All Aboard for Chickenstock!

Yes, it’s true! At 6.50 on Friday evening, Captain Morgan’s Rum Do will be taking to a stage and delivering some of our choicest ditties to the discerning public.

You cannot imagine what a relief it is, after all these months of sitting becalmed on a not-very-Caribbean island, to be setting sail with the rogues we all know and (in some cases) love!

Pirate of the Week:
Henry Avery

Henry Every, also known as Henry Avery (20 August 1659 – after 1696), sometimes erroneously given as Jack Avery or John Avery, was an English pirate who operated in the Atlantic and Indian oceans in the mid-1690s. He probably used several aliases throughout his career, including Benjamin Bridgeman, and was known as Long Ben to his crewmen and associates.

Dubbed “The Arch Pirate” and “The King of Pirates” by contemporaries, Every was infamous for being one of few major pirate captains to escape with his loot without being arrested or killed in battle, and for being the perpetrator of what has been called the most profitable act of piracy in history. Although Every’s career as a pirate lasted only two years, his exploits captured the public’s imagination, inspired others to take up piracy, and spawned works of literature.

Every began his pirate career while he was first mate aboard the warship Charles II. As the ship lay anchored in the northern Spanish harbour of Corunna, the crew grew discontented as Spain failed to deliver a letter of marque and Charles II’s owners failed to pay their wages, and they mutinied. Charles II was renamed the Fancy and Every elected as the new captain.

Every’s most famous raid was on a 25-ship convoy of Grand Mughal vessels making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, including the treasure-laden Ghanjah dhow Ganj-i-sawai and its escort, Fateh Muhammed. Joining forces with several pirate vessels, Every found himself in command of a small pirate squadron, and they were able to capture up to £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to around £91.9 million in 2021, making him the richest pirate in the world. This caused considerable damage to England’s fragile relations with the Mughals, and a combined bounty of £1,000 – an immense sum at the time – was offered by the Privy Council and the East India Company for his capture, leading to the first worldwide manhunt in recorded history.

Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or on an unidentified tropical island, while alternative accounts consider Every may have squandered his riches. He is considered to have died anywhere between 1699 and 1714; his treasure has never been recovered.

If you are a Doctor Who fan (and who isn’t?) you will remember Henry from the episode “The Curse of the Black Spot”

A New YouTube channel for us!

We have, at last, set up a dedicated YouTube channel to showcase the Captain’s wonderful songs. In addition, we will be posting a new video every week, showcasing our Pirate of the Week. Please go and have a look!

This week, we are starting with a little ‘un – John King:

John King (c. 1706/9 – April 26, 1717) was an 18th-century pirate. He joined the crew of Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy while still a juvenile, and is the youngest known pirate on record.

On November 9, 1716, Bellamy and his crew, sailing the sloop Mary Anne (or Marianne), attacked and captured the Antiguan sloop Bonetta, which was then en route from Antigua to Jamaica. John King, then aged between eight and eleven, was a passenger on the Bonetta. According to Abijah Savage, the Bonetta’s commander, the pirates looted the ship for 15 days, during which time King demanded to join Bellamy’s crew. “(F)ar from being forced or compelled (to join),” Savage wrote in his report, “he declared he would kill himself if he was restrained, and even threatened his mother, who was then on board as a passenger and his father who did not like him.” While teenage pirates were common in the 18th century, and though the Royal Navy employed young boys as “powder monkeys” to carry gunpowder from ship’s magazine to their cannons, boys of King’s age were unknown as pirates. However, after an initial show of defiance, Bellamy allowed King to join him. In the subsequent months, Bellamy and his crew would capture and loot many ships, including the Whydah in February 1717, a heavily armed slave galley which Bellamy claimed for his flagship. On April 26, 1717, the Whydah was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Cape Cod, killing Bellamy and most of his crew, including King.

King’s remains were tentatively identified in 2006, when Barry Clifford, principal of Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center in Provincetown Massachusetts, and Project Historian Ken Kinkor had partial human remains recovered from the wreck analyzed by researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and Center for Historical Archaeology in Florida. The remains, consisting of an 11-inch fibula encased in a shoe and silk stocking, were determined not to belong to a small man, as originally thought, but to a young boy of King’s approximate age.

We Did It!

On Talk Like A Pirate Day 2020, at one minute to three, as a confident finger moved to jab the “Go Live” button on Facebook – it disappeared! Calamity! Were we sunk before we began? No, we weren’t, we managed to go live only five minutes late, but our carefully planned schedule went straight out of the porthole and we had to improvise. Everything we had planned appeared, if not on the live event feed, then on the event page. Thanks to Carys, who kept her head while the crew were losing theirs!

For those of you who missed the live show and for those of you who are gluttons for punishment, The Silent One has compiled a YouTube edition which brings everything together in one place (or, more accurately, two places) Please enjoy …

Part 1
Part 2

Talk Like A Pirate Day 2020 – The Pestilence Special

Well, our Autumn Gathering at the Olde Smack has fallen victim to the plague – it’s not a big place, and, as you probably know, the nearest it can come to “social distancing” is “not taking the next pirate’s drink out with your elbow (unless you mean it)” – so we have decided to embrace all the technology available to us and go virtual.

This year’s gathering will be live-streamed on Facebook on 19th September from 1500-1745 hrs, with a mix of pre-recorded and live sets from the Silver Darlings, ourselves, Carys (and Max the Pirate Cat) and, headlining, The Captain’s Beard. Please join us for a chat online – and bring your own rum!

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/307205290562083/?


Gigs Postponed …

We are both sorry and delighted to tell you that two of our summer gigs have been postponed. Sorry, because we were looking forward to playing out this summer, and delighted, because those same gigs will be happening in summer 2021:

Folk at the Boat, Ipswich: postponed to June 2021 – date to be confirmed

Chickenstock, Stockbury, Kent: 23rd July 2021 – and, if you buy your festival tickets before 23rd July this year, you will be paying 2020 prices! Go to the festival website for full details: https://www.chickenstockfestival.co.uk/

So far, our own Autumn Gathering is set to go ahead at the Olde Smack, Leigh on Sea on 19th September – we’ll keep you posted.

Ahoy there! We be setting sail! 2020 Gigs

After a quiet end to 2019, during which one of our crew had to have her head sewn back on after a skirmish – you should have seen the others! – we are sailing again in 2020. These are confirmed so far:

Sunday June 7th: Folk At The Boat, New Cut, Ipswich. Plunderin’ time to be advised.

Friday July 24th: we are delighted to be given boarding rights to CHICKENSTOCK Festival. We’ll be playing on the Friday evening. See the festival website for more details!

Saturday September 19th: AUTUMN GATHERING at Ye Olde Smack, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. This is fast becoming a fixture! Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day in true pirate style! We can warmly recommend the hospitality on offer at Ye Olde Smack.

Keep yer eyes peeled…..there may well be others…….

Ahoy there! Forthcoming pillaging dates! 19th and 21st August 2018!

The Captain and Crew are pleased to announce that we will be sailing this year on board the good ship FolkEast 2018.  Follow this link to find out more about this smashing festival: https://folkeast.co.uk/

Look for us on the Soapbox Stage, in the woods, at dead of night on Sunday 19th August.  10 pm start!

Also:

Tuesday 21st August:  The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, The Royal British Legion

7/9 Northview Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9NG.  Pillaging starts at around 7.30 pm.

Arrr! Now for Brixham!

Brixham Pirate Festival 2018 will soon be upon us!  After a weekend on the grog we will be playing on the Main Stage at 11 am on Monday 7th May.  We will be commencing our weekend of pirate fun and debauchery at The Old Coaching Inn, 61 Fore Street, on the evening of Friday 4th May.  Come and see us for real songs about real pirates! From 8.30 pm onwards.