Glossary of Terms
This glossary attempts to give simple meanings to often complex technical terms used in ships, and to apply them as they have been used in the Mary Rose. For that reason variations of the terms are restricted.
Aft:Towards the stern.
Anchor arm: The lower part of an iron anchor
Anchor fluke: The broad end of the arm of an anchor
Anchor shank: The main stem of an anchor
Anchor stock: The cross-timber at the upper part of an anchor
Apron timber: An inner stem
Ballast: A quantity of gravel to provide weight in the bottom of the vessel so as to increase stability and lower the centre of gravity
Beam: (a) timber – a transverse timber that crossed the ship and supported a deck, and helped to brace the hull
(b) measurement – the greatest breadth of the ship.
Bilge: The lowest part of the interior of the ship.
Blinds: Known as ‘pavesses’ in the sixteenth century, these were rectangular boards that were fastened along the top of the ship’s side in the waist. They are believed to have been removable shields providing gaps through which archers shot arrows
Block: A contrivance used with rope (tackle) in a ship’s rigging. It comprises a shell that supports a sheave or roller over which a rope is run. Blocks occur in a great variety of shapes and size depending upon their use
Boltrope: The rope sewn along the edge of a sail to give it strength and prevent the fabric tearing.
Bolts: Substantial iron fastenings attaching major structures in the ship, such as the keel, frames and keelson
Bonaventure mizzen mast: The small mizzen mast situated furthest aft in the Mary Rose
Bow: The forward part of the vessel.
Bowline: The rope attached to the ‘leech’ (side) of a sail by which it is hauled forward, letting the wind into the sail
Bowsprit: A heavy mast projecting forward from which a head sail was set
Brace: (a) A long rope leading forward and aft from the ends of the yards (the ‘yardarms’) by which theywere swung at different angles to enable the sails to propel the ship
(b) Vertical and diagonal strengthening timber attached to the inboard face of the side of the hull
Brail: Rope used to gather in and secure a sail
Breech block: The metal cartridge of a breech-loading gun in which the gunpowder charge is placed and fired
Capstan:A vertical cylindrical device on a deck used for winding cable, so as to heave anchors, hoist yards and undertake other heavy work.
Carling: Fore-and-aft deck support timber between the transverse deck beams
Carvel built: Edge-to-edge outer planking giving a smooth-sided hull.
Castle deck: The lower Sterncastle deck of the Mary Rose, part of which was found
Caulking: The wadding that has been driven or placed in the seam between any timbers of the hull or deck to make the vessel watertight
Ceiling: The planks lining the interior of a ship inside the frames
Chain plates: The iron fittings bolted to the side of the ship to take the stress of the rigging below the timber shelf (‘channel’)
Chain wale: The thick strake in the side of the ship to which the chain plates were attached (see Fig. 6.23).
Channel: A narrow platform or shelf attached to the side of the ship to support the lower end of the rope shrouds that supported the masts. The purpose of the shelf is to give a greater spread to the shrouds
Chine: A sharp change in direction in the transvers section.
Clamp: A heavy fore-and-aft timber on the inside of the hull that supported the ends of the half-beams of a deck
Clinker built: A method of planking the hull of a vessel in which the lower edge of one strake overlaps the upper edge of the strake below and is made watertight with a caulking. It does not apply to the overlapping weatherboarding of the Sterncastle of the Mary Rose.
Companionway: A staircase or ladder giving access between decks
Compartments: Spaces between the partitioned areas of the ship
Dale: A timber trough to carry water out of the ship
Deadeye: A rounded block of wood with a groove around the edge for either the iron strap of a chain plate or the lower end of a rope shroud. It also has several holes through it for the rope lanyard. Deadeyes act in pairs, the lower one attached to the chain plate and the upper one attached to the shroud
Dead-rise: The rise of the bottom of the vessel inboard towards the ends.
Deadwood: The solid timbering at the stern of a vessel above the keel. Strictly, the Mary Rose appears not to possess deadwood in the conventional sense.
Deadwood cover: A removable board in the ceiling at the bottom of the ship towards the stern.
Deck, Sterncastle: In this case the term refers to the discovered platform inboard in the Sterncastle. In fact it was the lower Castle deck, the upper Castle deck having been destroyed (see also Deck, poop).
Deck, Main: The widest deck of the ship, between the Orlop deck below and the Upper deck above
Deck, Orlop: The lowest deck in the ship
Deck, poop: The uppermost deck of the Sterncastle, usually aft of the mizzen mast (see also Deck, Sterncastle).
Deck, Upper: The uppermost through deck of the ship, in three parts: the forward portion under the Forecastle, the middle portion in the waist that was open to the weather, and the aftermost portion under the Sterncastle. In the Mary Rose each part of this deck probably had a different name
Decorative panel: One of a series of carved panels with elaborately shaped openings, from the ship’s side in the castles
Draught: The depth of water needed to float the vessel.
Fairing: Ensuring a smoothly curving surface across the face of many separate frames.
Fashion piece/frame: A curved timber forming the edge of the flat transom stern of the Mary Rose, where it joined the ship’s side
Fender: A device to take the shock of contact between a ship when alongside a quay or another vessel.
Filler pieces: Pieces of timber used to fill spaces between the frames of the Mary Rose.
Floor timbers/floors: The lowest transverse frames in the ship
Forecastle: The raised castle at the forward end of the ship, sometimes termed ‘bowcastle’
Foremast: The upright mast located furthest forward
Forward: Towards the bow.
Frame: A transverse timber or rib, part of the skeleton structure of a ship. The lowest parts of frames are termed ‘floor-timbers’, and the lengths of timber forming the upper parts of a frames are termed ‘futtocks’. The term does not define the method of construction
Master: The transverse frame that defined the widest part of a ship’s hull (sometimes several equal frames); often called the midship bend
Pre-moulded: The shape is defined prior to construction, sometimes including the bevel.
Single-quadrant: A frame whose shape was defined as a pure arc (and was therefore premoulded) up to the widest part of the hull; it could be used in combination with a flat floor, or a deadrise.
Tail: A pair of frames fore-and-aft, in the quarters, pre-moulded in some way as modifications of the master frame, marking the ends of either the geometrically (and later arithmetically) moulded central section of a hull, or the position of frames to be used with ribbands to generate the shape of other frames empirically.
Many other names occur: ‘quarter-frame’, ‘balance frame’, ‘almogamas’, etc.
Futtock: Segment of a timber frame (see Fig. 4.4).
Double: A relatively late development of framing in which two full frames have their butts staggered; usually through-fastened to make a rigid whole that can be lifted as a single unit.
Filling: Frame piece inserted to fill a gap between the regular framing, to consolidate the whole.
Floating: Part of a frame that is not fastened to any other frame timber. Where shape consists of a single arc (as in some Iberian traditions) the vertical position is also relatively flexible. Might be supported on ribbands, ahead of any planking.
Galley:The cooking compartments of the ship which, in the Mary Rose, seem to have existed in the Hold
and on the Orlop deck
Garboard strake:A strake immediately next to the keel
Grapnel:A small several-pronged anchor normally used for dragging for lost articles, or employed to hold vessels together
Grating:Wooden openwork cover for a hatch
Gudgeon: Iron ring fittings in the after edge of thesternpost used to hang a rudder by its pintles
Gunport: Usually a square opening in the ship’s side through which a gun was fired
Gunport lid: The hinged cover that enabled a gunport to be closed when not in use
Gun rail: A timber rail in the ship’s side above the Upper deck and at the base of the Sterncastle, in which there are a number of holes for swivel guns
Gunwale: The uppermost rail or timber of a ship’s side
Half-beam: Small short transverse deck beam filling the space between the main deck beams. Halfbeams were supported at the side of the ship by timber deck clamps, and inboard by carlings
Halliard: Rope or tackle for hoisting sails and yards
Hatch: An opening in a deck
Hatch coaming: The raised surround of a hatch to prevent water getting below
Hatch covers: Moveable timber lids used to close a hatch
Hauling down (or up): Where the frames are varied fore and aft from the master frame by progressive geometric or arithmetic adjustments, in the English system as described c. 1600, the centres of the arcs for the ‘wronghead’ and breadth are moved first on the moulding surface (or drawing). The futtock arc is reconciled as tangent to the other two. The changing length of the chord of the futtock arc (and subsequently others in the toptimbers and hollowing curves) can be determined and used to mark the surmarks where the actual frame pieces will align. This is the measure of the hauling down, or shortening of the arc; it may sometimes become a lengthening, the hauling up.
Hogged:A term applied to a vessel whose bow and stern have drooped.
Hold: The lowest part of the ship, usually used for the stowage of equipment and supplies
Hull: The shell structure of frames and planks of a ship
Keel: The central longitudinal strengthening beam in bottom of a ship, from which rise the frames and the stem and sternposts
Keelson: A longitudinal strengthening timber overlying the keel and bottom frames inside the ship
Knee: An angled timber, usually carved from naturally angled tree growth, fastening the intersection of timbers such as deck beams to the frames of a ship’s side. A ‘hanging knee’ is angled downwards, a ‘lodging knee’ is angled horizontally (see Fig. 11.4d), and a ‘rising knee’ is angled upwards
Lift: Rope leading from a mast down to the end of a yard
Limber board: Removable board in the bottom ‘ceiling’ planking of a ship to give access to the drainage limbers below
Limber hole: Hole in the underside of a bottom frame or floor-timber which allows bilge-water to flow to the lowest part of a ship so that it can be pumped out
Lines plan: A drawing comprising three orthogonal views (elevation, plan, and body plan, transverse sections), with sufficient sections to define the shape of a hull in great detail. Only relatively simple plans are extant from the sixteenth century; multiple transverse sections are common, but the three views are never laid out orthogonally nor are they fully comparable with more recent lines plans.
Main deck: The widest deck of the ship, between the Orlop deck below and the Upper deck above
Martnet: An early term for a rope, nowadays called a ‘leech line’, that was fastened to the side of a square sail
Mast, bonaventure mizzen: The fourth and aftermost mast of the ship
Mast, foremast: The upright mast located furthest forward
Mast, main: The second mast from the bow
Mast, mizzen: The third mast from the bow
Mast, topmast: The length of mast above the lowestpart of a mast
Mast, topgallant: The length of mast above the topmast
Mast-partner: The planks of a deck fitted around a mast to close the opening
Mast-step: Socket in the keelson to hold the foot of a mast
Metacentric height: Distance between the metacentre and the centre of gravity in a ship, used for calculating a ship’s stability
Midships (or ‘amidships’): The centre of the foreand- aft length of a ship, sometimes applied to a ship’s waist.
Moulded: The thickness measurement of a frame, keel or stem or sternpost.
Moulded breadth sweep: A timber formed as a relatively small radius arc, forming the maximum breadth of the ship, from roughly the waterline upwards.
Mortise: A carpentry recess cut in a timber used in a joint with another timber
Sliding: An elongated recess cut in a beam to allow the tenon at the end of a stanchion to be fitted.
Orlop deck: The lowest deck in the ship
Partition: A timber wall forming the side of a compartment
Pawl: A short piece of iron used to prevent any backward motion in a windlass.
Pintle: The hook or pin in the forward edge of a rudder used to hang the rudder on a ring-shaped gudgeon in a sternpost
Poop deck: The uppermost deck of the Sterncastle, usually aft of the mizzen mast (see also Deck, Sterncastle).
Port side: The left-hand side of a ship looking forward.
Rabbet: Longitudinal recess cut in the face of a timber, particularly in the keel, stempost and sternpost, to receive planks.
Rail, upper: The uppermost horizontal timber of the side of the ship in the waist
Ribband: A fore-and-aft wooden batten used in ship construction temporarily to support and mark the position of the transverse frames.
Rider: Transverse timber inboard of the ceiling in the bottom of a ship used to strengthen the hull
Rigging rail: A horizontal timber attached to the outboard standards on the sides of the Sterncastle of the Mary Rose, to which rigging ropes were tied
Rigging, running: Ropes used mainly for setting and furling sails
Rigging, standing: Fixed ropes mainly used to support the masts
Rocker: A slightly curved fore-and-aft keel.
Room-and-space: The distance from the forward edge of one frame to the forward edge of the next in the bottom of a ship.
Scantlings: The dimensions of timbers that form the structure of a ship.
Scarf: The shaping of two timbers enabling them to be fastened together
Scupper:Waterway through the side of the ship to allow surface water to be drained outboard
Seam: The gap between two ship’s timbers, particularly planks
Seam batten: Narrow timber covering a seam between the hull planking below the waterline
Sequential patterning: The framing was raised in stages, and while not identical, each frame followed the same pattern of lengths and overlaps of floors, futtocks, etc, for most of the length of the hull.
Sided:The width measurement of a frame, keel or stemor sternpost.
Sheer hook: Curved metal blade, on the yardarm of the Mary Rose, used to cut the rigging of enemy vessels
Sheave: The wheel in the centre of a pulley block
Sheet: Rope used to control a sail
Shroud: Rope used to hold mast upright, attached to the chain at a ship’s side with deadeyes and
Skeg: The projecting after-end of the keel protecting the lower end of the rudder (see Fig. 6.23).
Sleeper: Heavy longitudinal timber laid inside the framing as reinforcement.
Spike: An iron nail.
Spiling: The shapes of the outer planks at the bow and stern to accommodate the changing form of the hull.
Stanchion: Upright pillar between deck beams to help support the decks
Standard: A vertical timber attached to the outside of the ship to strengthen the upper part of the hull
Standing rigging: Fixed ropes mainly used to support the masts
Starboard side: The right-hand side of a ship looking forward.
Stay: A rigging rope that supports a mast from forward
Stealer: Short length of outer plank in the side of a ship used to fill gap left by the main strakes
Stempost: The upright forward timber of the hull to which both sides of the ship are attached in rabbets
Stern:The after part of a vessel.
Sterncastle: The elevated after part of a vessel with, in the Mary Rose, originally two decks
Sterncastle deck: In this case the term refers to the discovered deck in the Sterncastle. This appears to have been the lower of two deck in the Sterncastle, the upper Castle deck having been destroyed
Sternpost: The upright aft timber of the hull to which both sides of the ship are attached in rabbets
Strake: A line of planks forming the outer skin of the vessel
Stringer: An internal longitudinal beam giving additional strength to a ship
Surmark: A point of overlap between two frame pieces in pre-moulded framing, usually at the change of arcs in a geometric design.
Tenon: a projecting piece of timber, usually to fit into a mortise.
Thick-stuff: Longitudinal timber such as wales, much thicker than planking.
Tie: The part of a halyard which hoists a yard. It passed up from the yard to a fitting on the mast where it was attached to the halyard
Tiller: A wooden bar attached to the top of a rudder, and used to turn the rudder
Tingle: An insert of wood or metal into a timber, sometimes to protect the sunken head of a fastening.
Top: A fighting platform attached to the upper part of a mast. There were several in the Mary Rose, one of which was found but it was too small to use and so was presumably decorative
Transom: Substantial transverse timber at the stern
Transom stern: Flat after end of the vessel
Treenail: A wooden nail used to fasten timbers together
Tumble home:The inward sloping sides of a ship above the waterline.
Upper deck: The uppermost through deck of the ship, in three parts: the forward portion under the
Forecastle, the waist that was open to the weather, and the aftermost portion under the Sterncastle.
In the Mary Rose each part of this deck probably originally had a different name
Upper rail: The uppermost horizontal timber of the side of the ship in the waist
Waist: The low part of the vessel between the high Forecastle and Sterncastle
Wale: An extra-thick plank running fore-and-aft in the side of the ship
Waterway: A channel serving as a gutter at the side of the ship’s deck.
Weatherboarding: Overlapping planks on the outboard side of the Sterncastle
Whipstaff: A method of turning a rudder by means of a vertical lever attached to the inboard end of the tiller which allows the helmsman on a deck above to lever the tiller sideways
White stuff: A protective coating of waterproofing material on the outboard face of the hull planking below the waterline.
Whole-moulding: A process in which the same mould is used for the major part of most frames. It is probably ancient, and is best known from descriptions of small craft in the nineteenth century, but the term itself does not occur before about 1700. There is no record of its contemporary use to describe the more complex process using moulds with multiple parts as in the Mary Rose, and as described in texts of c. 1600.
Windlass: A machine used to wind rope in the Mary Rose. It had a horizontal roller and was turned by handles, and would have had a pawl as a brake
Wrunghead [wronghead]: The curved outer end of a floor timber, where the bilge commences and the
overlap with the futtocks occurs; that point in the hull.
Yard: A horizontal spar located near the top of a mastfrom which a sail is set. The ends of the yard are termed ‘yardarms’