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Baker, Robert (fl. c. 1563), mariner and poet, is known only through his one published writing. Possibly a relative of the Bakers of Sissinghurst who had connections with the London overseas trading community, Robert Baker composed a poem about two English voyages to ...

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Barry, Lording (bap. 1580, d. 1629)

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Barry, Lording (bap. 1580, d. 1629), playwright and pirate, was baptized on 17 April 1580 in St Laurence Pountney, St Laurence Pountney Lane, London, the fifth of eleven children of Nicholas Barry (d. 1607), citizen and fishmonger, and his second wife, Anne (...

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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 ...

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Gwyn, David (fl. 1588–1602?), poet and pirate, was doubtless of Welsh extraction, though his origins remain obscure. According to his one work published in 1588, Gwyn was a Spanish prisoner and a galley slave for nearly twelve years; he appears in Richard Topcliffe's...

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Midleton [Myddelton], Wiliam (c. 1550–1596?), poet and sailor, was the fourth son of Ffowc Midleton (d. 1571), a gentleman of Archwedlog, Llansannan, Denbighshire, and Alis (d. 1590/91), daughter of Maredudd ap Gronw. Sources that make him the son of Richard Myddelton...

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Morrice, Bezaleel (1678–1749), writer and sea captain, was baptized 'aged 3 days' (private information) on 8 May 1678 at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, the third son of William Morrice (d. 1680), sea captain, and his wife, Jane, née...

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Sarah Jane Rees [Cranogwen] (1839–1916) by John Thomas by courtesy of the National Library of Wales

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Rees, Sarah Jane [pseud. Cranogwen] (1839–1916), sailor, schoolmistress, and poet, was born on 9 January 1839 at Dolgoy Fach, a cottage some 2½ miles from the coastal village of Llangrannog on Cardigan Bay, from which she took her bardic name, Cranogwen. She was the youngest of three children of ...

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Selkirk, Alexander (1676–1721), mariner, castaway, and probable source of inspiration for the character Robinson Crusoe, was born in Lower Largo, Fife, the seventh son of John Selcraig, shoemaker, and Euphan Mackie. He received schooling in Largo. His wilful nature manifested itself at an early age in his determination to go to sea against his father's wishes. In August 1695 a summons by the kirk session for ‘indecent carriage’ in church precipitated his departure. He had left for sea by 27 August, before he could be dealt with, and he did not reappear in ...