Pirates Quiz

How much do you know about the pirates and privateers of some of our coastal sites? Have a go at this quiz to find out.

  • 4. Which Spanish ship did Sir John Killigrew seize in 1582?

    Answer: The Lady of St Sebastian

    Most famous among Sir John Killigrew's 'achievements' was the seizing of a Spanish ship The Lady of St Sebastian, which was moored near Arwenack in Cornwall in 1582. His men overpowered the crew, seized the cargo of Holland cloth and sailed the ship to Ireland. As commissioner, he concocted a false report, but an official investigation that disclosed that Lady Killigrew had presented several lengths of the stolen cloth to her servants gave the game away.

  • 5. Why did Peter and Thomas Killigrew flee the Manor of Arwenack in 1553?

    Answer: Because they were Protestants

    When Mary Tudor became queen in 1553, Peter and Thomas Killigrew fled, fearing persecution for being Protestants who had preyed on Spanish ships. For three years they operated from Le Havre in Normandy with Henry Strangways and the approval of the king of France.

  • 7. John Hawley was only imprisoned once for his piracy. Where was he held?

    Answer: The Tower of London

    Hawley wreaked havoc on the king’s enemies as a privateer, making himself wealthy in the process. He was called to the law several times for taking ‘neutral’ vessels, but imprisoned only once for a short time, in the Tower of London. He was simply too useful to the Crown and after release, he resumed his activities, undaunted.

  • 9. How did Henry Strangways escape death in 1559?

    Answer: He was pardoned by Elizabeth I

    Captured in July 1559, Strangways was tried in London and sentenced to death. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton interceded with Queen Elizabeth I and Strangways was pardoned. 

  • 10. Where did Henry Strangways finally die in 1562?

    Answer: Rouen, France

    In 1562, he was employed as a captain of English soldiers in France. With two vessels he fought his way up the River Seine, through a fortified barricade, to relieve the city of Rouen. Strangways was mortally wounded and died in Rouen, something of a hero.

John Hawley as depicted on his tomb. © Historic England

Pirates of England

Want to know more about our piratical past? English Heritage's Senior Historian Paul Pattison reveals the unexpected faces of England's notorious pirates. It turns out, the truth is far grittier than the fiction.

Find out more