As you've probably guessed, I'm a bit obsesssed with Pirates and so tend to spot anything related to them in any other records we have. I was looking through our Customs and Excise Shipping Registers for Orkney from 1855-1904 and found a ship with the unusual name of Pirate!
Intriguing, I thought, I wonder who would buy a ship called Pirate. It isn't a name you would instantly trust. According to the register, it was built in Stromness in 1888 by Peter Johnston Copeland who also owned 16 shares of it which amounted to a quarter. Many people invested in ships as a way of making or saving money in the nineteenth century. Each ship was divided into 64 shares. The other three owners were Elisabeth Ross, James Spence and David Smith who all had 16 shares. Then in 1898 everyone except David Smith sold their share to William Cowper Ward which meant he had 48 shares. Then in 1900 both David Smith and William Cowper Ward sold their shares onto someone else and the ship left Orkney.
Where did it go? Who bought all 64 shares? You'll never guess...(well you might)....it was Francis Drake, master mariner from Braunton in Devon!!! And this Francis Drake was a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake of the Elisabethan age who himself was considered to be, in some places, particularly Spain, a PIRATE!
Ok that's my last blog on pirates...for a while anyway. I promise to write about other things from now on. Maybe eggs...
Reference: CE55/11/2 Orkney Customs and Excise: Shipping Register 1855-1904