© Wonersh History Society - www.wonershhistory.co.uk   (WHS)
PIRATES! A   collection   in   Wonersh   to   pay   a   ransom   demand   by   Turkish   pirates   doesn’t   sound   very   likely   but,   according   to   the   Parish   Register,   that’s     exactly what happened on 8 November 1671. The Background In   the   1600s,   with   the   approval   of   their   governments,   pirates   from   the   Barbary   Coast   of   North   Africa   attacked   Christian   ships   and   took   their crews   into   slavery.      Admiralty   records   show   that   during   this   time   the   pirates   plundered   British   shipping   pretty   much   at   will,   taking   no   fewer than   466   vessels   between   1609   and   1616,   and   a   further   27   vessels   from   near   Plymouth   in   1625.      Joseph   Morgan,   an   18th   Century   historian, noted   that   he   had   a   1682   list   of   160   British   ships   captured   by   Algerians   between   1677   and   1680.      Based   on   the   likely   number   of   sailors   on each ship, this probably equates to some 7,000 to 9,000 British men (and women) taken into slavery in those years. Coastal   villages   were   also   at   risk   -   Devon   and   Cornwall   in   particular   -   with   people   snatched   from   their   homes   during   the   night.      Countries closer   to   Africa   such   as   Italy   and   Spain   suffered   far   worse   with   thousands   being   taken   during   raids   along   the   coasts   of   Valencia,   Andalusia, Calabria and Sicily. On   8   November   1671   a   collection   was   taken   at   Wonersh   Church.      Lady   Duncombe   of   Great   Tangley,   her   daughter   Miss   Margaret   Carryll,   the Reverend   Thomas   Quincie   and   one   Henry   Chennell   all   gave   generously.      Another   109   names   are   listed   in   the   Register   with   donations ranging from half a crown to one penny.  Of those, Richard Doleing of The Street gave six pence, twice the annual rent of his house. So   it   was   that   the   Reverend   Thomas   Quincie   handed   £6.7.10   to   Archdeacon   John   Holland   of   Guildford.      It   then   started   a   journey   which   at   its end   may   well   have   led   through   tall   Arab   doors   into   a   room   with   little   furniture   but   many   carpets   where   the   Bey   of   Tunis   sat   smoking   a Hookah!
John Fairburn (1793–1832) - Royal Museums Greenwich