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  • Writer's pictureMark Kelly

The Pirates of Cornwall

Cornwall, a county located in the southwestern tip of England, has a long and storied history of pirates and smugglers.

One famous pirate from Cornwall was John Callis, also known as "Blackbeard the Pirate."

He was born in the town of Fowey in 1650 and later became one of the most notorious pirates of his time.

Callis was known for his intimidating appearance, with a thick black beard and a penchant for dressing in all black.

He terrorized the seas for years, plundering ships and amassing a large fortune.

Paddling Fowey

But Cornwall was also home to many smugglers, who were often viewed as heroes by the local people.

Smuggling was a common practice in Cornwall due to the high taxes on imported goods.

Cornish smugglers would bring in items such as tea, tobacco, and brandy from France and sell them at lower prices than the taxed versions.

One legendary Cornish smuggler was Zephaniah Job, also known as "The King of Prussia."

He was a large man with a formidable reputation, and was said to be able to outrun the revenue men (tax collectors) on the cliffs of Cornwall.

Job was eventually caught and sentenced to death, but legend has it that he was able to escape from prison and flee to Prussia, giving him his nickname.

Pub cornwall
The King of Prussia pub in Fowey is a favourite

Another famous Cornish smuggler was Jack Rattenbury, who operated in the town of Polperro.

Rattenbury was known for his clever tricks, such as disguising his smuggling boats as fishing vessels and using secret tunnels to bring the contraband ashore.

While pirates and smugglers may seem like figures from the distant past, their legacy lives on in Cornwall today.

Many tourists visit the county to learn about its rich maritime history, and tales of Blackbeard and other pirates and smugglers are still told by locals and passed down through the generations.

Pirate cove
Readymoney Cove

If you would like to immerse yourself in the rich history of Cornwall and really bring it to life, there is no better way than getting on a paddlecraft and exploring with one of our expert guides.

Local knowledge will make sure you paddle in the safest areas for the chosen day and even if you haven't paddled before, our experienced guides will make sure you master the basics before heading out to explore the wonderful coves and creeks of this area of outstanding natural beauty.

Get in touch to start planning your trip today.

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