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Aldersey, Laurence (1546–1597/8), sea captain, was born at Aldersey Hall, Spurstow, Cheshire, the son of Thomas Aldersey (d. 1557), sheriff of Chester in 1539 and mayor in 1549, and his wife, Cecilia Garnet (fl. 1513–1594), also of Chester. As the sixth in a family of at least eight children, in the mid-1560s he looked to ...

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Angas, William Henry (1781–1832), mariner and missionary, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 6 October 1781, the son of Caleb Angas, a successful coach manufacturer, merchant, and shipowner. Angas was descended from a branch of the Scottish clan Angus, which had long since settled in ...

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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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Balleny, John (b. c. 1770, d. in or after 1842), merchant navy officer and Antarctic discoverer, was born c.1770 but nothing is known about his early life and education. He may have been a Londoner, brought up in the Newcastle coal trade. From 1798, when he was living in the parish of ...

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J. K. Laughton

Reviser 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 ...

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Barlow, Edward (1642–1706?), mariner, was born at Prestwich, Manchester, on 6 March 1642, one of the six children of George Barlow (c.1599–c.1686), husbandman, and his wife, Ann (d. 1692). Disliking his apprenticeship as a ‘whitester’ (that is, in the bleaching trade), he went to ...

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Barton, Robert [called Hob a Barton] (d. 1540), sea captain and administrator, known to the English as the pirate Hob a Barton, was one of three sons of John Barton, sea captain in Leith, the port of Edinburgh. Some time prior to 1476 his father's ship and goods were captured by Portuguese ships. ...

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Best, Thomas (1570–1639), sea captain and master of Trinity House, was baptized on 8 June 1570 at Merstham, Surrey, the youngest son of Robert Best, an interpreter for the Muscovy Company, and Anne, formerly Bowman. Later, in 1623, Best told Sir William Conway...

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A. G. E. Jones

Reviser Elizabeth Baigent

Biscoe, John (bap. 1794, d. 1843), merchant navy officer and explorer, was baptized in Enfield on 28 June 1794, the third son and youngest child of Thomas Biscoe of Waltham Abbey and his wife, Ann Tibbs. Nothing is known of his early years, but on leaving school he became a clerk. On 11 March 1812 he volunteered for the ...

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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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Borough, John (c. 1494–1570), seaman, son of Stephen Borough (c.1474–1548), was born at Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, the eldest of four brothers brought up there. Early seagoing experience off the treacherous north Devon and Cornish shores prepared him well for more challenging tasks with the vice-admiral ...

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Bullen, Frank Thomas (1857–1915), merchant seaman and writer, was born at 40 Alfred Road, Paddington, London, on 5 April 1857, the son of Frank Robert Bullen, journeyman stonemason of Crewkerne, Dorset, and his wife, Margaret, née Brown. When he was eighteen months old the family broke up, his upbringing passing to a maiden aunt. An elder sister disappeared, and he saw his mother only once again, though he re-established contact with his father later in life. Existence depended on his aunt's ability at home sewing, yet two foundations of his later development were laid down: an awareness of literature and familiarity with religion. A natural pre-school reader, he attended dame- and junior schools and a Sunday school chapel in ...

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Carder, Peter (fl. 1577–1625), mariner, is known only from his supposedly self-penned narrative, published by Samuel Purchas in Purchas his Pilgrimes in 1625. He was said to be from St Veryan, Cornwall, although the lack of relevant parish registers prevents a verification. According to his narrative, ...

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Chalkley, Thomas (1675–1741), Quaker minister and master mariner, was born on 3 May 1675 in Southwark, London, the son of George Chalkley (c.1642–1725), a Quaker tradesman, and his wife, Rebecca, née Harding (c.1643–1694). The main source for a biography of ...

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Sir Francis Charles Chichester (1901–1972) by Russell Westwood, 1967 © Estate of Russell Westwood; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chichester, Sir Francis Charles (1901–1972), navigator and sailor, was born on 17 September 1901 at Shirwell, Devon, the younger son (there were later two daughters) of Charles Chichester, vicar of Shirwell, seventh son of the eighth baronet, and his wife, Emily Annie, the daughter of ...

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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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Conrad, Joseph [formerly Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski] (1857–1924), master mariner and author, was born on 3 December 1857 at Berdyczów in Ukraine.

Conrad was the only child of ...