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Abraham Cann (bap. 1794, d. 1864) by unknown artist, c. 1850 Exeter City Museums & Art Gallery

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G. C. Boase

revised by Dennis Brailsford

Cann, Abraham (bap. 1794, d. 1864), wrestler, the son of Robert Cann, a farmer and a wrestler in Devon, and his wife, Mary, was baptized at Colebrooke, near Crediton, Devon, on 2 December 1794. Having inherited from his father a love of sport, he soon defeated ...

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Shirley Crabtree [Big Daddy] (1930–1997) by Fresco Monte, 1979 Mirror Syndication International

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Crabtree, Shirley [performing name Big Daddy] (1930–1997), wrestler, was born on 14 November 1930 at St Luke's Maternity Home, Halifax, one of at least three sons of Shirley Crabtree, a stonemason's labourer, and his wife, Marian (née Briggs). His father's mother was a music-hall actress and apparently named her child after the eponymous heroine of the ...

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Hackenschmidt, George (1877–1968), wrestler and philosopher, was born on 20 July 1877 at Dorpat, Estonia (then part of the Russian empire). Little is known about his parents, other than that his father was a dyer, and despite his Germanic-sounding name, was of Swedish origin. ...

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George Hackenschmidt (1877–1968) by unknown photographer, 1926 [undergoing massage during training] Getty Images

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Marged ferch Ifan (bap. 1696, d. 1793), harpist and wrestler, was probably born in Beddgelert, Caernarvonshire, and baptized in the parish church on 10 May 1696, one of at least eleven children born to Ifan Powell and his wife, Elizabeth Hughes. She became known far beyond ...

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Mick McManus (1921–2013) by Paul Popper, c.1967 ? Getty Images

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McManus, Mick [formerly William George Matthews] (1921–2013), wrestler, was born on 11 January 1921 at 12 Kempshead Road, Camberwell, London, the son of Frederick (Fred) Matthews, dock labourer, and his wife, Rose Edith, née Ball. He attended Walworth Central school, leaving at the age of sixteen to take up an apprenticeship with a printing firm. His interest in fitness led him into weightlifting and the ...

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Jackie Pallo (1926–2006) by unknown photographer, 1961 Evening News / Associated Newspapers / Rex Features

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Pallo, Jackie [real name Jack Ernest Gutteridge] (1926–2006), wrestler, was born at 33 Britannia Row, Islington, London, on 12 January 1926, the son of Ernest Harold Gutteridge, french polisher, also boxing instructor and gymnasium owner, and his wife, Annie Elizabeth, née Lovelock...

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Thomas Seccombe

revised by Adrian N. Harvey

Parkyns, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1664–1741), writer on wrestling, was born at Bunny in Nottinghamshire; he was the second son of Sir Thomas Isham Parkyns (1639–1684), of Bunny, who became first baronet in 1681, and Anne, only daughter and heir of Thomas Cressey...

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Sir Thomas Parkyns, second baronet (1664–1741) by unknown engraver, pubd 1713 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ruane, Martin Austin [performing name Giant Haystacks] (1946–1998), wrestler, was born in St Giles's Hospital, Camberwell, London, on 10 October 1946, one of three sons of Martin Ruane and his wife, Julia Delaney. His parents were Irish immigrants from co. Mayo and the family soon moved to ...