Following in giants’ footsteps

December 01 2014

REVIVING a popular folk tale of two giants who ruled Bristol's lands is Bishopston father, Oliver Rigby.

REVIVING a popular folk tale of two giants who ruled Bristol's lands is Bishopston father, Oliver Rigby.

Oliver's plans to re-tell the story of the Bristol giants, which dates back to the 16th century, came about one day whilst at work.

He said: "It is a story that every child would have known, but that very few know now - and my plan is to change that."

Goram and Ghyston: The Bristol Giants, tells the tale of two brothers who fall in love with a princess.

She then sets them a task to create the Avon Gorge - whoever wins, takes her hand in marriage.

The legend of Goram and Ghyston and how the Avon Gorge was formed has been part of Bristol folklore for hundreds of years, says Oliver, with the oldest known version of the tale dating back to 1586.

The original story was re-worked by poet Thomas Chatterton in the late 1760s, and became a popular bedtime story across Bristol in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The book, beautifully illustrated by local artist Tom Bonson, encompasses many familiar Bristol sites, including Blaise Castle and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Oliver, who runs a financial consultancy business, lives in Kennington Avenue with his wife and children, and a mischievous Labrador, Digby - the inspiration behind Goram and Ghyston's pet dragon.

From an early age, Oliver enjoyed escaping daily life by delving into worlds of magic and mysticism - and now enjoys embarking on adventures with his two young sons - Wilfred, three, and Gilbert, one - to the places mentioned in the book.

He said: "The first version I wrote of the Bristol giants, I read to Wilfred when he was two - since then, he's been absolutely obsessed.

"I thought, if I didn't go ahead and publish the book, it would be a missed opportunity. I've been delighted with the response so far - everyone who's read it, seems to love it."

Oliver hopes that Goram and Ghyston: The Bristol Giants will set children’s imaginations running wild and will encourage them to learn more about Bristol's landscape.

Oliver's book - funded by the Arts Council - can be purchased at local stores Romantica, Room 212 and Playfull Toyshop.

In addition the book can be found at the Clifton Suspension Bridge shop, Bristol Museum, M Shed, Blaise Museum, Foyles, Blackwells and Waterstones.

The book can also be purchased online at, where a mask of the child's favourite character can be downloaded.

To win your own copy of Goram and Ghyston: The Bristol Giants, answer the following question: what year does the oldest known version of the story date back to? Please email answers, plus name and contact details, to: news [at] bishopstonvoice [dot] co [dot] uk. Winners will be selected at random and announced in the next issue of the Bishopston Voice. Deadline for entries is December 14.

Oliver Rigby and his sons, Wilfred and Gilbert