Title: Portland Pirates
Series title: The Portland Chronicles
Author: Carol Hunt
RRP: £5.99
Sale Price: £4.99
Publication date: 19 Oct 2011
Format: 198 x 130 mm
Number of pages: 136
Illustrations: 6

ISBN: 978-1-906651-11-4

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This is the third in The Portland Chronicles series by author Carol Hunt. The series is aimed at children aged 9 upwards but Carol’s books are attracting fans of all ages, even age 66! Carol says, ‘I live on Portland and my writing is inspired by local folklore and history. I started my research for Portland Pirates with the fascinating ‘pirate graves’ at Church Ope, marked with skull and crossbones, which date from the late 17th century. With its rocky cliffs and caves, hidden bays and dangerous tides, Portland could be described as Dorset’s answer to Treasure Island. I’ve really enjoyed imagining what happens when a ship full of pirates arrives on present-day Portland.’
     The pirate graves can be found in the churchyard of ruined St Andrew’s Church at Church Ope on Portland. Some people believe these graves belonged to wealthy local stonemasons rather than pirates. The skull and crossbones was a mediaeval symbol for death

Pirate Crime Wave Shocks Portland!

A band of marauding pirates is marooned on the Isle of Portland. Their ship the Fortune has mysteriously disappeared and a sinister mermaid accuses Isabel Maydew of witchcraft, calling the Fortune across the seas of time. A cabin boy, a treasure-seeking pirate called Cutlass and their Captain Red Pete are lost on the island. Meanwhile the pirate crew are raiding local shops and causing havoc, and a time-travelling smuggler moves into Groves Farm. Even a pirate budgie is on the loose. Before the long, hot summer ends, can Isabel discover the true story of the Fortune and send the lost pirates back to the past?

 Extract from the book, Chapter 2

Mrs Veronica Greychurch stepped outside her Portland Bill beach hut, which she had decorated with flowery wallpaper and neat blue curtains. She threw a tablecloth over the outdoor table and lined up a shiny fork and knife. She swept back her white blonde hair and straightened the pleated skirt that ended by her chubby knees. On the table she arranged a heap of books. A General History of Pirates teetered on top. A child trotted by with a fishing net, tugging Gregor behind her. It was that awful Suzie Maydew in a swimsuit and ridiculous pirate hat. Mrs Greychurch shuddered. She liked to keep a close eye on the Maydews. Suzie’s sister Isabel was always in trouble, unlike her own dear daughter Miranda.
     Mrs Greychurch peered across the sea. She had chosen this beach hut for its views of the English Channel, stretching towards the Isle of Wight to the east and France to the south. There were pirates, vagabonds, plying their evil trade out there on the sea. Mrs Greychurch was all that stood between the island and a tidal wave of pirates, surging over them and sweeping away decent people.
She cut her cucumber sandwiches into neat squares and wiped the kitchen surfaces with lemon-fresh cleaner. Then she swept the floor again. With a final quick dust of the picture of Blackbeard, a notorious pirate with a bushy black beard, she put her plate on a tray and sat down to enjoy her lunch in peace. She perched sunglasses on her nose to read the Dorset Echo.
     ‘Pirate Crime Wave Shocks Portland,’ she read aloud. ‘In scenes of shocking horror, a Plymouth merchant boat was attacked yesterday by a pirate ship, the Fortune. Food and other goods were taken by a swashbuckling captain calling himself Red Pete, who threatened the crew with a sword. One of the terrified crew told our reporter, “He wore a proper pirate hat and was armed to the teeth. I’ve never seen anything like it.”’
     Mrs Greychurch tutted. ‘A sword and teeth – terrible! And to think he’s still out there.’ Thank goodness she had this beach hut as a look-out. She was going to have to be extra watchful.

About the Author

Carol’s stories draw on local folklore, myth and legend, such as Veasta, the Chesil Beach sea monster, and the Roy Dog, the phantom Portland Black Dog. Her writing is inspired by the magic and mystery of the Isle. Carol has three children and lives in Easton, Portland. She studied English Literature and History at university and has worked with young people as an adviser. Since the publication of her books, she is regularly asked to give talks in schools and libraries across Dorset. This year Book 2 in the series, Enchantment of the Black Dog, was selected as the Bridport Children’s Big Read.
     Take a look at her website ( and blog ( You can also follow Carol on Twitter (islandseadragon) and Facebook (The Portland Sea Dragon) for the latest photos and news


All artwork for the Portland Chronicles books was created by local artist Domini Deane.


Please CLICK HERE for ordering options.


CLICK HERE to see Peter Lythgoe interview Carol at Imagine Books in Weymouth. In the podcast, she explains how she writes and researches the background to the stories, and the inspiration for her characters (without giving away any real-life names!)

CLICK HERE for a more scholarly report on the 'pirate graveyard' above Church Ope Cove in old St Andrew's churchyard, see the article in Dorset magazine. There are lots of great images of the various 'crossed bones' headstones