All About History

The Mary rose

Henry VIII’S beloved flagship


Upon his accession, the monarch had inherited a small navy and needed to expand it to compete with the other European powers, namely France and Spain. Around 1510, production on the Mary Rose began and it was destined to become the most famous warship of the king’s navy as well as Henry’s firm favourite. At the same time, Henry commission­ed another warship, the Peter Pomegranat­e, likely named in honour of Catherine, whose badge was a pomegranat­e. The Mary Rose, meanwhile, was probably named after the Virgin Mary, who was

often referred to as ‘Mary the Mystic Rose’ during the time the ship was created. The Mary Rose took part in Henry’s campaigns against France, most memorably during the England’s time as a member of the Holy League in 1512. Aside from perhaps testing the Channel waters on the way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, it was largely kept out of action during the 1520s and 30s, undergoing a major rebuild. The ship would not grace the water again until 1545, when it was sunk during the Battle of the Solent just outside Portsmouth Harbour.

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