Meet the Crew of the Mary Rose

Carpenter’s Chests


The Carpenter’s cabin was a treasure house for Tudor artefacts. We found three chests in the cabin, two full of the carpenter’s personal items and the other containing his tools. Only the wooden handles of the tools survived underwater, all the iron had rusted away.


The first chest is just an open box. This was full of his tools. It was used in the same way as a modern toolbox in a workshop. Inside it were bits of wood, lead, rulers, planes, a tinder box, a mallet, and lots of tool handles.


The second chest was far better built than the first one, with a lid and wooden handles. There is a hole at the front for a lock and the lid was held on with hinges. This was probably his clothes chest; we found traces of cloth and bits of braid and thread in it. There was also a small knife handle and two whetstones, for sharpening tools.


The last chest from the cabin was very fancy. The sides are fixed together with “dovetail” joints, it had a lock and ring-shaped hinges, and a little shelf inside. This chest was made of walnut wood. As well as a couple of small tools, it contained four pewter plates, silver coins and rings and a leather book cover.