Rumours abound that the notorious pirate “Blackbeard” – real name Edward Thatch, (there are several different spellings of this name including Thache and Teach) – had family connections to Stonehouse. Records are hard to find but it seems that his grandfather, Thomas Thatch, was the vicar of St Cyr’s Church in Stonehouse from 1654 to 1661. While in Stonehouse, Rev. Thomas Thatch had four children: Mary, Thomas, Edward, born 14th June, 1659 (alleged to be Blackbeard’s father), and Philip.
Edward seems to have moved to Bristol where he had a son, also called Edward, born around 1680. The family then moved to Jamaica. It was Edward junior who became a notorious pirate. He is said to have served in the Navy in the West Indies during the war of the Spanish Succession but, after the war ended, he became a pirate and, from 1716 to 1718, ran a campaign of terror along the coast of North Carolina. He was killed by the Royal Navy in November 1718.
In fact Blackbeard had very little connection to Stonehouse and was certainly not born there. His grandfather Thomas died in 1668, well before Edward junior was born. Blackbeard had probably never heard of Stonehouse – but who knows!
In 2014, Stonehouse History Group assisted Baylus Brooks from North Carolina to discover records about the Rev Thomas Thatch, allegedly Blackbeard’s grandfather. He included these in his book which is available to purchase online.
Brooks, Baylus, Blackbeard Reconsidered: Mist’s Piracy, Thache’s Genealogy, The University of North Carolina Press, 30th Jan 2015.