What happened to the Arch-pirate?

“Every sells his jewels” as imagined by Howard Pyle (Public Domain)

On 7 November 1712 a play titled The Successful Pyrate opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and ran for five evenings.

The play recounts the exploits of Arviragus (Henry Every) and in particular narrates the capture of the Mogul Aurengzeb’s ship Gang-i-sawai, said to be carrying the Mogul’s granddaughter, and of a plot against the pirate king by his lieutenant and other pirates.

The real Every would have been 53 in 1712 and we like to believe he would have enjoyed attending a live performance of a play inspired by his adventures.

He had vanished from records in the summer of 1696, after he was alleged to have returned to England where several of his crew members were eventually apprehended.

Despite an unprecedented manhunt and a record award offered for his arrest (£500), Every avoided capture.

In the years that followed, legends and books described Every settling down in St Mary’s Island, becoming a pirate king in Madagascar or returning to his native Devon.

A report by the Royal African Company discovered by E.T. Fox and included in the King of Pirates, put Every in 1699 at the head of a ship of 24 guns and 100 men at the Isle of May, an area Every knew well from his days as a slave ship captain.

This blog will look into these and other theories. We will scrutinize and dismiss some of the most commonly reported ones and instead explore new theories on what actually was of the Arch-pirate after 1696.