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Fancy (ship)

Henry Every.gif
A contemporary image of the Fancy (shown in background) attacking Every's prey
Pirate Flag of Henry Every.svg (Attributed)
Name: Fancy
  • Originally Charles II
  • Renamed Fancy in 1694
Reclassified: May have ceased to be a pirate ship in 1695
General characteristics
Class and type: Man-of-war
Complement: 150
Armament: 46 guns

Fancy was Henry Every's ship, and was commanded by him between May 1694 to late 1695, when he retired from piracy and the fate of Fancy becomes unknown.


Fancy was initially a 46-gun privateer named Charles II – after Charles II of Spain – in Spanish service, commanded by a Captain Gibson, and was anchored at A Coruña, Spain. On 7 May 1694, Henry Every and a few other conspirators organised and carried out a successful mutiny and, setting Captain Gibson ashore, left A Coruña for the Cape of Good Hope. At this time, Charles II was renamed Fancy.

Upon arriving at the Cape, Every sailed to the island of Johanna (Anjouan) in the Comoros Islands, where he had Fancy careened – removing barnacles and weed from the section of the hull that was permanently below water, increasing her speed. He also had Fancy razeed, intentionally removing parts of the ship's superstructure in order to increase her speed. Following this work, Fancy became one of the fastest ships active in the Indian Ocean, and Every used this speed to attack and take a French pirate ship, looting the vessel and recruiting approximately 40 of the crew to his own ship, leaving him with a total complement of around 150.

Flag attributed to Henry Every

Every continued to be active in the Indian Ocean where he worked alongside other famous pirates of his time, including Thomas Tew. Most notable in his captures was Ganj-I-Sawai, a Mughal ship under the command of Ibrahim Khan during Emperor Aurangzeb's era. Mounting 62 cannons and four to five hundred musket-armed guards, cannon fire from Fancy was instrumental in Every's victory – the first salvo caused a cannon to explode, and a number of gunners were killed. Every's career ended when the crew returned to Nassau in April 1696, in the Bahamas, where Every returned to Britain aboard the sloop Sea Flower, arriving in Ireland in June 1696, where he promptly disappeared.

Although the fate of Fancy is unknown, it was rumored that Every gave her to the governor of Nassau as a bribe. There is supporting documentary evidence that the Fancy was run aground on New Providence and Governor Trott had the guns and everything of value stripped.[1]


  1. ^ E. T. Fox (2008) King of the Pirates, The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every, page 109


  • FOX, E.T., King of the Pirates: The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every, The History press, Stroud, Glos. 2008, ISBN 978-0-7524-4718-6

Further reading

  • BAER, Joel H. Pirates of the British Isles, Tempus Publishing, London 2005
  • HANNA, Mark G., Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, University of North Carolina Press 2015
  • PRESTON, Diana & Michael, A Pirate of Exquisite Mind –The Life of William Dampier, Corgi Books 2005
  • PRINGLE, Patrick, Jolly Rodger, The Story of the Great Age of Piracy, Dover Publications Inc., New York 2001