Norman Island and the Indians

Norman Island is reputed to be named after Captain Norman, a pirate who was eventually apprehended and hanged by the Spanish Guarda Costas, the historical coast guard for Puerto Rico.

Piracy in the British Virgin Islands was prevalent mainly during the age of 1690-1730.

There are many local legends, the most famous of which is probably the island known as ‘Deadchest,’ where Blackbeard allegedly marooned a number of his men giving the island its name. These men were supposed to have tried to swim to the adjacent Peter Island but drowned, hence the name ‘Dead Man’s Bay’ on Peter Island.

The Blackbeard myth was perpetuated in the BVI when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his famous book “Treasure Island“. In the book is the famous song mentioning ‘Deadchest’ and some suggest that Stevenson based his Treasure Island on Norman Island. Included on his Treasure Island is a hill known as ‘Spyglass Hill’ which is actually the highest peak on Norman Island.

One of the more famous legends concerns a member of the Chalwell family who was fishing near Norman Island in 1915 and took shelter in one of the caves of Norman Island during a storm. When the fortunate fisherman woke the next morning, a large number of rocks had broken off into his small boat, as had a small chest, supposedly filled with gold doubloons. The story cannot be verified but it is known that members of the family ceased being fisherman and left Tortola at about the time to open shops in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas. It is also said that when the first son of the fisherman in the tale got married, he gave his new daughter in law a necklace of Spanish doubloons that hung down to her knees on her wedding day.