Watchet’s seamen included many characters of whom the fictional Ancient Mariner is the most well known but Yankee Jack was a real mariner called John Short. His wonderful singing voice and amazing vocal memory, even as an old man, impressed Cecil Sharp. Thanks to Yankee Jack many of our best loved sea songs were published and preserved including versions of Shallow Brown and Shenandoah. He was one of the last of the shantymen who sang for his fellow sailors giving them the rhythms for turning the capstan and hoisting sails.
You can find out more about Watchet harbour in the Victoria County History of Somerset V and see local boats at the Watchet Boat Museum just a short walk from Yankee Jack's statue.