When Arthur Ransome wrote his famous “Swallows and Amazons”, published in 1930, he decided to name his best known character, the skipper of the Amazon, Nancy Blackett. What prompted him to use the Blackett name is not known, but Ransome drew his inspiration for the story from his beloved Lake District, close to where several branches of Blacketts have lived since at least the 17th century. After the success of his book, Ransome bought a sailing cutter and renamed her" Nancy Blackett".
The boat has been restored and is owned and operated by the Nancy Blackett Trust.
In June 2015 shooting of a new film of Swallows and Amazons commenced in the Lake District. The film stars Rafe Spall and Gwendoline Christie and is directed by Phillippa Lowthorpe.
The only Blackett reference to real-life piracy we have discovered is that in 1715 Jeremiah Higgins left Jamaica in the Blackett “to go treasure-fishing”. Higgins was captured in New York in 1717 and released in 1718 as part of the General Pardon. It is not known whether this ship was the same one referred to in 1752 by Thomas Trowell, when he made his will prior to “going on an intended voyage to South Carolina on board the Blacket”. In 1782 a ship of that name is reported to have sailed from Cowes, England to Quebec with a cargo of flour and on 28 October 1782 it was ordered from Quebec to New York. At the end of the American War of Independence in 1783 the Blacket evacuated loyalists, including former slaves, from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec.