Mary Rose Information
Mary Rose Information - Why was this warship important to the Tudors?
This page provides interesting information about this famous Tudor Warship. The pride of King Henry VIII and the Tudor Navy. Why was the Mary Rose important to the Tudors? The Mary Rose was built between 1509 & 1511 as the first English gunship. Guns or Canons were being developed which were made of bronze or iron and fired stone or iron. They were made in different sizes and were used on both land and on sea. The Mary Rose was the first ship to carry the new guns or canons which were housed in another new invention of the era - the gunports. The Mary Rose warship served England during the naval Battle of St Mathieu and the Battle of the Solent where she she was sunk in 1545.
Information about the raising of the Mary Rose
The Mary Rose was rediscovered on 14th May 1966 and following careful preparation and diving work the hull was lifted off the seabed. During the course of nearly 30,000 dives approximately 20,000 artefacts were recovered. After being lifted off the seabed the Mary Rose was placed on a cradle before being raised by a giant floating crane on 11 October 1982 and towed to Portsmouth where she can be seen today at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Information - How long was the Mary Rose in Service?
The Mary Rose ship was in service between 1511 - 1545 and provided a useful Tudor warship in the wars of 1512 & 1522 with the French. During the time of her service she was repaired and refitted during 1528 & 1536. The Mary Rose sank 19th of July 1545, the cause of the disaster is unclear.
Information about the Carrack Ship Design
The Mary Rose ship was originally built as a Carrack. This was a style which was often used for merchant ships of the period, in fact the famous Santa Maria ship of Christopher Columbus was also a carrack with three masts. The Mary Rose was a bigger four mast sailing ship. Each of the masts carried one large sail. The foresail and mainsail were square shaped and the sail on the rear mast was a triangular shaped sail. The Mary Rose warship also had high castles at the bow and stern.
Information - The size of the warship
Basic information about the size of the Mary Rose ship is as follows:
- Displacement: 700 tons (Displacement is used as a measure of the weight of ships)
- Length: 38.5m / 126.3ft
- Beam: 4.6m / 15.09ft
Information - The Weapons of the Sailors
The original design of the Mary Rose allowed her to fire her guns and then sail alongside the enemy to allow the soldiers to board the enemy ship. The soldiers on the Mary Rose were therefore equipped with an array of various weapons which were used during the Tudor period to enable the soldiers to capture the enemy ship by hand-to-hand fighting. The surprise when raising the wreck of the Mary Rose was that there were hundred of longbows and arrows on board, the new technology of the gun had not replaced this valuable weapon in the early Tudor period. The Mary Rose ship was eventually built to carry a crew of about 400. The crew consisted of:
- 185 soldiers and archers
- 200 sailors
- 30 gunners
The weapons used by the men of the crew were detailed as consisting of:
- 50 handguns
- 250 longbows
- 300 pole arms
- 480 darts (which were used as projectiles)
- 8000 arrows
Information about the Guns or Canon
English cannon were first used during the Hundred Years War between France and England, when early cannon were used at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. When on board a warship a cannon is called a gun, while a cannonball is a roundshot. Roundshot was used to smash the hull of an enemy ship. The guns were made of bronze or iron and fired stone or iron roundshot. The Mary Rose was initially equipped with 69 guns consisting of 39 heavy guns and 30 light guns and this number of guns rose to 91 after the upgrade in 1536.
Information about the Gunports
The Mary Rose warship had high castle like structure built at the bow and stern. However using heavy guns on these high castles, which were built on the deck, resulted in a lack of stability and structural strength. The introduction of gunports addressed these problems making the Mary Rose a true heavy-gun warship. The gunports were the flaps that covered holes in the side of the ship, behind which were the great guns. The hinged flaps would be opened in a battle so that the guns could move out while they were being fired. The Mary Rose was the first ship with gun ports cut out along the side of the hull for the firing of heavy guns. The invention and addition of gunports meant that guns could be carried much lower down in the ship, so that it was much more stable and less likely to tip over. The gunports allowed the guns to fire a 'broadside', which meant all guns along one side of the ship could fire at once.
Facts and Information about the Early English Navy
The English navy increased under Henry VIII from just 5 ships at the beginning of his reign to about 60 ships. The Royal Navy was developed by King Henry VIII was allowed to decay under his two immediate successors, Edward and Queen Mary. In 1548 there were 53 ships in the Fleet, with a total tonnage of about 11,000 but by 1558 there were only 26, with a tonnage of little more than 7,000.
Mary Rose Information
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