The Motley Crew

Singing shanties and songs of the sea out of Brightlingsea, Essex

Long, long ago, a group of like minded chaps hit on the idea of singing sea shanties for fun. Despite it being a late night at the yacht club, most of us remembered the idea the day after and thus The Motley Crew was born.

From there we’ve gone on to sing at fetes, smack and barge matches, regattas, dinners, weddings, parties, shop openings and numerous other events. Highlights include performing at the London Marathon, the Cutty Sark, the Harwich International Shanty Festival and the Colchester Oyster Feast. We get together at Christmas to sing traditional wassail carols, too.

We've supported lots of charities over the years, but our main charity is the RNLI (as most of us sail, we figure it's a good investment) and we've raised thousands of pounds for this worthy cause. 

We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Audiences appreciate our robust, light-hearted style and so long as we all enjoy ourselves and the RNLI gets a few more well-deserved pennies out of our efforts, that’s all that matters.
If you'd like us to sing at your event, please drop us a line.


Meet the crew

Otherwise known as the tenors, the screechers claim to reach impossibly high notes without artificial aids.
The tunes sing the bits everybody knows and think everyone else in the crew is just showing off.
David D
Pencil Bob
The bass section labours down in the engine room, occasionally rattling the windows and scaring dogs. 
David B

In Action


  • I was delighted when informed of the consistent fundraising the Motley Crew has done to raise vital funds for the RNLI. Thank you for your loyalty in helping the RNLI to continue to save lives at sea. 

    Jon Knight

    Head of Community Engagement, RNLI
  • Speaking with our staff, they felt that the shanties really brought the ship to life. It goes without saying that you are welcome to come back and perform again in the future

    Aaron Hewett

    General Manager, Cutty Sark
  • I would just like to write to say thank you so much for organising a fundraising event for our Raise the Roof appeal. It is really touching when someone organises an independent event of their own volition, especially one that is so different.

    Lia Smith

    Secretary, Porridge & Pens
  • Just to say thank you to you and the ‘Crew’ for making our WI Centenary Evening such fun. Without exception every one said how much they had enjoyed the evening, such a great atmosphere!

    Jo Barnes

    Weeley WI
  • I’ve just paid good money for a CD of yours , and I want you to know that I’m appalled. I’m appalled that you haven’t yet got a golden disc – it’s absolutely brilliant! I do so love to hear you sing and I applaud your objective

    Mike Fletcher

On Tour

Contact Us

If you'd like us to perform for your event, please drop us a line using the contact form. Be sure to say what the event is, who it's for and give a date, time and location.
We'll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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© The Motley Crew 2021
Website by  Big Red Web Design | Illustrations by Pencil Bob Hollis | Video mastered by Richard Harvey | Hero image by Jon Sturdy.
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