Pirates of the Caribbean.........and Point Lynas!!

In 1779 a group of merchants built a house near Point Lynas for the guidance of ships by placing lights in the windows. The first lighthouse keeper was Robert Beaver, born in 1748 in Aberffraw the son of John Beaver a schoolmaster. Robert Beaver went to sea at a young age, indeed by the age of 28 he was in command of his own ship and was involved in slave trading out of Liverpool, this being a period of great prosperity for the slave trade.

His ship loaded with linen and other manufactured goods would set out on a voyage to the coast of West Africa, sell the goods and buy slaves, cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, West Indies, or Virginia, sell the slaves and obtain tobacco and cotton and then return around the south of Ireland and back to Liverpool. Until 1807 when both Britain and America made it illegal to be involved in external slavery, this trade was legal. Slavery internally continued in Britain and the colonies until 1833. The Royal Navy declared around 1808 that ships transporting slaves were the same as pirates, and so ships carrying slaves were subject to destruction and any men captured were potentially subject to execution.

In 1778 at the age of 30 Captain Beaver was in command of a privateer, a state licensed pirate, with a government license to attack French and American ships with his armed merchant ship. He was said to have taken many prizes and captured many ships and he became a wealthy man. His first privateer ship was an armed ship called Juno of 24 guns; he later became the commander of the 28 gun “Hero”. In October 1782 he retired from the sea having captured more than 50 vessels as prisoners in 4 years.

Robert Beaver was honored as a hero of the sea and took up the job of light keeper at Point Lynas. William Hutchinson appointed Robert Beaver and he had also at one point been a privateer, and this may have influenced the appointment.

Robert Beaver had two jobs, for many years he was the unpaid lighthouse keeper, but received pay from 1787 until 1805 as a look out for the Royal Navy, watching out for invading American and French warships from a purpose built mound at the end of the point. In 1797 the Liverpool Dock Board stared to pay Robert Beaver £25 a year plus coal.

Robert Beaver was to struggle to keep the lighthouse going financially, he made a lot of complains to the Liverpool Dock Board, but no action beyond enquiries by the Liverpool Board were taken, beyond statements that he ought to be replaced. Eventually, Liverpool Dock Board retired him in 1814 age 65. Within days of retiring him he died.

Should you doubt this tale, I have found his grave in Llaneilian church!!