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.
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
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
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”
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,
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.
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 …
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!
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.
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…….
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!
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.
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.