English Heads

The following is a comparative estimate of the dimensions of the Head of the inhabitants in several counties of England.

The male Head in England, at maturity, averages from 6 and a half to 7 and five-eighths inches in diameter; the medium and most general size being 7 inches. The female head is smaller, varying from 6 and three-eighths to 7 or 7 and a half inches, the medium male size. Fixing the medium of the English head at 7 inches, there can be no difficulty in distinguishing the portions of society above from those below that measurement.

London – The majority of the higher classes are above the medium, while among the lower it is very rare to find a large head.

Spitalfields Weavers have extremely small heads, 6 and a half, 6 and five-eighths, 6 and three-quarter inches being the prevailing admeasurements.

Coventry – Almost exclusively peopled by weavers; the same facts are peculiarly observed.

Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk contain a larger proportion of small heads than any part of the empire; Essex and Hertfordshire particularly. 7 inches in diameter is here, as in Spitalfields and Coventry, quite unusual. 6 and five-eighths or 6 and a half are more general; and 6 and three-eighths, the usual size for a boy of six years of age, is frequently to be met with here in the full maturity of manhood.

Kent, Surrey, and Sussex – An increase of size of the usual average is observed; and the inland counties, in general, are nearly upon the same scale.

Devonshire and Cornwall – The heads of full sizes.

Herefordshire – Superior to the London average.

Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumberland, and Northumberland have more large heads, in proportion, than any part of the country.

Scotland – The full-sized head is known to be possessed by the inhabitants; their measurement ranging between 7 and three-quarters and 7 and seven-eighths even to 8 inches. This extreme size, however, is rare.

John Timbs, Things Not Generally Known (1860)

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