Stan Hugill

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Stan Hugill
File:Stan hugill 1979.jpg
A working Stan Hugill
Background information
Birth name Stanley James Hugill
Born (1906-11-19)19 November 1906
Hoylake, Cheshire, England
Died 13 May 1992(1992-05-13) (aged 85)
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales
Genres Folk music
Occupation(s) Merchant seaman, shanty-man, historian
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1950–1992
Associated acts Stormalong John

Stan (Stanley James) Hugill (/'hju:ɡɪl/) (November 19, 1906 – May 13, 1992)[1] was a folk music performer, artist and sea music historian, known as the "Last Working Shantyman" and described as the "20th Century guardian of the tradition".[1]


Born in Hoylake, Cheshire, to Henry James Hugill and Florence Mary Hugill (née Southwood). His sailing career started in 1922, retiring to dry land in 1945. He notably served as the shantyman on the Garthpool.,[1] the last British commercial sailing ship (a "Limejuice Cape Horner"), on her last voyage which ended when she was wrecked 11 November 1929 off the Cape Verde Islands.[1]

After four and a half years as a German prisoner of war during World War II, Hugill was an instructor at the Outward Bound Sea School in Aberdovey from 1950 to 1975.[1] In the 1950s he also taught sailing skills (and sang sea shanties) on the sail-training ship Pamir but fortunately was not on its ill-fated last voyage.[1] Fluent in Japanese and Spanish (as well as speaking Maori, Malay, and Chinese and various Polynesian dialects), he also worked as a Japanese translator from 1951-1959.[1]

He married Bronwen Irene Benbow in 1953; they had two children, Philip and Martin. He anchored BBC program Dance and Skylark from 1965 to 1966, and wrote monthly the column "Bosun's Locker" for Spin (Liverpool folksong magazine).

When laid up with a broken leg in the 1950s, he began to write down the shanties that he had learned at sea, eventually authoring several books and releasing several LP's of performances later in coordination with Merseyside Folk group Stormalong John.[1]

Although "shanty" is also spelled "chantey", Hugill used former exclusively in his books.

Stan Hugill Memorial Trophy

As of 1993, the Stan Hugill Memorial Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Tall Ships' Crews Shanty Competition. The competition became international in scope in 2000 when it was held in Douarnenez, France.

Recordings and publications


  • The Bosun's Locker, Collected Articles 1962-1973 (Heron Publishing, 2006)
  • Shanties from the Seven Seas (1961; abridged edition 1984)
  • Sailortown (1967)
  • Shanties and Sailor Songs (1969)
  • Sea Shanties (1977)
  • Songs of the Sea (1977)


  • Shanties from the Seven Seas (1962, HMV)
  • On Board the Cutty Sark
  • A Salty Fore Topman
  • Chants des Marins Anglais
  • Sailing Days
  • Stan Hugill Reminisces
  • Stan Hugill
  • Men and the Sea Men
  • Sea Songs: Newport, Rhode Island - Songs from the Age of Sail (with The X Seamen's Institute and David Jones)
  • Sea Songs: Louis Killen, Stan Hugill and The X Seamen's Institute sing of Cape Horn sailing at the Seattle Chantey Festival (with Louis Killen and The X Seamen's Institute).
  • When the Wind Blows
  • Pusser's Rum Sailing Songs (1990)


  • Stan Hugill, The Last Shantyman
  • All I Ask is a Tall Ship ("The World About Us" BBC TV)
  • The Last Voyage of the Garthpool ("Yesterday's Witness" BBC TV)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Simon Moffat. "The Last Shantyman".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>