory built, maybe it would be a smart move to get your walking shoes out and consider a stone version? You’d get fit in the process too, which would be killing two birds with one stone, if you’ll excuse the pun. So, amongst the strange facts about Simeon, pehaps there was a strange logic at work.

Article by Kevin Baker

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  1. There was nothing wrong withSimeon Ellerton. In fact he had a great deal more commom sense than today’s society. I very much doubt that he was fretting about the cost of petrol, mortgages,pin numbers, car tax or any of the multitude of things that clutter up our lives today.
    Good on you Simeon, lets all take a leaf out of your book.

    • Yes, I agree 🙂 This guy definitely knew the art of keeping life simple. I like to think of him after a long walk and relaxing in his mortgage-less cottage, chuckling to himself at the people cluttering their lives up in the towns and villages near by. I also like to think of him continuing to balance stones on his head as a tactic to maybe bring tourists to his humble abode, which could well be the reason.
      There was an art exhibition that I heard of that employed a tramp to do one task only, without speaking to anyone. He was employed to lay down a brick in front of an art exhibition that was struggling to attract people and then pick it up again and carry the brick all the way around the exhibition and lay it back down in the exact same place, for no apparent reason. People started to flock in droves to see this strange act and ended up going in to the exhibition. They tried to ask the reason why, but the tramp remained silent, as his pay check depended on silence and this single act. What a great tactic and one that Simeon obviously knew well.

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