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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 Weymouth...

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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...

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

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John Crawford (1775–1831) by D. Orme, pubd 1797 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Crawford, John [Jack] (1775–1831), sailor and naval hero, was born on 22 March 1775 at a house on Thornhill Bank in the east end of Sunderland, co. Durham, the son of a keelman. At an early age Crawford also worked on the keelboats that carried coal on the ...

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Crowdy, Edith Frances (1880–1947), travel agent and member of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 25 August 1880 at 79 Victoria Road, Wandsworth, London, one of the four daughters of James Crowdy, solicitor, and his wife, Mary Isabel Anne Fuidge. Educated at home, in 1912 she joined her younger sister ...

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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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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 ...

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

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Gilbert, Joseph (1732?–1820/21), seaman and hydrographer, was baptized on 1 June 1732 in Kirton in Holland, near Boston, Lincolnshire, the eighth and youngest child of John Gilbert (bap. 1697, d. 1782), farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth (bap. 1695, d. 1759)...

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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 ...

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

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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 ...

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Sir Henry Morgan (c. 1635–1688) by unknown engraver, pubd 1684 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Morgan, Sir Henry (c. 1635–1688), privateer and colonial governor, was the eldest son of Robert Morgan of Llanrhymny, Glamorgan.

Nothing certain is known about Morgan's education, although he later claimed that it was limited, and that having left school young, he was 'much more used to the pike than the book' (...

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Newport, Christopher (bap. 1561, d. 1617), privateer and colonist, was baptized at Harwich, Essex, on 29 December 1561, the son of Christopher Newport, himself a Harwich shipmaster, and his wife, Jane. Young Christopher was serving on the Minion of London in 1580 when he jumped ship at ...

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Parker, Richard (1767–1797), seaman and mutineer, was born on 16 April 1767 at St Peter's churchyard, Exeter, Devon, and baptized on 24 April at St Mary Major, Exeter, the third child of Richard Parker, a successful Exeter baker and corn factor, and Sarah...

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Parker, William (d. 1618), privateer and merchant, appears to have been born into the minor ranks of the Elizabethan gentry, although his parentage has yet to be traced. His brother John was a man of property in Southampton. On 18 June 1590 William Parker...

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Rogers, Woodes (c. 1679–1732), privateer and colonial governor, was born in Bristol, the son of Woodes Rogers (bap. 1650, d. 1706), probably a sea captain, and his wife, Frances (probably née Eyre). His great-grandfather, John Rogers of Poole, had married Ann Woods...

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Woodes Rogers (c. 1679–1732) by William Hogarth, 1729 [with members of his family] © National Maritime Museum, London