Captain John Calles

Calles, John – From Wales. Aka Challis aka Callice or Callys. When captured in 1577 wrote an ingenious letter, regretting his former criminal ways and promising to assist in ridding the seas of pirates, disclosing "their roads, haunts, creeks, and maintainers". One of these "maintainers" (receivers of stolen property) was lord O’Sullivan of Berehaven. John Smith, the future founder of Virginia, wrote: "This ancient pirate Callis, who most refreshed himself upon the Coast of Wales, who grew famous." Infamous enough to be hanged at Wapping but wasn’t.

At the age of eleven left Tintern to be apprenticed to a haberdasher in London but abandoned this for "to seek purchase by way of adventuring". "Purchase" is a euphemism for piratical loot, so Calles joined the British navy ca. 1571, to command Cost me Noughte three years later, a most appropriately named prize, working as an independent pirate from Glamorgan, Wales. Sold the cargo of an Italian prize in Cardiff and Bristol. Was being associated with every capture of note for the next four years, whether it was off the Scillies, near Great Yarmouth, off Holy Island, in the Strait of Dover or near Lundy. Later called "Master of the Bristol Channel", using Cardiff as his base. Usually operated on his own, only one time joining > Higgenberte and Symon Ferdinando Portingale or consorted with one of the > Fenner-family. 
Also worked with captain Robert > Hicks from Saltash, who died at the gallows. IHoly Island, in the Syrait of Dover or near LundyHntimate with local landowners and royal officials in Wales, seeming immune from prosecution with friends of high status. Although the Privy Council considered Calles the most dangerous pirate afloat, Queen Elizabeth pardoned him in 1577 when he was charged with six major cases of piracy and several minor ones.

In 1578 pilot in Humphrey > Gilbert’s expedition to the West Indies but instead pillaged ships in English waters. Raided ships in the Northsea, taking the loot to Wales or Portsmouth. Intended to use a Scottish prize for his flagship, renamed her Golden Chalice, but passed her over to Gilbert for his 1583 New Foundland expedition. This ship had two parcels of religious books for the young James VI; saw to it that news of this literary haul reached the right quarters and in consequence a Huguenot printer rode down to Studland Bay to buy all the books from him for a mere 40 pounds. Entered the service of piratehunter > Fenner, and in December 1584 took command of a French prize. Due to bad weather lost contact with Fenner. 
Arrested in Ireland, escaped or was released. Captured French vessels but felt he was no longer welcome in Wales and Ireland. So shipped as regular seaman in > Bellingham’s Minnikin, then shifted his activities to the Mediterranean where he, the most famous of English rovers of Elizabethan days, was killed in action in 1586 or 1587.

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