Sep 24

Feedback from a recent talk by Mark Steeds from the Long John Silver Trust

Here’s some feedback from a recent talk the Long John Silver Trust conducted with the Port of Bristol Authority Retired Employees Association: –

‘Just a few lines to thank you such an entertaining afternoon last Tuesday (17/09/13). As you could tell, your talk on Pirates and the Long John Silver Trust was much enjoyed by everyone.

We do hope your plans for the Maritime and Literary Trail are successful – I didn’t realise how many authors in the past have had some connection with Bristol.

I was asked by many of our Members to arrange another visit from you… to see if something can be arranged for 2014.

Mrs Ann Tilley – Secretary’

Many thanks Ann, we’ll be doing our best to make the arrangement.

During the talk I mentioned Bristolian author William Williams, whose book The Journal of Llewlin Penrose – Seaman contains literature’s first ever encrypted pirate treasure map and here it is: –

Copy of Penrose treasure map

This image is care of Bristol’s Central Library and if you would like to see the whole book, that’s where you’ll find a copy, amongst their priceless collections.

Genuine Privateer (some say Pirate) Captain William Kidd used a treasure map way back in the 1690’s but it didn’t appear in print until William’s book in 1815. Williams lived out his last days in the Merchant Venturers’ Almshouses in historic King Street, Bristol.

William’s map was then famously ‘borrowed’, first by Edgar Allen Poe in The Gold Bug and then by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island.

You can read all about it in the Trust’s book Pirates and Privateers Out of Bristol – please go to our shop to get a copy.

Sep 21

The Greatest Dog Show on Earth!

As you may be aware the LJST HQ, the Beaufort Arms in Hawkesbury Upton, played host to Harmony Gromit for ten weeks in the summer of 2013 and as a follow up, my wife Fiona and I went to the “The Greatest Dog Show on Earth!” last night as sponsors, and bumped in to some old friends, first and foremost being ‘Salty Sea Dog’ Harmony Gromit by the Founder and Creative Director of Aardman Animations, Peter Lord.

As my alter-ego ‘Long John Steedsy’ I couldn’t resist seeking out Salty and having my picture taken with him in the ‘Novelty Dogs’ category. Imagine my delight when buying the brilliant new book ‘The Art of Gromit Unleashed’, I discovered some of Peter’s preparation drawings for Salty himself. His tattoos are a real hoot.

Whilst there we met several other old friends, including Royston Griffey and Bob McKeown from the Long John Silver Trust (this time representing the Matthew, host to Newfoundland Gromit) and Bristol Mayor George Fergusson, resplendent in his red trousers as usual and cock-a-hoop at the success of the Gromit Unleashed Trail.

We joked with them about Bristol’s successor to Gromit and while Royston was keen on Unicorns, George was all for pirates, he could envision a stack of Long John Silvers around the city and I was with him all of the way.

Mark Steeds (Secretary and LJST Trustee, and landlord of the Beaufort Arms)

Photos below, click an image to enlarge …

Sep 21

Historic Walks, Talks and Re-enactments

So far, 2013 has been a great one for historic, walks, talks and re-enactments.

The Long John Silver Trust has been involved in many things ranging from Medieval re-enactment on the Matthew to helping promote Pirates of Penzance at the Bristol Hippodrome for Scottish Opera and Promenade Productions. We also helped Knowle West Media Group with their work on the Temple Development Zone as history consultants.

Our bread and butter however is talking to people either in their meeting rooms or taking them around and about Old Bristol. We can even do readings of Treasure Island in costume, the highlight being our participation in the RLS Club’s celebration of Stevenson last year (2012) at the Scottish Portrait Gallery actually on RLS Day – 23rd November.

We’ve given talks all over the West and topics range from Pirates and Privateers out of Bristol to Bristol’s Reforming Women (others include the anti-slavery campaigners Wulfstan and Clarkson, the Knife and Fork Man [Charles Redrupp] and the Clevedon Car Man [Richard Stevens]).

Please get in touch if any of the talks interest you, all proceeds go to the LJS Trust.

The picture below is a water colour sketch of LJST vice chairman Prof ‘Billy Bones’ Fairney (as Blind Pew) and LJST secretary Mark ‘Long John’ Steedsy (as Silver). The sketch was done by Sam Kendon after our appearance at St Michaels-on-the-mount-without Primary School in Bristol.

Blind Pew and LJS (Bill and Mark)

Sep 14

Closer links forged between the Matthew of Bristol Trust and the Long John Silver Trust

September 13th 2013 was a special day for the Trust and for one of its Patrons, Royston Griffey, who was made, after a 7 year apprenticeship (where he wasn’t allowed to frequent inns, play dice or fornicate) a Freeman and Burgess of the City and County of Bristol.

To celebrate this ancient Medieval tradition, the Matthew was commissioned to sail down the Gorge in full Medieval regalia which included the crew.

The LJST, with Royston’s blessing, took the opportunity to hand over a cheque for £1000 to the Matthew of Bristol Trust in order to become a ‘Corporate-Life Member’ (joining the likes of the University of Bristol) thereby firming up the great links between ourselves and the Matthew.

Shown here is Vice-Chairman Bill Fairney handing over our cheque to a very happy Royston. The award of Freedom and becoming a Burgess is just recognition for all of his hard work promoting Bristol’s many-faceted maritime past.

Three cheers for Royston ….

LJST to Matthew 1000 handover Sept 2013More Pic’s below ….. click an image to enlarge …

Sep 04

Matthew Annual Fish & Chip Night 2013

Friends and supporters of the Long John Silver Trust, along with regulars from LJST HQ at the Beaufort, are seen here enjoying the hospitality of the Matthew once again on their annual Fish and Chip fundraising cruise.

Proceedings got under way with LJST Patron Royston Griffey hoisting the Matthew’s ‘Jolie Vert’ (Jolly Green Roger) – not very ably assisted by the Trust’s secretary. Anyhoo, our voyage commenced and we set off in the direction of [the] Nova Scotia to rendezvous with our supper.

The two hours flew by and finished with a rousing speech (?) by the pesky Trust’s secretary once again, Long John Steedsy, where a special announcement was made about the Long John Silver Trust becoming a Corporate Member of the Matthew of Bristol Trust.

Thanks were issued and events were wrapped up with a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday George’ and we all went home happy… Click an image to enlarge:
Images courtesy of
Andy Musty