Quiz about Great British Eccentrics
Quiz about Great British Eccentrics

Great British Eccentrics Multiple Choice Quiz | 10 Questions


The UK has produced a massive crop of eccentrics in the last three hundred years. Which of these strange folk did what?

A multiple-choice quiz by spaceowl. Estimated time: 6 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. People Trivia
  6. »
  7. People by Country
  8. »
  9. U.K. People

Author
spaceowl
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
345,850
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
5 / 10
Plays
601
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. In the mid-eighteenth century, Jemmy Hirst of Rawcliffe in Yorkshire acquired a reputation for oddness. What animal did he ride when he took part in the local hunt? Hint

An elk
A mule
A bull
An ostrich

2. Member of Parliament for Rose Hill in Sussex between 1801 and 1812, John 'Mad Jack' Fuller lived and died a larger than life character. If you were to break into his custom-made pyramidal mausoleum, how would you find his remains? Hint

In full regimental uniform, clutching a sabre
Mummified in the style of an ancient Egyptian pharoah
Sitting upright in an armchair, holding a glass of claret
Hanging from the ceiling like a bat

3. William Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland, devoted much time and expense to his family seat, Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire. What form did these improvements mainly take? Hint

An enormous dome-shaped conservatory
A vast network of underground rooms and tunnels
A private railway line through the grounds
A large menagerie filled with bears

4. Although not quite as well known as his artistic children, Sir George, 4th Baronet Sitwell, was a talent in his own right. Which of these devices did he invent? Hint

A guillotine for sheep
A revolver for shooting wasps
A formal suit made of paper
a suit of wicker armour for gamekeepers

5. George Hanger, Baron Coleraine, lost 500 on a ten mile race between what? Hint

Two blind men
An elephant and a rhino
Ten ducks and ten pigeons
Twenty geese and twenty turkeys

6. This Victorian-era Scotsman, despite having no talent as an actor and even less as a poet, insisted on doing both. He was a great but unintentional success at one, and one of the English language's worst at the other. He was much loved by Spike Milligan. Who was he? Hint

James McIntyre
William Topaz McGonagall
Joseph Gwyer
Francis Saltus Saltus

7. A great British military eccentric now. Amongst other, far more famous attributes, he brought back the military beard, carried an alarm clock with him wherever he went and preferred a vigorous all-over scrub with a toothbrush to bathing. He often conducted staff briefings while naked. His campaigns in Burma are famous to this day. Who was he? Hint

Mike Carver
Orde Wingate
William R.W. Hinde
Edward Newdigate

8. Lisbon, 1813. A high-ranking British cavalry officer lies in a spray of broken glass, having jumped through a fourth floor window. His last words are 'Now why did I do that?'
Who was this famous bane of the Duke of Wellington?
Hint

Sir William Erskine, 2nd Baronet
Anselm Ruffey
James Slade
Robert Craufurd

9. The raconteur and London comedy club owner Malcolm Hardee famously stole what? Hint

Margaret Thatcher's library tickets
The Queen Mum's coach and horses
Freddie Mercury's birthday cake
A statue of Edith Piaf

10. Finally, this unique and very English eccentric was, amongst other things, the front man of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and creator of fictional British eccentric Sir Henry Rawlinson of 'Rawlinson End'. Who was he? Hint

Rodney 'Rhino' Desborough-Slater
Vernon Dudley Bowhay-Nowell
Vivian Stanshall
Roger Ruskin Spear


(Optional) Create a Free FunTrivia ID to save the points you are about to earn:

arrow Select a User ID:
arrow Choose a Password:
arrow Your Email:




Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In the mid-eighteenth century, Jemmy Hirst of Rawcliffe in Yorkshire acquired a reputation for oddness. What animal did he ride when he took part in the local hunt?

Answer: A bull

Hirst was an interesting character who rose from a humble background to make a fortune speculating in farm produce.

He had a legendary love of animals, teaching an otter to fish(!) and keeping a kennel of pigs that he had trained as foxhounds. He regularly attended the Doncaster races in a carriage pulled by four Andalusian mules, and disturbed local gentry by turning up to dinner with his pet bear, Nicholas.

Awkward to a fault, he bowed to no man and when presented to King George III, stuck his hand out to be shook instead. The king was massively amused, fortunately, and fell to talking stock breeding with him.
2. Member of Parliament for Rose Hill in Sussex between 1801 and 1812, John 'Mad Jack' Fuller lived and died a larger than life character. If you were to break into his custom-made pyramidal mausoleum, how would you find his remains?

Answer: Sitting upright in an armchair, holding a glass of claret

You would be confronted by the hefty frame of the dead squire, sat in his favorite armchair, wearing a top hat and with a glass of claret in his hand. He had a belief that if he died, his remains would enter the food chain and he might therefore one day be eaten by his relatives.

The floor of the mausoleum would be scattered with broken glass, so 'when the devil comes to claim his own he might at least cut his feet'. So mind where you step.
3. William Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland, devoted much time and expense to his family seat, Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire. What form did these improvements mainly take?

Answer: A vast network of underground rooms and tunnels

The Duke was a kindly though reclusive eccentric, often having underground works done to create work during hard times. During the Crimean War he arranged for a shipload of food to be sent out to British troops and donated 4000 to soldiers' hospitals.

There are over 15 miles of tunnels and interconnected rooms under Welbeck, some of them wide enough for two carriages to pass abreast. Most of them have fallen into disrepair or collapsed, sadly.
4. Although not quite as well known as his artistic children, Sir George, 4th Baronet Sitwell, was a talent in his own right. Which of these devices did he invent?

Answer: A revolver for shooting wasps

Sir George occupied that narrow borderline between eccentric and mad as a hatter. Not only did he invent the wasp-shooting revolver (which can still be seen at Rennishaw Hall in Derbyshire), he also oversaw the creation of the Sitwell Egg, a ball of chopped meat and rice in a synthetic lime shell, and a musical toothbrush that played 'Annie Laurie' when used.

He also tried to get Eton College to take estate produce in lieu of money for his son Osbert's school fees.
5. George Hanger, Baron Coleraine, lost 500 on a ten mile race between what?

Answer: Twenty geese and twenty turkeys

Unfortunately, the turkeys dropped out after a mere three miles.

A veteran of the American War of Independence, Hanger had a reputation for betting on anything. He lost so much in a fifteen year career as a gambler that in 1798 he was sentenced to debtor's prison.

On getting out of prison, he appalled society by turning his back on his aristocratic set and becoming a coal merchant and a confirmed champion of democratic ideals, to the extent of alienating his close personal friend, the Prince Regent!
6. This Victorian-era Scotsman, despite having no talent as an actor and even less as a poet, insisted on doing both. He was a great but unintentional success at one, and one of the English language's worst at the other. He was much loved by Spike Milligan. Who was he?

Answer: William Topaz McGonagall

McGonagall was beyond doubt one of the worst poets in the English language, with no formal training, no ear for rhyme or scansion and absolutely no talent except an unintentional ability to make people laugh. Try looking some of his poetry up on line; it doesn't disappoint.

He also dabbled in acting, notably as the lead in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' where in an 1872 production of the play, he got so carried away in the final duel with MacDuff that he refused to die, reducing the actor playing opposite him to tears.

The English Comedian Spike Milligan was a huge devotee of his, going so far as to star as the poet in a 1974 film 'The Great McGonagall'.
7. A great British military eccentric now. Amongst other, far more famous attributes, he brought back the military beard, carried an alarm clock with him wherever he went and preferred a vigorous all-over scrub with a toothbrush to bathing. He often conducted staff briefings while naked. His campaigns in Burma are famous to this day. Who was he?

Answer: Orde Wingate

Wingate had suffered a rather unusual upbringing; it certainly left its mark on him.

He was an expert on guerilla warfare. In 1943, he led the first of two 'Chindit' expeditions against the Japanese in Burma, his troops equipped according to his ideas on irregular warfare which he had gained on service in Ethiopia and Palestine. Although not a great success in military terms, they showed the reeling Empire forces that the Japanese were not invincible in the jungle.
8. Lisbon, 1813. A high-ranking British cavalry officer lies in a spray of broken glass, having jumped through a fourth floor window. His last words are 'Now why did I do that?' Who was this famous bane of the Duke of Wellington?

Answer: Sir William Erskine, 2nd Baronet

The son of Scottish nobility, Sir William had a reputation, first for rashness, then outright madness. On hearing that Erskine was being despatched to the war against Napoleon in Spain as a brigade commander, Wellington complained that he "generally understood him to be a madman." An official at Horse Guards, the War Office of the time, wrote in reply that "No doubt he is sometimes a little mad, but in his lucid intervals he is an uncommonly clever fellow; and I trust he will have no fit during the campaign, though he looked a little wild as he embarked." He was a disaster as a general, and after a series of costly mistakes Wellington, unable to dismiss Erskine due to his political clout, tried to post him to places where he could do the least harm.

In 1813 Erskine resigned his command, and shortly after threw himself through a high window in Lisbon for reasons even he himself could not understand.
9. The raconteur and London comedy club owner Malcolm Hardee famously stole what?

Answer: Freddie Mercury's birthday cake

'I Stole Freddie Mercury's Birthday Cake' was the title of Malcolm's autobiography. He had had an interesting career, running the famous (and fearful) Tunnel Club in Blackheath, London, where many British alternative comedians got their start, taking part in a semi-obscene naked balloon dance act with two friends ('The Greatest Show on Legs') and opening a pub on a converted barge at Rotherhithe on the River Thames. It was while he and Legs were appearing at Freddie Mercury's birthday party and they were locked out of the room with the A-list guests that he decided to steal FM's large and heavy birthday cake. Read the autobiography for the full, hilarious story.

One night, drunk as he usually was, he fell into the river and drowned. As one close associate commented, 'It's probably how he would have wanted to go'.
10. Finally, this unique and very English eccentric was, amongst other things, the front man of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and creator of fictional British eccentric Sir Henry Rawlinson of 'Rawlinson End'. Who was he?

Answer: Vivian Stanshall

Viv Stanshall, reckoned by Stephen Fry to be the most quintessentially English of all eccentrics, was the son of a strict and rather humourless ex-RAF officer, whose insistence on proper diction gave young Viv a rich and distinctive 'proper' English accent, at odds with the Teddy Boy circles he moved in.
He achieved fame with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, fronting the band through five albums, then went on to a varied career which included creating the chorus of grotesques of 'Rawlinson End', which grew from short interludes on John Peel's radio show to a series of BBC radio plays, three spoken word albums and a VERY strange film starring Trevor Howard and Viv himself. He also had some fame as the MC on Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' (and the drunk on the outro, a role he didn't have to rehearse for).

He died in a house fire in 1995 and the world seems a poorer place without him.
Source: Author spaceowl

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Snowman before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
2/5/2023, Copyright 2023 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us