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Allan [Allen], James [Jimmy] (1734–1810), Northumbrian piper and rogue, was born at Hepple, Northumberland, probably in March 1734, and baptized at Rothbury, Northumberland, on 21 April 1734, the son of William Allan or Allen, also known as Wull Faa, a noted vermin hunter and performer on the Northumbrian small pipes. ...

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Armstrong, John [Johnnie], of Gilnockie (d. 1530), gang leader, is recorded as brother to Thomas Armstrong, laird of Mangerton, and so was presumably a younger son of this branch of the Armstrongs. He lived in Canonbie parish, which was then within the notorious ‘debatable land’ of the western Anglo-Scottish frontier and is now in ...

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Armstrong, William, of Kinmont (fl. 1569–1603), border reiver, was made famous by the poem 'Kinmont Willie', which recounts his dramatic rescue from Carlisle Castle in 1596, as found in Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. In 1593 Sir Thomas Musgrave of ...

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Armstrong, William [called Christie's Will] (fl. 1636), border reiver, was the son of Christopher Armstrong of Gilnockie, Dumfriesshire, and the lineal descendant of Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie, subject of the eponymous ballad. The tower of Gilnockie stood in the parish of Canonbie...

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George Barrington (1755–1804) by Sir William Beechey, c. 1785 by permission of the National Library of Australia T275

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Barrington [formerly Waldron], George (1755–1804), actor, pickpocket, and transported convict, was born in Maynooth, co. Kildare, Ireland. Some claim that his birth date was 14 May 1755 and that his father was Henry Waldron, a silversmith, and his mother a Miss Naish (Naith)...

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Blake, Joseph [nicknamed Blueskin] (bap. 1700, d. 1724), burglar, was baptized on 31 October 1700 at All Hallows the Great, London, the son of Nathaniel and Jane Blake, who were later described as having been 'in tolerable Circumstances' (Most Remarkable Criminals...

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Robert C. Ritchie

Bonnet, Stede (d. 1718), pirate, may have been a soldier as he was given the title of major during his trial, where he was also treated as an educated gentleman by the officers of the court. The most that can at present be said about his family is that he is probably the ...

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Brodie, William [known as Deacon Brodie] (1746–1788), local politician and thief, was probably born at Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, the eldest of eleven children of Francis Brodie (d. c.1787), a prominent and prosperous local cabinet-maker or wright, whose family had been members of the ...

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Carrick, James [alias Valentine Carrick] (c. 1695–1722), highwayman, was born in Dublin, the third son of a jeweller (d. c.1714) who had 'left off Trade and liv'd upon his Estate' after 'having acquired a considerable Fortune' (Select Trials, 1.200...

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Carter, Henry [Harry] (1749–1829), smuggler and Methodist preacher, was born early in 1749 at Pengersick, Germoe parish, near Breage, Cornwall, the seventh of ten children of Francis Carter (bap. 1712, d. 1774), smallholder and miner, and Annice Williams (1714–1784). Henry (always known as ...

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Clavell, John (1601–1643), highwayman and writer, was born on 11 May 1601 and baptized in the parish church of Wootton Glanville, Dorset, ten days later. He was the youngest of the six children, and the only surviving son, of John Clavell (d...

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Costello, Dudley [Dualtache] (d. 1667), soldier and outlaw, was of unknown parentage and background, the surname being very common in east Mayo, where the Costellos, reputedly Gaelicized descendants of early English settlers, had given their name to a barony. Nothing is known of his early life but a deposition taken in 1652 names ...

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Coterel, James (fl. 1328–1351), gang leader, is assumed to have been a younger son of Ralph Coterel, a landowner in Cromford, Matlock, Tadington, and three other places in Derbyshire, who was dead by 1315. In his youth James was the leader of a gang that included his brothers ...

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Crab, John (c. 1280–c. 1352), pirate and merchant, was probably born in Muiden in Flanders. Active as a pirate from at least 1306, he was the most notorious of the Flemish privateers who preyed on English shipping during the Scottish War of Independence. His nephew ...

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William Dampier (1651–1715) by Thomas Murray, c. 1697–8 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dampier, William (1651–1715), buccaneer and explorer, was born in August and baptized on 5 September 1651 at East Coker, Somerset, the second of six children of tenant farmers George Dampier (1618?–1658) and his wife, Anne (d. 1665).

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Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), pirate, sea captain, and explorer, was born about February or March 1540 in Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devon, the eldest of five known children of Edmund Drake (d. 1566) of Tavistock. Edmund's wife is unknown, though she may have been named ...

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Sir Francis Drake (1540–1596) by Jodocus Hondius? © Copyright The British Museum

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Eustace the Monk (c. 1170–1217) drawing [far right] Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge