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 North Africa.
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 Cardiff.
"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 Crown."
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 Jamaica.
"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.'

Phil Carradice

‘an immense work of great scholarship… effectively, a study of the whole genre of piracy… exemplary, yet the writing is light and accessible… wonderful, fascinating detail and essential reading…’


Glyndŵr Publishing (Wales Books)