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The Mary Rose

On 11 October 1982, King Henry VIII's favourite battleship, the Mary Rose, was raised from the sea bed where it had laid for 471 years after sinking in battle. 

Mary Rose

The ship was built in 1509, the year Henry VIII came to the throne. King Henry VIII named his favourite ship after his sister.

On 19 July 1545, disaster struck the Mary Rose. The French had landed on the Isle of Wight. Henry came to Southsea Castle to watch his fleet leave Portsmouth and engage with the French force in the Solent.

At the head of the English fleet was his pride and joy the Mary Rose.

From his advantage point on top of Southsea castle, Henry had a commanding view of the impending battle. Unfortunately, right before his eyes he watched one of the greatest naval tragedies, the sinking of his flagship, the Mary Rose.

gun portIt is not known exactly what happened to cause the sinking of the ship, but one theory suggests that the crew fired the guns on one side of the ship and were turning the ship to fire the guns on the other side. Unfortunately, they failed to close the gun ports and a combination of this and the wind caused the ship to tilt, fill with water and sink.

The Mary Rose sank within a matter of minutes with seven hundred sailors lost.

The discovery and submerging of the Mary Rose in 1982 has provided us with a unique glimpse of maritime life in Portsmouth during the reign of Henry VIII. The remains of the Mary Rose are now on display at Portsmouth Dockyard Naval Museum.

Below you can see some of the bronze guns recovered from the Mary Rose. Each one of them is uniquely decorated with royal devices, coats of arms and even Henry VIII's name.


A great number of artifacts were uncovered during excavation, including navigational and medical equipment, carpentry tools, guns, longbows, arrows with traces of copper-rich binding glue still remaining on the tips, cooking and eating utensils, lanterns, backgammon boards, playing dice, logs for the galley's ovens and a total of ninety-one guns.  

Further information

The Mary Rose
Life aboard the Mary Rose

Explorer the Mary Rose


Also on this day......

11 October: Canada Thanksgiving Day

11 October: Columbus Day

11 October 1968: Apollo 7 was launched from Cape Kennedy, making it the first manned flight of the Command Module that would carry men to the moon.

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