Growing up in Sussex during the turbulent 17th century, John became involved in the illegal ‘owling’ trade, where he learnt his seamanship. Whilst carousing in a Rye inn he was unexpectedly pressed into the Royal Navy. In 1694, disgruntled with the ill-fated Spanish Expedition, he joined ‘Long Ben’ Every’s mutiny setting sail as his coxswain to the Indian Ocean in the Fancy, a ship of 46 guns,…‘and bound to seek our fortunes’ as they declared. It made Henry Every the richest pirate in the world, and was said, the most profitable raid in history. A popular ballad of the time proclaimed: “Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight, and a toast to all free men And when the devil comes to take us home, he’ll drink With old Long Ben!” After the hue and cry, the slippery Every changed his name and disappeared. On returning to England John was caught and lost his fortune. Escaping the hangman, he emerges later as a respectable partner to John Coggs a London goldsmith banker, trading from the sign of the Kings Head in the Strand. Unfortunately he became disastrously embroiled in a massive bankruptcy fraud that shook the city.