Famous Cumbrians: Fletcher Christian (1764-1793)

It’s probably safe to say you’re famous if Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson have all played you in blockbuster films. Fletcher Christian was born inArtist: Robert Dodd 1748-1816 Copyright expired Brigham, near Cockermouth, where he went to school with the poet, William Wordsworth. Christian had travelled to India and twice with Captain Bligh to Jamaica before they set off on the ill-fated trip to Tahiti in April, 1789. Later that year, 1300 miles west of Tahiti, Christian led the mutiny on the Bounty.

Having married a Tahitian princess, Christian, eight mutineers, six Tahitian men and eleven Tahitian women landed on Pitcairn Island. By 1808, only one mutineer was left alive. What became of Christian? One said he was shot; another variously said he died of natural causes, committed suicide, or was murdered. Rumours persist, however, that he escaped, returned to the Lake District and inspired Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Who knows?

©Diane McIlmoyle 27.10.10

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