Biography of Famous Little Person Sir Jeffery Hudson

About the famous little person Sir Jeffery Hudson, royal servant to Queen Henrietta of England, his biography and early life.


English midget gallant.

Barely 19" tall at the age of 30, Jeffery Hudson was one of the most remarkable men of his time, as well as one of the smallest. He gained fame in the 17th century as a confidant of royalty, soldier of fortune, and political prisoner. When he died in 1682, at the age of 63, he was as well-known throughout England for his reputedly radical politics as he was for his size.

One could hardly say that smallness of stature ran in Hudson's family. He was born to normal-sized parents in Oakham, Rutlandshire, in 1619, and his brothers and sisters all grew to normal height. As a youngster his diminutiveness was often used by pranksters. Once, some neighborhood jokers stole an old woman's cat--named Rutterkin--killed and skinned it, and dressed young Jeffery in the pelt. That afternoon, just after the unsuspecting widow served lunch to some guests, the boy padded out of his hiding place into the drawing room, and one of the women asked if Rutterkin would like a bit.

"Rutterkin can help himself when he is hungry," Jeffery answered glibly. The ladies panicked and ranted hysterically at their hostess and the entire party was thrown into an uproar.

Jeffery's father was in the employ of the Duke of Buckingham, and when the boy was 8, he was presented to the Duke and Duchess, who took him into the royal household. He was treated with great honor there and attended by servants. When Charles I of England and his Queen Henrietta Maria came to visit the ducal estate in Burleigh-on-the-Hill, Jeffery surprised--and amused--them by emerging chicklike from a cold baked pie served at dinner. Presenting the boy thus had been the brainchild of the fun-loving Duchess, who offered Jeffery as a gift to the Queen. Maria was delighted and flattered by the gift, and eagerly accepted the child into her service.

In the royal palace, Jeffery was endlessly pampered and doted upon and he performed frequently in court entertainments. In one, William Evans, the court giant, who was well over 7' tall, pulled a large loaf of bread out of one pocket and Jeffery out of another. He then pretended to eat the 2 together, as a sandwich.

But despite the royal favors he enjoyed, the normal requirements of everyday living created problems for Jeffery because of his small size, and sometimes threatened his life. Once, while washing his face and hands, he nearly drowned in the washbasin. On another occasion, a strong wind would have swept him to a watery death in the Thames had he not grabbed hold of a shrub.

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