The Mary Rose served as Henry VIII’s warship for 34 years, or nearly the whole period of his reign.
Before the development of a standing Navy, English kings relied upon requisitioning merchant vessels in times of need. This was certainly cheaper than building, maintaining and manning ships in times of peace, but it was inefficient and difficult to mobilize. With the threat of Scotland to the north and France to the south, Henry VIII began to build his Navy as soon as he came to the throne.
While maryrose.org and Royal Museums Greenwich has briefly discussed the history of the famed ship, we have selected 10 fascinating facts you should be aware of, which you can find below.
Why Is the Ship Known As the Mary Rose?
The ship was allegedly named after Henry VIII’s sister Mary Tudor, according to a popular belief. But there isn’t any proof for this.
It Is the Favorite Ship of Henry VIII
The fleet of Henry VIII, who took great pride in his “Army by Sea,” increased from five ships at the beginning of his reign to 58 by the time he passed away in 1547. Even though he may have had several ships, the Mary Rose is the one that is recognized as his favorite.
Mary Rose Has a Sister
On Jan. 29, 1510, a letter directing the construction of “two new ships” was the first mention of the Mary Rose. These ships are the Mary Rose and the Peter Pomegranate, the Mary Rose’s sister ship.
Difference Between Mary Rose and the Peter Pomegranate
Although the Mary Rose was bigger than the Peter Pomegranate (600 tons compared to 450), this was not the only distinction between the two warships. While both carracks were built for battle, the Peter Pomegranate was not designed to hold large caliber weapons. The Mary Rose, on the other hand, began her career with six or eight big guns. Henry may have insisted on the design himself, which would explain why he was so incredibly proud of the Mary Rose.
Henry VIII Declared War With France in 1512
Despite not being the largest of Henry’s ships, Edward Howard, the Admiral of the Fleet, chose the Mary Rose as his flagship. This would be a matter of significance in the Battle of St. Mathieu on Aug. 10, 1512.
The Period of Campaigning Ended in September 1512
After sailing back to England, the Mary Rose spent the entire winter moored in the Thames.
But she didn’t remain immobile for very long. The ship was used in battle until it sank in 1545.
Sinking of the Mary Rose
The Mary Rose swiftly sank in the Solent on July 19, 1545, between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. The Mary Rose, a member of an English fleet attempting to obstruct French ships from setting down on the Isle of Wight, sank without firing a shot. Her crew lost roughly 700 to drowning. Only 30 or so men were saved.
Why Did Mary Rose Sink?
The exact cause of the Mary Rose’s sinking is unknown. As it carried 700 crew members instead of the 400 that it was designed to support, we know that it was significantly overloaded.
Mary Rose Shipwreck
People attempted to lift the Mary Rose almost immediately after it sank, but they were only successful in raising the masts. For over 400 years, the Mary Rose was submerged in the sea. The wreck was then found in 1971 by archaeologists diving in the vicinity of where it sank. It was raised from the sea floor in 1982.
What Was Found Inside the Wreck
Approximately 19,000 artifacts have now been found, many of which were preserved by the Solent mud that encased the Mary Rose. They are currently on exhibit in a special museum at Portsmouth, run by the Mary Rose Trust.
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