Yarmouth gravestone recounts dire sea battle with pirates

THE rededication of a special gravestone recounting the dire maritime tale of a sailor’s battle with a pirate was celebrated during a special ceremony.

More than 25 people attended the service in St Nicholas’ churchyard in Great Yarmouth to mark the re-positioning of the headstone of David Bartleman, a ship’s captain who died after a dramatic encounter with the English pirate, Fall, on February 14, 1781.

The stone was revealed in its new position at the west of the churchyard and was blessed by the Rev Chris Terry.

A series of speeches were given by Dr Paul Davies of the St Nicholas Preservation Trust, monumental mason Colin Smith who had carried out extensive restoration work, and Michael Pearson who helped fund the restoration.

David Bartleman was master of the brig Alexander and Margaret, of North Shields, which faced the English pirate, Fall, on January 31, 1781, in the North Sea. He fought off two assaults from the pirate who boasted 18 four-pounder cannons on his cutter vessel – compared to the Alexander and Margaret’s three-pounder cannons.

Bartleman was severely wounded in the second wave of attacks but headed his battered boat back into the safety of Yarmouth where he died the following month from his injuries.

His father, Alexander Bartleman, marked the bravery of his son by putting up a special headstone in his memory in St Nicholas churchyard.