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Gourdon [Gorden], William (fl. 1603–1616), mariner and travel writer, was born at Hull; nothing is known of his parents and he subsequently found employment on the merchant vessels of the Russia Company trading to northern Russia. He is probably the W. Gorden, factor and overseer, who recorded his experiences between April and September 1603 as ...

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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 ...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Andrew Lambert

Inman, James (1776–1859), mathematician and writer on navigation, was the younger son of Richard Inman of Garsdale Foot, Sedbergh, Yorkshire. He attended Sedbergh grammar school, and subsequently became a pupil of John Dawson. Although entered at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1794, he did not go into residence until 1796. He graduated BA in 1800 as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman, and was elected to a fellowship....

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Lok, Michael (c. 1532–1620x22), mercer, merchant adventurer, and traveller, was born in Cheapside, London, the youngest of five surviving sons of Sir William Lok (1480–1550) and his second wife, Catherine, née Cooke (d. 1537), and the brother of Rose Throckmorton. By his own account ...

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John William Norie (1772–1843) by Adam Buck (after Solomon? Williams, c. 1803) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Norie, John William (1772–1843), hydrographer and writer on navigation, was born at 39 Burr Street, Wapping, London, on 3 July 1772, the eldest of the eight children of James Norie (1737–1793), a Scot who had trained for the Presbyterian church and kept a school in ...

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Phelps, Thomas (d. 1695), mariner and travel writer, was the son of Thomas Phelps of Bristol. Nothing is known of his life prior to the events narrated in his book, A true account of the captivity of Thomas Phelps at Machaness in Barbary, and of his strange escape in the company of Edmund Baxter and others...

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Raper, Henry (1799–1859), naval officer and writer on navigation, was the eldest son of Admiral Henry Raper (1767–1845) and his wife, formerly a Miss Craig. After attending Charterhouse School he entered the navy in November 1811 on board the Mars, his father's ship. He joined the ...

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Sherley [Shirley], Sir Thomas (1564–1633/4), privateer and travel writer, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Sherley (c. 1542–1612) of Wiston, Sussex, and his wife, Anne Kempe (c.1542–1623), daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe of Olantigh, Kent. Sir Anthony Sherley and Robert Shirley, ...

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Somers, Sir George (1554–1610), privateer and colonial adventurer, was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, the son of John Somer (as the name was then spelt) and his wife, Alice (d. 1591). He first comes to notice in 1587 when he used prize money to buy ...

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Whetstone, Sir Thomas (1630/31–1668?), naval officer and adventurer, was the eldest son of Roger Whetstone (d. before 1656), a professional soldier, and Catherine Cromwell (bap. 1597), favourite sister of the protector. Whetstone was born abroad, probably in the Netherlands where his father served, and naturalized by act of ...