A NEW biography tells the story of Captain Thomas Bowrey.

In August 1913, the residents of The Manor House in Cleeve Prior, Worcestershire, discovered an old wooden chest in a windowless attic room.

The find was a large collection of late 17th and early 18th century manuscripts relating to Captain Thomas Bowrey.

Despite being split up and commanding high prices at auction, most of the papers have survived and are held in museums, libraries and private collections around the world.

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For more than a century, they have been referenced by academics, writers and students of subjects ranging from the East India Company, the union of Scotland and England and the trading of slaves from East Africa to India, to the South Sea Bubble and the recreational use of cannabis.

“The more I learned about Thomas Bowrey, the more intrigued I became with his life and character, and determined to write this book,” says author Sue Paul.

"The sheer volume of material available has, at times, seemed overwhelming but my study of it has been rewarded by uncovering a fascinating character who led an extraordinary life."

Bowrey’s shipping interests were many but were plagued by pirates, privateers and mutiny and included the tragic Worcester, an incident that hastened the union of England and Scotland in 1707.

The book is being published by Dollarbird, part of Monsoon Books, and is available at amazon.co.uk.

Dollarbird publisher Philip Tatham added: “Thomas Bowrey led a fascinating life and each one of his endeavours is worthy of a book.