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George Raynor (pirate)

George Raynor (1665–1743)[a] was a pirate active in the Red Sea. Before he was briefly a pirate captain, he was a sailor on the Batchelor’s Delight which circumnavigated the globe with William Dampier.



In 1683 near Guinea, privateer John Cook captured the Dutch merchantman Batchelor’s Delight, which itself had been the Portsmouth when captured by Dutch privateers from its English owners.[1] With Cook were William Dampier and Edward Davis, who would later captain the ship after Cook died in 1684,[2] as well as sailor George Raynor[b]. They sailed around South America raiding Spanish shipping and towns in concert with Charles Swan's Cygnet and others.[2]

After scarce success and meeting defeat near Panama, the buccaneer fleet broke up in August 1685.[2] Davis took the Batchelor’s Delight westward to the East Indies,[3] eventually returning to the West Indies in 1688 and Philadelphia by that May.[4]

Shortly afterwards the 14-gun, 80-man ship was sold to its former crew,[5] and Raynor had now become Captain of the Batchelor’s Delight, returning to the Indian Ocean to sail against the Moors.[6] He put in at Adam Baldridge’s pirate trading post near Madagascar in late 1691. After resupplying and repairing the ship, renamed Loyal Jamaica,[1][7] they shared out treasure from their voyage and sailed back to the Province of South Carolina.[6] Raynor ran the ship aground and gave its guns to Charles Town. Absolved of piracy by 1692, he and the crew settled locally.[8] Records show him recognized as a merchant, having been indemnified against accusations stemming from his pirate days;.[9] Raynor purchased a series of properties on Kiawah Island and got married in Charleston. His daughter married the son of former Carolina Governor James Moore, and together with some of Moore's other children, eventually moved to Cape Fear.[10]

Raynor’s name[c] appears again a few years later as an associate of Thomas Tew and Henry Every.[6] Raynor may have signed aboard for Thomas Tew’s second voyage alongside Every in 1694, which resulted in Tew's death. Eventually making his way back to New York City around 1700, possibly with William Mayes, Raynor was suspected of piracy and had to petition a friend to intercede with Governor Benjamin Fletcher to release his treasure chest.[11] After selling his Long Island property he settled in Connecticut.[11]

Some sources show the Batchelor's Delight in the hands of former crewman (and associate of Cook's) James Kelley after Raynor's departure; Kelley continued his piracy in the Indian Ocean before he was captured by Moorish pirates in 1692.[4] They burned his ship and killed many of the pirates, but Kelley and a few of his crew escaped their captors and made their way back to Madagascar. There they sailed with Robert Culliford for a time before returning to America alongside William Kidd; soon afterwards they were arrested, transported to London for trial, and executed.[4][5] However, there were known to be multiple ships of the same name (Bachelor's Delight / Batchelor's Delight) operating in the same time period[12]; some sources say that Raynor and crew abandoned Batchelor's Delight at Madagascar (where Kelley found it), so it is possible that the ship Loyal Jamaica in which Raynor returned to the Carolinas was a captured prize ship (perhaps renamed) and not Davis' original ship.[4]

See alsoEdit

  • Pirate Round, the route from America to the coast of Africa, to Madagascar, and into the Red Sea or Indian Ocean, attributed to Tew.


  1. ^ Last name also spelled Raynor, Reiner, or Rayner.
  2. ^ Captain George (and possibly "Josiah") Raynor should not be confused with the George Rayner who was a crewman aboard the Adventure (captured by Joseph Bradish in 1698), who died while attempting to return to civilization. He is also not identified as the pirate William Rayner, who sailed with John Quelch and was tried but pardoned in 1704.
  3. ^ References to Raynor after he left the Carolinas generally refer to Josiah Raynor, not George. At least one source (Jameson[6]) claims these are the same pirate, but identification is not certain.


  1. ^ a b Harrison, Simon. "British ketch 'Portsmouth' (1665)". Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Vallar, Cindy. "Pirates & Privateers: the History of Maritime Piracy - A Buccaneer More Interested in Nature than Gold". Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Frank, Caroline (2011). Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 31. ISBN 9780226260280. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d Millar, John F. "Buccaneers Davis, Wafer & Hingson, and the Ship Batchelors Delight" (PDF). William & Mary 50th Reunion. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Ship Rigged". Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Jameson, John Franklin (1923). Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period by J. Franklin Jameson. New York: Macmillan. pp. 165–171. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  7. ^ Marley, David (2010). Pirates of the Americas. Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 744–745. ISBN 9781598842012. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  8. ^ McCrady, Edward (1897). The History of South Carolina Under the Proprietary Government, 1670-1719. London: Macmillan. p. 261. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Abstracts from the Records of the Court of Ordinary of the Province of South Carolina, 1692-1700 (Continued)". The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. 9 (3): 118–121. July 1908. JSTOR 27575197. 
  10. ^ Trinkley, Michael; Adams, Natalie (1993). The History and archaeology of Kiawah island, Charleston County, South Carolina ((PDF Edition at ) ed.). Columbia SC: Chicora Foundation. pp. 50–53. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "Josiah Raynor". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Donnelly, Mark P.; Diehl, Daniel (2012). Pirates of Virginia: Plunder and High Adventure on the Old Dominion Coastline. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books. p. 35. ISBN 9780811745833. Retrieved 26 August 2017.