So how did this fantastic adventure begin? My name is Paul Hawkins. I am 62 years old, reasonably well educated, an amateur historian, happily single and interested in anything and everything unsolved. I live in a small suburb on the outskirts of Bristol UK. I enjoy water colour painting, possess a stoical, common sense perspective on life, an occasional pint of locally brewed ale at my local, photography, music and generally socializing with other open minded people.
Many years ago, Bristol was the second city to London and a major sea port famed for it's piracy connections. Woodes Rogers and Teach (Blackbeard) were Bristolians. Henry Morgan and Kidd both had strong links with Bristol as did Robert Louis Stevenson who was reputed to have penned "Treasure Island" after listening to the wild and wonderful stories of the fabled Kidd's Treasure Island from the old sea dogs who frequented the many sawdust strewn, smoke filled taverns that surround the dock side of Bristol.
When the possessions of the Palmer brothers were auctioned, included was a cutlass inscribed "Presented by King William III to Captain Kidd ~ Bristol" ~ so it appears that Kidd had more than a passing acquaintance with Bristol. Perhaps he based himself in Bristol while his ship "Adventure Galley" was being fitted out, maybe to recruit crew for his forthcoming grand adventure. Unfortunately nothing is documented of his movements whilst he was back in England, so in truth, we will never know for sure what he was doing during his time in Bristol, which must remain speculative.
The "Morgan" chest came from a "Capt. Dan Morgan" of Bristol, who claimed the chest, which he kept in his attic, had been passed down from previous generations. Dan also claimed a direct lineage to the famous pirate Sir Henry Morgan.
I wondered why, after 70 years of searching, no one had managed to discover Kidd's mysterious treasure Island? Surely ~ I thought, if there was an island to be discovered, with modern day technology ~ it would have been discovered by now!! I thought for a time that the island was mythological, to perpetuate the romantic legend of Captain Kidd. I spent many hours analysing the work of others who had researched the mystery before me. I purchased every book I could find about the life and times of William Kidd, especially books describing Kidd's fabled treasure island.
With my newly acquired information, I applied myself to the study of the maps ~ popularly attributed to William Kidd. (see The Maps section for detailed analysis)
After all ~ I reasoned ~ if the maps were genuine, there had to be an answer to the riddle. I wanted to know the reason why and where others before me had gone wrong with their interpretations. Assisted with copious supplies of black coffee, many hundreds of hours of patient application and painstaking research and a liberal sprinkling of lateral thought, I finally solved the riddle. It took me a while, but in the end, I succeeded. In retrospect - it's all fairly logical! (That's easy to say now!!)
I am confidently able to PROVE and produce irrefutable anecdotal evidence to show that the contents of the maps are ~ without any shadow of doubt ~ absolutely genuine. Whether the physical maps themselves are genuine is another argument ~ and one to which I suggest no one knows the answer. I am certainly not qualified to proffer an opinion. It baffles me how anyone can have a valid opinion on the authenticity of the maps ~ when they haven't even seen the original maps, let alone inspected or tested them. All we have today are the photo-copies ~ of the tracings ~ of the photographs ~ of the original maps ~ together with the testament and opinion of reputable researchers who discovered and inspected the maps in the 1920's and 30's. All judged the maps at that time to be "in all probability ~ genuine". (See The Maps section for detailed examination and information.)
After I began to solve the riddle of the Palmer maps, I visited the Ministry of Defence Hydrographic Office in Taunton, Somerset (where the most complete archived charts of the worlds oceans are kept for the Royal Navy) to inspect ancient and modern charts of the region I had identified. I obtained earth observation images of the region from the Shuttle programme and even studied the night skies that Kidd would have observed from the coordinates of his treasure island at the precise time he would have concealed his cache, in an attempt to find a correlation with the charts he sketched. I left no stone unturned.
I discovered the true coordinates of his island are cleverly hidden in the two maps shown on The Maps page. How it was done will be published in full after the expedition has been completed and our results published. The hidden latitude position of his island is exact and the hidden longitude position of his island is within a few minutes, (about five miles) but would have been able to be sighted from the deck of his ship.
With Bristol's rich maritime history in my blood, and after reading George Edmunds book, "Kidd - The Search For His Treasure", I began to take an interest in the life and times of William Kidd, the maps shown in the book and in particular, the search for Kidd's mystery island and treasure.
The Llandogger Trow Inn
Reputed to be the hostelry where Defoe met Alexander Selkirk (Robinson Crusoe) and where Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to write Treasure Island after listening to the many sailors yarns and songs about Kidd’s buried treasure
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