Drink on the Mary Rose
In Tudor times water often wasn’t safe to drink. Milk was usually made into butter or cheese, and fruit juice wouldn’t keep for long. The English hadn’t discovered tea and coffee yet, so everybody drank beer. Even children drank beer, though it wasn’t as strong as beer today!
The sailors on the Mary Rose had a ration of a gallon of beer a day, that’s nearly four litres!
Beer was a very important part of the sailors’ diet. It contains lots of calories and is a good source of vitamin B. The navy needed to buy huge amounts of beer to keep the ships’ crews happy and healthy; it was much safer to drink than water because the brewing process killed most of the germs (not that they knew why at the time!)
A lot of the navy’s beer was made in royal breweries. In 1525 there were at least five royal breweries in Portsmouth, called the Rose, Lyon, Dragon, Whiteharte and the Ankre (Anchor).
Wine was only drunk by the richer people in Henry VIII’s time. The officers on the Mary Rose drank wine as well as beer. Most wine came from France, but strong, sweet wine from the Mediterranean was very popular.