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Tudor Trivia – How tall were the crew of the Mary Rose?

Tudor Trivia

A snippet of interesting trivia relating to the Mary Rose, and Tudor life in general. Updated most Tuesdays.

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How tall were the Crew of the Mary Rose?

The Mary Rose Archer

This reconstructed Archer, based on human remains recovered from the Mary Rose, stands 5’9, the same as the average adult male in the UK today.

There’s a popular myth that people were considerably smaller in the past, varying from being about a foot shorter than the modern average to practically hobbit-sized!


The average height of the crew of the Mary Rose seems to have been 5’7 (170cm), which isn’t far off the modern UK male average of 5’9 (175cm). Indeed, one of our archers, who we’ve had reconstructed in the museum, was 5’9 (175cm), and wasn’t even the tallest, who was 5’11 (180cm).


The shortest adult was 5’3, which while it is quite short, isn’t much shorter than people get today.


Often the low height of door frames and ship’s beams give the impression that the people of the time were shorter, but this is often less to do with the people, and more to do with practical purposes. Smaller doors let less heat out; while a ship carrying guns that weigh over three tonnes need a lot of support for the decks. The people of the past probably banged their heads just as often as we do!


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