REVIEWS AND COMMENTS ON 'THE BOOK OF WELSH PIRATES & BUCCANEERS'
The Western Mail Monday, 24 March 2003 by Beverley Jones.
'Long ago just the whisper of his name was enough to strike terror into the hearts
of all who sailed the high seas. Dressed in his crimson jacket and hat, bloodthirsty Black
Bart was a terrifying figure who ruled the oceans from the West Indies to the coast of
So why is it that no one has heard of the Pembrokeshire pirate who took 400 ships and had
half the British navy determined to hunt him down and hang him?
Historian and author Terry Breverton is about to put the record straight with his latest
book, which chronicles the Welsh pirate's lost history.
"Blackbeard, who is much more well known, was nothing but a rank amateur compared to
Black Bart" said Mr Breverton, a lecturer at the University of Wales Institute of
"He was the most successful pirate in history. He would attack anything - he
basically declared war against the world."
Remarkably, Bart, whose real name was John Robert, did not turn to piracy until he was 42
years old. He was captured at sea by Hywel Davis, the famous pirate from Milford Haven.
"Davis was the most cunning of the lot", said Mr Breverton. "He was more
like a highwayman who'd pretend to be a merchant and then pull a pistol."
"But three weeks after Bart was captured Davis was killed and his notoriously
fearsome crew, know as The House of the Lords, voted Bart as their new captain. From then
on he practically paralysed the Atlantic shipping routes for two years."
He stole so much booty from the sale of slaves that the British government sent the navy
to hunt him down. He was eventually blown apart in a cannon fight in 1721 and his nemesis
Captain Chaloner Ogle was made an admiral and knighted for his services to the
Mr Breverton hopes his book will give the remarkable tale a new audience and remind Wales
of its prominent place in maritime history. "It is a shame that Black Bart and the
other pirates have fallen out of memory", he said. "Nobody seems to be marketing
Wales and its heritage - nobody knows about these things in our history."
"But there is so much documented evidence out there. The people most interested are
the two million Welsh Americans who love to learn about their forefathers - they called
Bart 'the last and most lethal pirate of all'."
The book also details the exploits of the infamous buccaneer Admiral Henry Morgan.
He was given a special "marque" (permission) from King Charles II to plunder
foreign ships and ended his colourful career as the fabulously wealthy governor of
"He was captured and even tried at the Tower of London but he was let off because
basically his attacks on the Spanish helped Britain hang onto its last colony ",
explained Mr Breverton.
The book also contains information on subjects such as why pirates never buried their
treasure and how so many of their sayings are in common use today.'
an immense work of great scholarship
effectively, a study of the whole
genre of piracy
exemplary, yet the writing is light and accessible
fascinating detail and essential reading