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Bedloe, William (1650–1680), informer and adventurer, was the second son of Isaac Bedloe (d. 1656). William Bedloe was born in Chepstow on 20 May 1650 and spent his early life both there and in Bristol. Much of his early life was deliberately clouded in obscurity. His own published account of his parentage and ancestry remains dubious. He claimed that his father had been a gentleman soldier who had served the king in the civil wars and whose own father was ...

Article

Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit...

Article

Dampier, William (1651–1715), buccaneer and explorer, was born in August and baptized on 5 September 1651 at East Coker, Somerset, the second of six children of tenant farmers George Dampier (1618?–1658) and his wife, Anne (d. 1665).

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Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), pirate, sea captain, and explorer, was born about February or March 1540 in Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devon, the eldest of five known children of Edmund Drake (d. 1566) of Tavistock. Edmund's wife is unknown, though she may have been named ...

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Eustace the Monk (c. 1170–1217), Benedictine monk, sea captain, and pirate, was the son of Baudoin Busket, a lord of the county of Boulogne. According to his biography, Eustace studied black magic in Toledo, returned home to become a monk at the abbey of ...

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Hawley, John, the elder (c. 1350–1408), pirate, merchant, and administrator, of Dartmouth, Devon, was the younger son of the first John Hawley who settled in Dartmouth some time before 1340. Hawley was elected mayor for the first time in 1374—the beginning of a career which would make him the richest and most important man in ...

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P. J. Anderson

revised by A. W. Parker

Williamson, Peter (1730–1799), publisher and adventurer, son of James Williamson, crofter, was born at Hirnley in the parish of Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. At the age of ten, while living with an aunt in Aberdeen, he was kidnapped by a merchant and transported to the American plantations, where he was sold for a period of seven years to a fellow countryman in ...