Mary Rose

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and not meant to be cited; by editing it you can help to improve it towards a future approved, citable version. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.

Named, by King Henry VIII of England, after the king's favorite sister Mary and the Tudor emblem the Rose, Mary Rose an early purpose-built sailing warship. [1] She was built between 1509 and 1511, served until an accident sank her in 1545. Her wreck was rediscovered in 1968, and raised for restoration in 1982. She is preserved in Portsmouth Harbor. [2] The hull is still being restored and will not be on public view until 2012.


Best estimates put her designed keel length at 32m, waterline length 38.6m and a beam of 11.66m. It is known that her displacement increased from 500 to 700 tons during her career; one estimate of draft is 4.6m. As measured in the restoragion, her height of the ship is 13m, measured on the starboard side at the aftercastle, not including masts and rigging. The ship appears to have been skeleton built and carvel planked from her inception. There is no available evidence to suggest that she was converted from a clinker to a carvel built ship during her career.

Two major refits were recorded, one in Portsmouth in 1527-28 and the other in the Thames around 1536, it is assumed her burden was increased to 700 tons during this last refit.[3]

At the lowest part of the ship is the keel, made of three pieces of elm, bolted to the three-section oaken keelson. The step on which the mainmast rests is the central piece of the keelson.


On 10 August 1512 she was part of an English force that attacked the French fleet at Brest. Mary Rose crippled the enemy flagship, bringing down her mast and causing 300 casualties. This was possibly the first battle in the Channel when ships fired their heavy guns through gun ports.

She was rebuilt, based on battle experience, in 1536. She was optimized as a warship, with high superstructure cut down for stability, her decks strengthened, and a new set of cannon installed. with 15 large bronze guns, 24 wrought-iron carriage guns and 52 smaller anti-personnel guns. [2] The Royal Navy rates her as having 20 heavy guns and 60 light guns.[1]


On 19 July 1545 Mary Rose was part of an English fleet that sailed out of Portsmouth to engage the French. She fired a broadside at the enemy and was turning to fire the other broadside when water flooded into her open gun ports and the ship suddenly capsized in full view of Henry VIII watching from the shore. It is not certain what caused Mary Rose to capsize; she was overloaded with extra soldiers and may have been caught by a gust of wind, which made the ship heel over.[1]


Rediscovered in 1969, marine archeologists lifted her on 11 October 1982, towing her into Portsmouth Harbor "from where the ship had left on her last fateful journey 437 years before. Today the Mary Rose is preserved in No.3 dock in Portsmouth."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mary Rose 1511, Royal Navy
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrew Lambert (5 November 2009), The Mary Rose: A Great Ship of King Henry VIII, BBC
  3. Construction and Dimensions. Page 1, Mary Rose Trust