Stan Hugill

Stan (Stanley James) Hugill (November 19, 1906 - May 13, 1992) was a folk music performer and sea music historian, known as the "Last Working Shantyman."


Born to Henry James Hugill and the former Florence Mary Southwood, he served as the shantyman on the Garthpool, 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. Contributor to the Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He was also a talented painter of nautical scenes.

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. In the 1950's he also taught sailing skills (and sang sea chanties) on the sail-training ship Pamir but fortunately was not on its ill-fated last voyage. 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. Married Bronwen Irene Benbow in 1953; they had two children, Philip and Martin. Anchored BBC program Dance and Skylark, from 1965 to 1966. Wrote monthly column, "Bosun's Locker," for Spin (Liverpool folksong magazine).

Although shanty is also spelled chantey, Hugill used "shanties" and "shantyman" exclusively in his books.

Stan Hugill Memorial Trophy

As of 1993, the Stan Hugill Memorial Trophy is awarded to the winner of the The Tall Ships' Crews Shanty Competition. The competition became international in scope in 2000, when it was held in Douarnenez, France. The 2005 competition was held at the Newcastle Tall Ships Festival.

Recordings and Publications


  • Shanties from the Seven Seas
  • Sailor Town
  • Shanties and Sailor Songs
  • Sea Shanties
  • Songs of the Seas


  • Shanties from the Seven Seas
  • 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 Volume 1
  • Sea Songs Volume 2
  • When the Wind Blows


  • 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)


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