Meet the Brixham Buccaneers
No Eyes Ron
I was born, the youngest of 22 to a poor family in Dawlish, Devon in 1620. My full name is Donald Harrington Moustache and my father Ginger Moustache was a distant relative of the pirate Blackbeard.
A terrible disaster occurred when I was 12. A freak wave breached the sea wall and engulfed our house. I was attending a massive music event in Newton Poppleford at the time and returned home to find my entire family had drowned. this affected me greatly and began my love/ hate relationship with the ocean.
I ran away to sea and gave my name as No Ties Don but the skipper misheard me and ever since that day I have been known as No Eyes Ron.
I became a much feared pirate. Just a glimpse of my massive frame and long straggly ginger hair was enough to make hardened sailors commit suicide.
I sired a large family, so much so that nowadays there is a Moustache in practically every village in the land. Come to Brixham and - if you are brave enough - venture up Bolton Street to David's Health Food Shop. Here is where you will find one such specimen - a brute of a man with a fearsome scowl and a blood curdling chuckle. He will try to sell you all manner of things - do not resist as he has a frightening array of plastic guns and plastic cutlasses and will have no hesitation in using them to clinch a sale! You have been warned!
No eyes Ron was a blind mans son
He was borne beneath the sail
He was quick with the knife
And could shorten your life
By cutting your throat using brail.
Calypso, a belly-dancer
My name is Calypso and I come from a family of Sea Gypsies. My ancestors had a camp on a tiny island called "Saboa" where I was born. They liked to touch land sometimes!
I was captured by a "slaver" when I was a young girl, the ship was heading for the "Americas", but a pirate ship `scuppered` their plans! and I became a Sea Gypsy-pirate.
For me "vittals" I dance for the pirates (Sea Gypsies make their way over the world dancing. Over the blue. dancing and collecting gold). On the pirate ship I have to dance for me supper too! We all share the gold so I work hard for the pirates.
They are the best at what they do. I would have liked to have a few more coins for me belt, but Pirates are me family now.....
Its a pirates life for me
Plundering their way over the sea
With me bangles and zills
And piratey thrills
The sea's the best place to be !!!
Gut Out Lil
I was born in Essex in 1780 in a village called Wickford, and was one of seven children, six of whom were boys. Not being a boy I was a big disappointment to my father who used to beat me. So at the age of ten, in the year of 1790, I dressed up as a boy and ran away to sea on a sailing ship from Benfleet in Essex. Posing as a boy I served on various vessels as a cabin boy for several years, scrubbing decks, peeling potatoes, washing clothes and the like. When not on duty I spent a good deal of time up the main mast in the "crows nest" so as to get some privacy from the other crew members. As I grew up I became an experienced seaman but it was increasingly difficult to keep up my disguise as a man. I had to wrap up my bosom tightly in bandages which was very uncomfortable.
One night after serving at sea for many years, I was in my customary place, resting up the main mast in the "crows nest" when a mighty storm blew up. The ship was wrecked and I ended up as the sole survivor, in the sea tangled up in the remains of the mast and rigging, fighting to get my breath and save my life. Eventually I lost consciousness but came round some time later to find that I was still alive, clinging to what remained of the mast and rigging from the shipwreck. I managed to survive, without food, on water alone, which I was able to collect by draining rainwater from a rag of sail which fortunately remained attached to the rigging. It was a very small amount of water, barely enough to survive. I knew that on no account must I drink sea water as that would finish me off.
I think it must have been some seventeen days or more days that I floated there, still clinging to the wreckage, and I had almost given up hope of surviving when I was lucky enough to be picked up by a ship bound for Jamaica. At first I thought the ship was a normal merchantman, but I soon discovered that there was nothing normal about this boat. In fact she was a pirate vessel fresh out of Brixham, Bound for the warm waters of the West Indies and the Caribbean looking for plunder and booty in those rich trade routes.
On board the pirate vessel I met and was befriended by a seaman named Pete Maloney, the ships cook. He took me under his protection. When he discovered I was not a man he kept my secret as seamen though it was bad luck to have a female on board ship. After spending a year or so in the Caribbean, the ship and crew set sail back to Brixham in Devon, England, heavily loaded with gold, precious stones and other plunder. Fortunately the crew still accepted me as a man, otherwise they would probably have made me "walk the plank" to drown.
Back in Brixham the crew shared out the plunder. Some were sensible and went back to their homes, relatively rich men, but others spent their money drinking grog and wenching in the local grog shops. Whilst this was going on Pete and I crept away with our share of the takings and were quietly married in the nearby parish church. Pete vowed to give up piracy and with his money purchased a share in a Brixham sailing trawler. On fishing trips I often went out with him and helped to clean and gut the fish ready for the market. That is how I got the name "GUT- OUT LIL". I had adopted the name Lillian in place of my former cabin boy name Will.
Sadly, after many happy years together Pete went to sea without me and his boat never came back. Not a day goes by when I don`t look through my telescope out to sea, hoping to catch sight of Pete`s sails coming home again, but there has been no sign of him for a long time. I can but believe that he is in the seaman`s heaven known to sailors of old as "Fiddler`s Green".
Because of my own unhappy childhood I have a soft heart for children. If I see a child in need I will often give them a doubloon (piece of gold)
It`s a hell of a life being a pirates wife
And so says Gut-out Lil,
It`s a bit of a blast
Life under the mast
And she loves being in for the kill.
Cap'n Jolly Roger
More about this Buccaneer later!
The Pirate Queen
As a babe, I was saved from a wreck off Berry Head and brought up by a farmer and his wife. They always said that although I loved cowtown and the farm, the sea was my joy. When I was 14, I dressed as a boy and went down to fishtown and got hired on a ship, a fine merchant man - and that was my first trip.
After many adventures - by pirates we were siezed. I was sold at market and became most prized as I revealed that I was a girl. The Sheik I was bought to and lived in his harem, as one of his wives. Life wasn't too fraught! They taught me to Belly Dance - we didn't really have much else to do all day.
It got so boring that I persuaded them to run away. we escaped one dark night and captured a boat. We sailed the high seas, the only girl pirates afloat. After much excitement, we came home to the bay. We all married fisherman, but this I will say - If you come to Brixham on a Thursday in Summer, there you might catch me, the Pirate Queen, telling a rhyme on the Quay - or even Belly Dancing in the afternoon. What fun! Come and join in and you can enjoy the sea and the sun.
Our infamous pirate queen Kate
Was anxious to ensnare a mate
She used her best smile,
And womanly guile
To drastically influence fate.