Mary Rose


From: Peter Moore <pt@chaff.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 1995 22:48:06 +0100
Reply-To: pt@chaff.demon.co.uk


In article: <4amrdf$10q@news.asu.edu> colterd@imap2.asu.edu writes:

> question is what is the story about the Mary Rose.
>

The "Mary Rose" was Henry VIII's flagship. It sunk off Southsea, Hampshire on
England's South coast on 19th July 1545 while Henry was inspecting his fleet.
It is suspected that the ship was overloaded.

The Wreck was located in 1971 and was raised after a long operation in 1982.
I remember being late for school because I was watching the live TV coverage
of the salvage. The salvage was led by a woman who's name I've totally
forgotten. Sorry.

The Prince of Wales was apparently instrumental in helping to raise funds for
the operation. He also took part in several dives at the site.

The ship has been placed in 'dry' dock in Portsmouth, next to Nelson's
flagship "Victory". In fact it's not really dry as the ship is continuously
sprayed with water, containing preservative compounds, to prevent further
erosion. The intention is to stop the spraying eventually but at present the
display is sealed with airlocks to prevent dry air entering the building.

The "Mary Rose" lay on her side on the sea bed and the exposed half of the
ship decayed, leaving what is in essence a 'cross-section' view of the ship
(see diagram below). This is now displayed the the upright position as shown.
When she was first brought up, the ship was left in the same orientation in
which she was found, until strengthening work could take place.


|
|____ < deck one
|
Hull > |
|____ < deck two
|
|
\
\___ < deck three
\
\
\
Keel > \


The "Mary Rose" museum is fascinating. It gives a good idea of what life must
have been like at the time. Hundreds of bows and thousands of arrows were
aboard the ship and many were retrieved in good enough condition to be drawn,
apparently. A lot of our modern ideas about the longbow were revised because
of the evidence from the "Mary Rose".

HTH


Peter Moore

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From: davidk1302@aol.com (DavidK1302)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 14 Dec 1995 11:52:05 -0500
Reply-To: davidk1302@aol.com (DavidK1302)


You are completely correct. The Mary Rose was a Tudor-era battleship
of King Henry VIII. It carried a rather large cannon that the gun
designers hoped would terribly intimidate the French and other powerful
navies. Since this gun was mounted on the upper decks of this many tiered
ship, once out to sea it was realized the ship was top heavy. As feared
the ship eventually heeled onto its side and sank into the British Solent
(near Portsmouth). Expeditions in the 70s (I believe and even the 30s) of
this century dredged up many artifacts preserved even in the deep water.
Numerous artifacts were of high interest to Archery History scholars
including the wonderful box of 139 bowstaves. (Also found were thousands
of arrows, some badly corroded arrowheads, leather mitten worn to fire
flaming arrows, armguards, and a flat leather disk to carry 24 arrows at
the waist on a belt.) The skeletal remains of the archers showed
distorted shoulders from holding back bowstrings for most of their lives.
Many great books are available in libraries on this subject, and there
is an exceptional National Geographic issue (May 1982/3(?).

Dave Kerber

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From: rob@ccc.govt.nz (Rob McNeur)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 15 Dec 95 09:09:59 NZDT


In article <4amrdf$10q@news.asu.edu>, colterd@imap2.asu.edu writes:
> I have been following the thread about medieval draw weights with
> interest. I have seen references the "Mary Rose" and am curious what
> this is. I am guessing that it is a sunken ship that has been raised, but
> that is my best guess based on what I have read n this thread. My
> question is what is the story about the Mary Rose.
>
The Mary Rose was a Tudor war/transport ship for Henry VIII, sunk in 1545
on the way from England to France.
The fuller story is spelt out in Robert Hardy's 'Longbow: a Social and
military History' (3rd edition, it isn't in the earlier ones).

Basically, the ship sank and was quickly covered in silt. everything on
board was well preserved and many things were recovered almost 100% intact,
138 longbows, arrows etc, even a bowstring survived by being placed under its
owner's cap.
A more thorough attempt was made since 1979 to recover everything from the
ship.
Using the bowstaves recovered, new bows have been crafted to the same
dimensions etc as the originals, and the results measured. Unfortunately,
the years underwater had weakened the bows enough that while they stayed in
1 piece, they were not really reliably drawable.


Rob McNeur

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From: bblohm@boi.hp.com (Bill Blohm)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 17:06:26 GMT


DavidK1302 (davidk1302@aol.com) wrote:
<SNIP>
: the waist on a belt.) The skeletal remains of the archers showed
: distorted shoulders from holding back bowstrings for most of their lives.

And shortened, thickened arm bones from holding the bow out while at draw.
These guys were real professional archers, spending more time at it than
we'd dream of.

As I recall, this one ship, the Mary Rose, gave us one of the best looks
into life aboard a warship of the time as well as an excellent look at
the English of the time, although somewhat limited in "topic."

Bill B.

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Reply-To: jagj@rhyolite.win-uk.net (John Jones)
From: jagj@rhyolite.win-uk.net (John Jones)
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 1995 08:59:33 GMT
Subject: Re: Mary Rose



In article <4apknl$hr9@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, DavidK1302 (davidk1302@aol.com)
writes:
> You are completely correct. The Mary Rose was a Tudor-era battleship
>of King Henry VIII. It carried a rather large cannon that the gun
>designers hoped would terribly intimidate the French and other powerful
>navies. Since this gun was mounted on the upper decks of this many tiered
>ship, once out to sea it was realized the ship was top heavy. As feared
>the ship eventually heeled onto its side and sank

You're making this up ... in fact, the Mary Rose was a
perfectly well-designed and well-found ship. She carried
her heavy guns (41 of them) on the lower decks, firing
through lidded ports in the hull. The fact is, that all
sailing warships, like modern car ferries, were inherently
unstable because of the long, unobstructed deck just above
sea level. The Mary Rose (named after Henry VIII's
sister) sank because she was mishandled by the crew.



John Jones

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From: davidk1302@aol.com (DavidK1302)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 18 Dec 1995 00:46:32 -0500
Reply-To: davidk1302@aol.com (DavidK1302)


jagj@rhyolite.win-uk.net (John Jones) replied:
<<You're making this up ... in fact, the Mary Rose was a
<<perfectly well-designed and well-found ship. She carried
<<her heavy guns (41 of them) on the lower decks, firing
<<through lidded ports in the hull. The fact is, that all
<<sailing warships, like modern car ferries, were inherently
<<unstable because of the long, unobstructed deck just above
<<sea level. The Mary Rose (named after Henry VIII's
<<sister) sank because she was mishandled by the crew.

I suppose thats a much more valid point than what I originally
posted...I guess I got worked into the hype and drama of the story from
the books and National Geographic and left the more pertinent details of
the Mary Rose's construction behind. (Not to mention only the archery
related info concerned me and this group and not specifically the ship
itself.) Next time I'll state just the facts.

-David

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Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 19 Dec 1995 14:00:55 GMT

Available archaeological data suggests Mary Rose may have been
carrying guns of considerable weight fairly high in her upperworks. Of
course most of the artillery was carried on lower decks. If all sailing
ships were inherently unstable, they would all turn over. Mary Rose was
considered a safe design for her time, and was indeed rather old when
sunk.
The problem was not inherent stability, per se, but a combination of
overloading with personnel, some heavy artillery moved too high in the
hull for greater tactical command, and apparently simply poor handling
by an "unruly" crew. The Swedish Royal vessel "Vasa" sunk on her maiden
voyage in the 17th century due to similar conditions. I must say I'm
enjoying this thread.

DRW

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From: jeff1020@aol.com (Jeff 1020)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 20 Dec 1995 13:25:22 -0500

I thought that there were so many bow staves on the Mary Rose because all
ships returning to England were required by law to bring a set number of
bow staves and arrow shafts. Also aren't all saliing ships unstable why
else would they need things like ballist, and keels.

Jeffery E. Reader

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From: j.m.muller@student.utwente.nl (Marcelo Muller)
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 18:29:24 cet


Hope I am not duplicating a posting, but the Mary Rose Trust is on the web at:

http://www.synergy.net/channels/maryrose/homeport.html


If you do get the chance to visit it, do so. The longbow display is small but
good, the rest of the exhibit is also worth it, especially if you like
nautical history.

Seasons greetings,

Marcelo

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: jagj@rhyolite.win-uk.net (John Jones)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 08:20:55 GMT
Subject: Re: Mary Rose


In article <4b9kei$ham@newsbf02.news.ail.coma>, Jeff 1020 (jeff1020@ail.coma)
writes:
>I thought that there were so many bow staves on the Mary Rose because all
>ships returning to England were required by law to bring a set number of
>bow staves and arrow shafts. Also aren't all sailing ships unstable why
>else would they need things like ballast, and keels.
>

All ships, period; though modern ships have engines which
replace the ballast. The point about sailing warships and
vehicle ferries, is that there is a long, unobstructed
deck, the whole length and width of the ship, just above
sea level. If the crew allow water to get on this deck,
the movement of the water will capsize the ship without
warning. This happened to several sailing warships, such
as the Royal George, which sank while at anchor; it was
also the reason for the Zeebrugge disaster five years ago,
when the Herald of Free Enterprise sank after sailing
with the bow doors open.

As for you point about the bow staves, this is correct, but
the Mary Rose was a warship, not a merchantman; the
bowstaves found would have been spares or replacements.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Martin Gregory <martyg@well.com>
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 22 Dec 1995 04:30:31 GMT

Dows anyone know where to get specific information about archery
equipment found on the Mary Rose? I have Hardy's "Longbow" of course and
another book by Enle Bradford called "The Story of the Mary Rose",
written just before she was raised. It contains a couple of tantalizing,
none too sharp photos of arrows and I would like to know more about what
studies have been done and findings. The fletchings were obviously tied
on then painted with something. What was the substance? The nocks are
reinforced with some material (horn or bone?) in perpendicular slots. It
appears to be intact in the picture.

The web site has no contact information for the museum. I hope to get
over there for a visit sometime but it is a long way from California.

Thanks for any pointers or info,

Martin Gregory

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From: "David R. Watson" <crossbow@moontower.com>
Subject: Re: Mary Rose
Date: 22 Dec 1995 15:22:11 GMT

Cargo carrying ships returning to England were indeed required, at
certain periods, to return with Yew bow staves. Whether that was still
the case in 1545, I do not know. The Mary Rose was a royal warship
(insofar as the type was distinguishable from an armed merchant at the
time) and mustered in English waters, to fight a threatened invasion.
Since she was not returning from overseas, she would not have had the
required staves. Note also that the bows on the Rose were complete,
finished bows, not staves.

As to stability, many ships require ballast for stability at sea. If
the Mary Rose had been loaded with a cargo, she would have had little or
perhaps no ballast. The question of stability is a thorny one. The
ship was pretty old at the time of the battle, about 30 years, as I
recall, though she had had at least one refit and rebuild. She was
certainly old enough to be a proven safe vessel.

The question of her instability in action really seems to be one of
overloading with soldiers and sailors, and some heavy artillery moved
higher in the ship than normal, for greater tactical command. Just
before the ship rolled over, she exhibited some strange behavior, and
when hailed by another captain, the commander of the Mary Rose reported
he had "The kind of Knaves I cannot Rule" Sounds like green or
incompetent crew compounded the stability problems. Mary Rose made a
sharp turn, while engaging in a gunnery duel with French ships, and
rolled the lower gunports on one side under water, the ship filled
through the ports and sank. 30 or 40 survivors from perhaps 600 aboard.

DRW. Merry Christmas.


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