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Tudor Trivia – The Boats 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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The Boats of the Mary Rose

The "Great Boat" of the Mary Rose.

The “Great Boat” of the Mary Rose.
Image courtesy of the Pepys Library, Magdelene College Cambridge

The Anthony Roll, which features one of only two contemporary depictions of the Mary Rose, shows the Mary Rose with a boat being towed along behind (see right).


The Mary Rose, like most large ships in Henry’s fleet, would have had three boats; a “Great Boat”, a “Cock Boat” and a “Jolly Boat”, all fitted with sails and oars (20 on the great boat, six on the cock and four on the jolly), and the former two being fitted with rudders and iron sheaves on the bow to assist in handling anchors.


While the remains of none of these were recovered from the Mary Rose, likely due to them being recovered shortly after her loss at the Battle of the Solent, we did recover a single oar on the upper deck, 5.1 metres in length and presumably used on the Great Boat.


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