The Brockley Lecture: 'Pirates of the Severn Estuary'

St Nicholas' Church, Brockley, Somerset
9th September 2017

Nick Bristow gives this year's annual lecture at St Nicholas, Brockley on the 'Pirates of the Severn Estuary'

This year's Brockley lecture will be given by Nick Bristow and is titled "The Pirates of the Severn Estuary"

Here is what Nick has to say about the lecture:

"The mention of piracy brings to mind a picture of the 18th century pirate, a sort of romantic folk hero who sailed the Spanish Maine in search of treasure and adventure. Perhaps there is a kind of national complicity towards their exploits and crimes because we chose to believe they were directed against the establishment, or the Queen's enemies.

That sort of pirate is of course an inhabitant of distant shores and although he (or she) may have come from around here. I begin my talk by discussing the mayhem wrought on the local coast by seaborne thugs who came to attack and abduct the people of the Severn while robbing this region's shipping for centuries.

The Vikings named the Severn estuary The Great Fijord, their raids were frequently carried out from bases in Ireland followed by Milford Haven and even Lundy. Then a range of European raiders came after them setting out from the ports of neighbouring countries. Later still piracy began to come from further afield with the appearance off our coast of Barbary corsairs, together with the disappearance of people who lived and worked near the coast.

Of course this was not a one way traffic, the Sea Dogs of Elizabeth I wrought havoc elsewhere, while later a shortage of naval warships led to the release of what amounted to a privatised navy in the form of privateers, whose aims did not always coincide with national policy.

All of this was met by the usual mixture of administrative apathy and well intentioned failure which led to a story which is both surprising and largely unknown"

Tickets are £12 and include a glass of wine and a cold buffet.

If you would like to attend please send a cheque and a stamped addressed enevelope to

Blair Chadwick

The Churches Conservation Trust

St Thomas the Martyr

Thomas Lane



Please also include your name, address and telephone.

Lecture starts promptly at 7pm.

If you would like further information please contact Blair Chadwick on the details below.

Blair Chadwick

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