Five Facts About Pirates

Are you ready to set sail at Lanternhouse this winter? Ahead of our re-imagined telling of Treasure Island, we’ve got some fun facts about pirates to share with you! Find out more from writer, Ross McKay.

Watch Ross’ video or read below to find out!

Hello landlubbers, my name is Ross MacKay. I have adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, Treasure Island for the stage. I have learnt a lot of things while I have been adapting this story. And today I wanted to share my top 5 favourite facts about Pirates.

1. Women can be pirates

Although the vast majority of pirates were men, there were women pirates as well. Pirates such as Mary Read and Anne Bonney became famous for their exploits. Some women would also pose as men to board pirate ships, meaning there might have been many more women on these ships than records suggest.

2. Blackbeard set his beard on fire

Edward Thatch or Teach, also known as Blackbeard, was one of the most feared pirates of all time. Before capturing a ship, he would weave hemp into his beard that he would set on fire, to strike fear into the ship’s crew.

3. Pirates wore eye patches

Some historians think eye patches were not just worn due to missing eyes. An eye patch was instead worn so that one eye would always be adjusted to the darkness below deck. This meant when you went below deck you didn’t need to wait for your eyes to adjust.

4. Pirates followed rules

Every pirate ship had a strict code of conduct known as articles that had to be followed. Some even had basic forms of welfare, making sure any pirate who became sick or impaired was still paid their share.

5. Pirates didn’t have pet parrots

There are no records of pirate ships keeping parrots as a pet. This myth seems to have been created by Robert Louis Stevenson, who famously gave the pirate Long John Silver, a parrot as a pet.

These are just some of my favourite pirate facts. If you want to set sail with Scotland’s most swashbuckling, seas-shanty singing pirates this winter then make your way to Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse and pick up a ticket for Treasure Island. It’s going to be quite the adventure.


Rachel Murphy

    Please enter a search term.