Monday, January 29, 2018

Lt. Robert Maynard

I am sure that most of our readers are aware that Edward Teach (the pirate Blackbeard to most) was killed in a naval battle here at Ocracoke. The event took place almost 300 years ago (in November, 1718), and has been told many times.

Few of our readers will know much about Lt. Robert Maynard, born in Kent, England, circa 1684, and the lieutenant in the Royal Navy who engaged Blackbeard in battle. He was an officer of His Majesty's man-of-war Pearl stationed in Hampton, Virginia. In November, 1718, Maynard was sent to North Carolina by Alexander Spotswood, Governor of the Colony of Virginia, to capture Blackbeard in an effort to curtail piracy along the Atlantic seaboard, and to divert attention from his own troubled relationship with the Virginia Council. Spotswood gave Maynard command of two sloops, Ranger and Jane. Details of Maynard's final battle with Blackbeard have been well documented and are available in books, magazines, and on-line articles.

Captain Robert Maynard

At the conclusion of the bloody naval engagement Blackbeard was beheaded. His head was hung from the bowsprit of Maynard's sloop and taken back to Virginia. Upon returning to his home port Maynard impaled the head on a stake near the mouth of the Hampton River.  In 1739 Maynard was promoted to commander, and in 1740 to captain.

Robert Maynard retired to Great Mongeham in Kent, southeast England, near the port of Deal on the English Channel. He died in 1751, and is buried in the parish churchyard, on the outskirts of Deal.  Parts of the church, St Martin's, date to the 13th century. On a monument on the northeast buttress of the church tower are these words: "To the Memory of Capt. Robert MAYNARD a faithfull & experience’d Commander of the Royal Navy; who, after he had distinguish’d himself by many brave and gallant Actions in the Service of his King and Country retired to this Place where he died 1 Jan. 1750-51 aged 67."

Maynard's victory over Blackbeard is still celebrated in England.  The crew of the current HMS Ranger, a patrol and training vessel of the British Royal Navy, commemorate Blackbeard's defeat annually as close as possible to November 22 at the Sussex University Royal Naval Unit Blackbeard Night Dinner.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about Old Christmas in Rodanthe. You can read it here:   


  1. Anonymous7:02 AM

    So according to this, The Gov Of Virginia sends Maynard to North Carolina to get Blackbead who is in CaHoots with the Gov of North Carolina. Reports indicate there was no love lost between the Gov of Virginia due to his disdain for Eden the then Gov of North Carolina. Is this True? Somebody hoping to divert attention from his troubles with the Virginia Council sends a mercenary to North Carolina to get Blackbeard. Then he hangs his head from the boat's Bow. how grisly is That! It seems that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  2. Anonymous6:18 PM

    I agree. In addition, 'Mr'Blackbeard, was scum. a bully,probably has no friends. Why celebrate him with festivals. Why not a Al Capone day? Or a Hitler festival. Funny thing is if you did have a Hitler festival I'll bet it would be packed! if nothing else than to see what it was all about. Ha. I want a T-shirt.


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