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Article

J. K. Laughton

revised by Peter Le Fevre

Barker, John (c. 1600–1653), naval officer and shipmaster, was possibly related to the John Barker of Ratcliffe, Middlesex, shipmaster and captain of the Golden Cock who in 1629, aged forty-five, appeared before the admiralty court in connection with illegally seizing, and selling, a ship belonging to the ...

Article

Clerke, Richard (fl. 1572–1596), navigator and privateer, claimed to have been born at Buckhurst, Essex, but is generally referred to as 'of Weymouth'. He presumably learned his trade in the ships of the latter port, being master of the Pilgrim between ...

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George Clifford, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605) by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1590 © National Maritime Museum, London

Article

Clifford, George, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605), courtier and privateer, was born on 8 August 1558 in Brougham Castle, Westmorland, the eldest son of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland (1517–1570), and his second wife, Anne (c.1538–1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre...

Article

Coxere, Edward (bap. 1633, d. 1694), sailor, was baptized on 16 June 1633 at St Mary's Church, Dover, the seventh (but second surviving) child of John Coxere (d. 1633), sailor, and his wife, Wealthan, née Peace. His mother, widowed when he was only five months old, quickly married a local cordwainer, ...

Article

Crow, Hugh (1765–1829), privateer and slave trader, was born in Ramsey, Isle of Man, the son of Edmund Crow (1730–1809), a tradesman, and his wife, Judith (1737–1807). He lost his right eye in infancy, but despite this was apprenticed to a boat builder in ...

Article

Francis Watt

revised by Christopher Doorne

Davidson, William (c. 1756–1797), privateer, was born in Scotland; further details of his family and upbringing are unknown. In 1791 he was serving as an able seaman on the Niger, then commanded by Sir Richard Keats. Davidson was noted as a comparatively well-educated man of gloomy and silent disposition, but liable to sudden outbursts of temper. While the ship was at ...

Article

Dover, Thomas (bap. 1662, d. 1742), physician and privateer, was baptized on 6 May 1662 at Barton on the Heath, Warwickshire, the third son of John Dover (bap. 1614, d. 1696), gentleman, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Vade. Thomas was grandson of ...

Article

Elfrith, Daniel (fl. 1607–1640), privateer and colonist in the West Indies, was active in the Caribbean from 1607. Nothing is known of his earlier life. He was memorialized by Alexander Brown in his Genesis of the United States (1890) as 'the man who carried the first rats to the ...

Article

J. M. Rigg

revised by Philip Carter

Elsdale, Robinson (bap. 1744, d. 1783), author and privateer, the son of Samuel and Mary Elsdale, was baptized on 25 December 1744 at Surfleet, Lincolnshire, where his family had long maintained an estate. He entered the navy as a midshipman, but left soon afterwards on account of the slowness of promotion. From 1762 he served in various privateers cruising against the French, chiefly off the coast of ...

Article

Fenner, George (c. 1540–1618), merchant and privateer, is of unknown parentage. However, the name Fenner was common in west Sussex, and the family into which he was born has been described variously as a mercantile clan in Chichester itself, or as a minor but armigerous gentry family based at ...

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Sir Martin Frobisher (1535?–1594) by Cornelius Ketel, 1577 © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Article

Frobisher, Sir Martin (1535?–1594), privateer, explorer, and naval commander, was descended from John Frobisher (b. c.1260), a Scot settled in lands near Chirk in Denbighshire granted in recognition of his services to Edward I during the Welsh wars. In the mid-fourteenth century the family crossed the ...

Article

Glemham, Edward (d. in or after 1594), privateer, was from Benhall in Suffolk. Although he was described as 'esquire', nothing is known of his parents or his early life, but in the summer of 1590 he was of sufficient means to fit out the ...

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Thomas Goodall (1767–?1832) by Ridley & Blood, pubd 1808 (after Samuel Drummond) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

J. K. Laughton

revised by Roger Morriss

Goodall, Thomas (1767–1832?), naval officer and privateer, was born at Bristol, educated by a Revd Mr Thomas, and was intended by his father to be a lawyer; but at thirteen he ran away from school, and shipped on board a privateer bound for the ...

Article

Green, Thomas (1679/80–1705), seaman and pirate, of unknown parentage, was brother to John Green, a London attorney. In 1701, when his age was said to be twenty-one, Captain Green, commanding the frigate-built Worcester, chartered by Thomas Bowrey, weighed anchor for India to obtain a cargo of cowries, pepper, turmeric, and saltpetre. This was a ...

Article

Halsey, John (1663?–1709?), privateer turned pirate, came from Boston, Massachusetts. Nothing is known about his parents or his early life. As commander of the brigantine Charles he received a commission from Governor Samuel Cranston of Rhode Island on 7 November 1704 to cruise against the French on the ...

Article

Holditch, Abraham (bap. 1639, d. 1678), naval officer and merchant adventurer, was baptized on 12 May 1639 at Totnes, Devon. He was probably the son of William Holditch (d. 1646?) and his wife, Agnes (bap. 1617), formerly Jakes. He married at ...

Article

Kidd, William (c. 1645–1701), pirate and privateer, was a Scot, by tradition born in Greenock, Renfrewshire, into the family of a Church of Scotland minister; however, the names of his parents are not known and his date of birth is derived from his age, about fifty-six, when he died. He does not appear in the historical record until 1689 when he was a member of a pirate crew brought into service by ...