Any man of unusual strength; so called from the Judge of Israel.
The British Samson. Thomas Topham, son of a London carpenter. He lifted three hogsheads of water, weighing 1,836 pounds, in the presence of thousands of spectators assembled in Bath Street, Coldbath Fields, May 28th, 1741. Being plagued by a faithless woman, he put an end to his life in the flower of his age. (1710-1753.)
The Kentish Samson. Richard Joy, who died 1742, at the age of 67. His tombstone is in St. Peter's churchyard, Isle of Thanet.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894