19 July – The Mary Rose and Mary Boleyn


On this day in Tudor history, 19th July 1545, Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, sank right in front of his eyes in the Battle of the Solent between the English and French fleets.

But why did the Mary Rose sink?

In today’s “on this day” video, I share the various theories on the sinking of the Mary Rose, as well as talking about the salvage operations over time, her raising in 1983, and the work of the Mary Rose Trust.

See https://maryrose.org/ for details on visiting the ship and the museum.

And also on this day in history, 19th July 1543, Mary Boleyn died. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and his wife, Elizabeth Howard. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, and was also the sister of the late Queen Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. At the time of her death, Mary was married to William Stafford, but had previously been married to William Carey, a member of Henry VIII’s Privy Chamber and an Esquire of the Body. She had two children during the course of her first marriage: Catherine, born in around 1524, and Henry, born in 1526. Carey died of sweating sickness in June 1528 and Mary went on to marry Stafford secretly and without her family’s permission in 1534.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Mary Boleyn, you can read articles on her here at https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/category/mary-boleyn/ or you can enjoy this Mary Boleyn playlist:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 19th July 1553, the reign of Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) was brought to an end when Mary, the late King Edward VI’s half-sister, was officially proclaimed queen in London. Hear contemporary accounts of how the news was celebrated in last year’s video:

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46 thoughts on “19 July – The Mary Rose and Mary Boleyn”
  1. This would have been a horrible sight to witness especially knowing there was nothing you could do to save the men trapped inside. I had heard that during her most recent refit new gunports had possibly been cut into her hull too close to the waterline but then a few years later read that after studying the remains of the ship the location of the new gunports was fine and should have had no bearing on her safety. It just seems like a combination of factors all coming together: inexperienced crew, inexperienced captain, too sharp a turn in a high wind when trying to present her broadside. Regardless of the cause a terrible loss of life.

  2. There are many theories about how the Mary Rose sank, most of which are easily dismissed because there isn’t any evidence to back them up or because further research has put them into perspective.

    The theory of her being overcrowded and over loaded is based on pure speculation on how many men were on board. The refit was some ten years earlier and would have taken account of any potential problems with balance and weight and the ship had seen action since then.

    The theory that the crew were in competent is prejudiced by the fact it was written by the brother of the inexperienced commander Peter Carew, who had stated that the crew were something of an unruly rabble. Carew went down with the vessel unfortunately and we can’t interrogate him afterwards. There is, however, an explanation for what he said, which we now know from documentary evidence and DNA of the crew. Many of them were from Spain and Italy and were hired as mercenaries after being shipwrecked or drawn to England by commerce. Carew may simply have been unable to make himself heard and understood in the heat of battle. The scenes were chaotic in any case, with the smoke and noise, the heat of battle, orders and counter orders, people being hit and wounded or dying, the voices came from every direction and canon roared. Carew may well have found it difficult in such chaos and with many different languages, this may well explain a lack of strict discipline.

    The two most predominantly popular and accepted theories that do stand up to scrutiny are that she was hit earlier, while unable to sail and in her attempts to turn after firing her guns, for some unknown reason her gun ports, designed to be quickly closed, were left open. She took on water and sank. The second theory is that during this manoeuvre that a sudden wind caused her to capzise. Written testimony gives support to both and in fact both are possible. However, she didn’t capsize at once and its now believed that she was heading for the sands in order to allow her crew to get off safely. She was probably caught as she tried to reach safety and having taken on water, her crew trying to pump it out and repair the hole low down in her hold, the result of enemy fire. There is also evidence that a,rescue was attempted on the well known painting of the events. We don’t know the full sequence of events but it was a combination of errors, weather, being hit and taking on water caused the rapid sinking of the Mary Rose. Many of her crew became trapped below decks because of netting put out before action to catch debris. It was a horrific sight, the terrible loss of life and the smell of the gunpowder, the sounds of men drowning, the smell of death everywhere around them, the terrible cries for help, the ship as she sank and got swallowed by the sands. All this was in sight of the King and Lady Carew. Henry was recorded as saying “Oh my men, my poor brave men”. The Battle of the Solent saw off the French and German invasion and England was saved but the loss of the flagship, the pride of England’s Fleet, Henry’s favourite ship and her crew overshadowed that and was a deeply sad loss. It was one of a series of events that year which the King never recovered from.

    1. According to a book I have, published by the Mary Rose Trust the bow of the ship is still on the sea floor covered in mud and they are hoping one day to bring it up. Perhaps it may hold some clues such as battle damage caused by French Canon.

      1. That’s right, a part of the ship is down there, the bow would be where the hit was taken, so maybe it does hold the answers. Of course Henry and England would have a motive not to admit his flagship was hit, but a gust of wind? Really? A hit is more honourable surely? As I said, more than one thing must have happened to sink a veteran vessel with the best provisions on board, best guns, best crew, the latest technology and the fastest gun ports in the West. She was well equipped and her crew well trained. If she had one flaw, it was the appointment of Sir Peter Carew, with less than a few months service. It was like the appointment of David Duckenfield in 1989 to command the big football semi-final between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest in an unsuitable ground, who had no experience of crowd control or football match experience. Both resulted in total disaster with massive loss of life and both are attributed or should be to a lack of leadership and mistakes by those in command. A number of incidents led to the Mary Rose going down, not all preventable but you do wonder if some evidence was doctored in order to excuse her Captain from any blame. Here too is a similar story as both Hillsborough and our ship sinking in the aftermath there is a blatant attempt to deflect blame onto those of lower ranks or to the fans, those whose lives were lost. Unfortunately, I don’t think its possible to examine the bow of the ship but it would make an interesting study. We have, as ever in war, conflicting reports, but again I believe both gunfire and the weather and the panic as the water came in, plus lack of leadership all combined to sink her. I am not a one theory person. I don’t believe one theory precludes others from also being true. More than one thing can be true, especially in something as momentous as the loss of the pride and joy of the King’s fleet with the tragedy of so much loss of life.

        The Mary Rose is an amazing time capsule. As one curator said in a recent documentary: “I have learned far more about life in Tudor England from studying one sea wreck, from working on the Mary Rose than from reading thousands of books” . The museum is amazing, especially now, the artefacts are amazing, the number of personal items found, the canons, the reconstruction of the crew, the study of over 100 complete skeletons, the respect the scientific team has for the people they are studying, the ship had its own standard issues of equipment, the personal beliefs we can see in the belongings, the daily lives of ordinary men opened up and the ship herself. If you ever come to England, Michael, Portsmouth is worth it. Park outside of the historic harbour, don’t go into the lane for the docks, but park just past the bus station, cross the road on foot and hey presto. You might need an early start or to go twice as there is also Nelson ‘s flagship Victory and the Mary Rose will take all day. Plenty of food and drink places on the historic harbour. Wel worth a couple of days visit.

        1. I agree. A shot from a French vessel would have been much more honorable. Wind as a catalyst seemed perfectly valid until the measurements were taken and it was discovered that the lower gunports that were cut into the hull at her most recent refit were not as close to the waterline as previously thought. If she did make a hard turn, even with the gunport covers open there should have been enough freeboard to avoid taking on water. I do hope the MRT is at some point able to raise the bow section. They believe some of the forecastle may still be attached to it.
          Thank you for the parking advice in Portsmouth. That kind of information is valuable no matter where you go. At some point I do want to visit

        2. I believe the refit actually resolved a number of problems, making her quicker and even more advanced as a vessel. The gun ports were designed to be closed quickly. They were practically automatic. The most fantastic part of the modernization of Henry’s fleet were the guns. They could fire anything of any size. The revolution of iron and bronze moulds for canon under Henry saw production of guns and canon on an industrial scale. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have overseen the refit in person to ensure it did nothing to destabilise his prize ship. The wind theory was predominantly the one favoured until more recent research on the ship, such as accurate measurements as you say. She should have avoided taking on water. That’s why its really a mystery. She was the fastest and most manoeuvrable of the fleet, who were all designed for speed and shock and awe. But they had been in service for a number of years. That’s why they were modernised, not once but twice at least. In theory she could have had more men on board as well, making her top heavy but that doesn’t make any sense as its pretty obvious she would have sunk earlier. Anyone can put a boat in a swimming pool, which is what they did back in the 1980s, fill it with toy soldiers and keep going until it sinks and say oh she must have had 800 not 500 on board. Nonsense. That’s very bad science. What about the rigging and the guns and space to move around? All ships were cramped but not to the extent that they cannot operate efficiently. You need a great deal of room to load huge guns and fire them. And she had an army on board! The number of longbows and archers suggested that a section of the crew was on standby for boarding or close range combat with long bows. This was still part of warfare on land and sea. Literally hundreds of bows and arrows were found on board. Henry was ready for a fight. In fact there was a land engagement involving other forces on the Isle of White and the French were seen off. Henry’s fortifications down there were loaded with fire power from hell. A ship could be blown out of the water if they passed one of the barricades out to sea. A number of his castles including the one he watched from that fatal day are around the area. Just don’t go on 19th July. They are all worth a visit. Henry might not have had a good love life, but he took a personal interest in naval development and training, ships and the defence of his country. He visited the entire East Coast to place defences on every bit because his reformation had upset his European rivals and the Battle of the Solent saw 246 vessels attempt an invasion in July 1545. His defensive obsession had paid off. I don’t think it was a great victory for anyone but it prevented an invasion. It would be wonderful to see the forecastle brought up, the rest of the bow, as one part was raised some years ago, but isn’t on display but I do wonder at the state of it now. It was funny the first time we drove to Portsmouth because Steve took the wrong turn and almost ended up going to the Isle of White. I told him the historic harbour, not the docks, which was signed straight ahead, but he never listened. I had to get out, stop the traffic and get him out of the queue into an escape lane and turn back. I think we might have gone up a one way, but I didn’t care. We were stuck and I wasn’t going to the Isle of White. So we turned around and back into town. That’s when we found the bus station and the parking bays just beyond there and practically opposite the entrance to the historic harbour. We only had to walk a few hundred yards. There were some fish and chip shops on the other side. We had to go back again on our way home as we didn’t have time to see the ship which was housed in another building then. However, as it was going to close for four years, we made the effort, going back three days later, suitcases in the boot, to see the ship. Going back again a few years ago, we parked in the same spot. The new museum and the ship now on view, the more interactive experience and the more extensive exhibitions are wonderful. It was a very different experience and of course more research has been done, including how the timbers were laid and made water tight, the keel being laid, measuring them, everything. I can’t see the original swimming pool experiments being viewed as viable science now. We have moved on so much and the study in 2013 of the crew has given us real insight into what they ate, how tall they were, how they died, any diseases or effects of being on board for a number of years, how their bones are changed from their jobs on board, if they did more than one job and a lot more information. One man was looked at and he began as a gunner but injury had meant he couldn’t work as a gunner. He had been found in the gallery, that’s the kitchen and they could say he had moved from being a gunner to a cook which meant he retained employment. That’s interesting information because it also highlighted that many sailors were signed on long-term and returned to service when required over many years. This was their life and they appeared to be well paid and well fed. Religious objects found are often conservative, telling us many crew maintained traditional Catholic beliefs. The Mary Rose had all kinds of standard issue bowels and dishes, with HR carved into them. Then there are personal items like dice, hand carved, a purse with coins in, pipes, tools, knives and even jewellery. The facial reconstruction of a selection of crew means you can meet them. Then there’s those canons. Every single one has a different design on them. Typical designs are HR Tudor Rose and so on, but some are in a different order or have a port cullus or other symbols. Talk about massive! Wow!

          A number of sailors of course were average height, five six or seven or eight, but a number of the complete skeletons are over six foot. It’s believed they were deliberately chosen as the main archers. Now I am wanting to go again to the Museum to see the Mary Rose. Oh maybe one day again soon.

  3. Mary Boleyn was only 43_when she mysteriously died and had enjoyed her inheritance for a mere six months. She was the mother of a 17 year old son and heir and a daughter, Catherine, almost twenty and she would become close to her cousin and possibly half sister, Queen Elizabeth I. She would have at least sixteen children. Mary was probably buried in her own parish but unfortunately her body has vanished. She lived her own life in the end and I would like to think that she found some happiness with the man she had sacrificed her family and status to marry, William Stafford. RIP Mary Boleyn.

    Now to our third Mary. Today should be named The Day of the Three Mary’s.

    Now that the Council, led by the Earl of Arundel and Earl of Pembroke had broken ranks and sided with the rightful Queen, Mary Tudor, who had gathered support over the last ten days or so, Mary was proclaimed Queen. The people wanted the daughter of King Henry Viii, who had been their Princess before she was pushed to one side by her father. Edward may well have had the right to decide who should succeed him but his choice was flawed legally and naturally.

    His Letters Patent that named Jane as his heir were never ratified by Parliament so his Will or Devise remained without legal sanction.

    The Devise ignored the natural order of succession of the Third Act of Succession of 1544 which was still legitimate and had not been repealed. The Act also ignored the fact that everyone expected Mary to follow Edward as in the Will of King Henry Viii and a mainly Catholic population recognised Mary as legitimate, even though a deeply flawed Act of Parliament said otherwise. Edward on the other hand regarded both of his sisters as illegitimate and barred both of them from the Succession. The children of Henry’s sister, Mary, Duchess of Suffolk were next in line, thus Frances Brandon and her three daughters. Frances was overlooked and forced to step aside so as Jane could take her place and hopefully produce a male heir. Frances agreed and carried her daughter’s train, which was commented on by foreign Ambassadors. Mary also of course regarded herself as the true heir and wasn’t going to be denied her rights a second time. If Henry had not have married again and remained married to her mother, she would have become Queen by now in any case. She didn’t regard her parents as being divorced, despite signing a document to save her life and she refused to accept Anne Boleyn as anything but her father’s mistress. She accepted Jane of course, because her mother was now deceased. Mary’s first Act was to declare her self legitimate and her parents marriage lawful. To her Jane was a pawn and a usurper but to others Mary was the rebel and usurper. I believe Mary was right because she was legally next in line and Henry’s true born daughter. Jane was his sister’s granddaughter, hardly next in line. No amount of legal manoeuvres by Edward or even her own father could change how Mary felt or the natural law of succession. Mary took up the sword, gathered her followers and by popular demand and without bloodshed regained her stolen throne. It was over, the fleet, the Lords, the armies, the Council had all gone over to her side and with wild rejoicing on this day, in London Mary I was proclaimed Queen. Jane had been proclaimed in silence. Before Mary even reached the Capital, the parties started, the Bells rang, the fireworks went off, the bonfires were lit and even Mass was being said. Jane’s own father, in an effort to save his skin, tore down the cloth of state as she ate supper. Frances and Henry Grey scuppered away to the Charterhouse, where they lived. Jane was abandoned. The poor young woman must have been totally bewildered and terrified. One tale says she asked to go home. No. She was now prisoner and had to await her fate. Her Queen and judge was on her way to her capital.

    Mary was actually remarkably merciful at this time. Frances managed to get an audience with her friend and cousin and to gain the pardon of herself and Jane’s father. Jane and Guildford were held in luxury but closed confinement until they would be either tried or pardoned. They were tried, but not until November. Mary remained conflicted over Jane until her father rebelled a second time. Most of the Council were pardoned and the only notable exception was John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who was responsible for the whole mess. He was executed. Mary only executed Jane and Guildford and Henry Grey after his involvement in the Wyatt Rebellion which threatened her life. Both her English and some Spanish Councillors persuaded her to act on their condemnation in order to maintain the peace. Not for the first time a monarch had been faced with the horrible choice of executing a rival to gain peace and security for the Kingdom or risk losing an alliance and any chance of security. Her grandfather had faced the same dilemma over the young Earl of Warwick. It was a tragic and terrible choice to make, one which Mary did with great reluctance.

  4. Speaking of Mary I, I am just beginning a new book on her marriage to Prince Philip which has been very deeply researched and is using new evidence to evaluate the myths behind their relationship. Its very academic and very expensive and I only got it with Birthday monies and because it was on special offer. It looks very closely at the treaty which was made and how it limited what Philip could do in the marriage and his political power, making Mary the superior partner and emphasis her regal power alone. Talk about a pre nuptial agreement with attitude, you wouldn’t want to sign this one without reading it carefully. Mary went to great lengths in this legal document to protect the interests of her Kingdom and subjects during and after the marriage was terminated by either of their deaths and contrary to popular myth, Philip wasn’t reluctant to marry Mary. Unlike Anne of Cleves, apparently, more than one modern scholar has pointed out, their meeting wasn’t a disaster and the wedding night very successful. The book looks at several aspects of their joint Monarchy including the great ceremonies which welcomed Philip and his entry into London, the relationship between English people and Spanish, the trade and commercial benefits of the alliance, the cultural aspects of the marriage, the political reality of the relationship, the real reasons why Philip was absent which are more to do with the fact that he inherited the biggest land mass in Christendom in 1556, than any problems between himself and Mary, the personal interaction between them and how her illness and tragedy of childbearing or not really affected them, there are some controversial ideas around the Wyatt Rebellion and the successful partnership as well as the myths of their marriage. The book also looks at the symbols of the joint Monarchy and how Mary and Philip portrayed themselves and their roles to their subjects. As with every royal marriage, even those made for passion and desire, this one had the traditional ideals of being a political, military and religious alliance, bringing support against a common enemy, trade agreements, land and power and the hope of Dynastic inheritance. The difference here was, no part of England would be handed over to the Holy Roman Empire and Mary had no claim the other way. Their children would inherit England but no part of the Holy Roman Empire, not unless that was changed by later legislation and consent. In other words this was a lifetime alliance, not the unity of two Kingdoms. Limited also was the military aid given to Spain against France, although history will show that this was to change out of necessity. That decision led to both a great victory at Saint Quentin in 1557,_never mentioned in popular talks on Mary and in the loss of Calais, at the end of 1558, always mentioned in talks on Mary. The same is true with Elizabeth. England and the defeat of the Spanish Amarda in 1588 is sung from the ceiling but the terrible military disasters that followed in 1589 onwards of counter Amardas are written out of history. The fact that Philip wasn’t the religious obsessive of 1588 at the time of his marriage to Mary but a Renaissance Prince with a forward thinking mind is not very well-known. Thankfully his biographers Geoffrey Parker and Harry Kelsey have put many of the myths around him to bed as well. This book is very well laid out, easy to read, makes use of new archive materials not yet published or long forgotten and much new research and really is enlightening. I would highly recommend it, but for the price. Academic texts don’t have a large print run so they do tend to be expensive. I am certain good libraries will have a copy.

    Its called Mary and Philip: The Marriage of Tudor England and Hapsburg Spain by Alexander Samson.

    1. I looked up the book. You’re not kidding, it’s a bit pricey but I saw it is the first printing. I just finished Heather Darsie’s book on Anna of Cleve’s. When it came out in the US last July it was $45, also as an ebook.I bought it as an ebook a couple of months ago for $9.99. Excellent book. So much more to the reason for the divorce than what is traditionally out there.
      I would like to recommend Inside the Tudor Court by Lauren Mackay published in 2014. It’s a very detailed biography of Eustice Chapuy. She cites all of her sources. This is a man I never gave much thought to but I have really learned to admire him. He had a hard time in England though, his master, Charles V had an unfortunate tendency not to pay his ambassadors. If you’re interested in Henry VIII’s court it’s fascinating to see it from his point of view.

      1. Hi Michael, yes, both books are excellent and I have recommended them several times, you can’t go wrong for a very good read or insight to Henry’s Court from outside sources from either of these works. I hadn’t even thought of Anna as a political refugee in England, but of course she would be if she chose to remain in a country at odds with most of Europe. Her brother was about to be overwhelmed by the forces of Charles V, it wasn’t safe for Anna to travel through parts of Germany or Holland home, the Emperor might not give her safe passage and Cleves was soon to be part of the Holy Roman Empire. The world she had left would soon be gone and there was already conflict between Cleves and Charles over Guelders. Anna was content in England but if it was all kicking off in Europe, she was much better of remaining in England and she was given the legal status of a residence protected as a political refugee. It was certainly a new take on Anna and her reasons for remaining in England. Henry gave Anna the revenue and income and luxurious residential homes and land according to her royal status, she was to have precedence over everyone, save his daughter and wife. Even though she lost some of that income and had to change her homes under Edward, she was still reasonably well off. Her step daughter restored her income and she was in the first chariot at Mary’s coronation. Although there was some trouble after the Wyatt Rebellion Anna remained close to Mary and her panels that she ordered to be made, which are really beautiful reflect her wealth and status.

        Chapuys was really our man behind the scenes and you really do get the inside information on some of the most intimate and important moments of Henry’s life with his wives and his daughter, Mary. I know a number of people dismiss Chapuys but there is so much we really wouldn’t know without him. I have always respected the man because he was plunged into the intimate dirty political and personal mess of Henry Viii and his first wife, the very first day he arrived in England as a young Ambassador in 1529. Although he had been to England for a brief visit in 1527,_he didn’t get going for two years and he was immediately faced with the difficult situation of the Royal divorce. Chapuys would have been forced in reality to take sides even though he remained on good terms with Henry and Katherine. It must have been very unusual to land in the middle of a royal divorce and later an international crisis like that. I have great respect for the way he handled everything with tact and discretion and the sympathy he really showed to Mary and Katherine. His letters are not just diplomatic reports, they are intimate and detailed and often emotional treasures of small details, sometimes rumours, but nevertheless true windows into the life behind the scenes of the human beings who gave us so much colour at the Court of Henry Viii. Reading the correspondence of Chapuys in its historical setting, regardless of any bias or rumours affecting his writing and opinions, we get the best and most accurate feel for what was going on, the intimate and personal tensions between Henry, his wives and their friends and enemies that we could ever wish to have, without being there. Both of these books are real treasures.

        Christine, the author is Alexander Samson, but the book is about £50 to £60.00, although it is probably worth borrowing from a library, if they can order it for you.

    2. Hi Bq, that book sounds interesting can you tell me who is the author please, I have always felt so sorry for Mary in her marriage to Philip because she adored him, but whilst he respected her as his wife and queen he was not enamoured with her, and she missed him dreadfully when he left her for long periods and which was very very sad, he was not with her on her deathbed which would have given her much comfort..

      1. Hi Christine. I’m already online so thoughyt I’d answer your question. BQ quotes the title and author at the very bottom of the post in which she mentioned the book.

        1. I agree, Christine, I think Mary really did miss Philip and I don’t know if there is any light shed in this book but its interesting that more work has been done on their marriage because I think we all make the same assumptions about Philip and I don’t know about you, but I see the older Philip of the Amarda era and think he was always a fanatic. Just like Henry Viii, its easy to see a well-known image from the time of the most famous part of someone in history’s life and settle for that image as representing them during their entire life. The huge, over sized portrait of Henry Viii from 1536/7 based on or by Holbein, hands on hips, legs astride, huge shoulders, exaggerated codpiece and those eyes looking out on the world, designed to intimidate is the classic Henry Viii look. We forget he was a handsome 17 year-old who was thin and athletic and charming for a number of years, a humanist and scholar and a completely different person to the classic Henry of his later years. Philip was a true Renaissance Prince during the 1550s and 1560s and the relationship with England was enlightened and ancient. Commercial protection for English merchants existed in Spain and the same was true in England for Spanish subjects in England. The assumptions of well known images really do play on our knowledge formation abilities. I don’t know if this work will dispel everything we have read before, it probably doesn’t, but I am always open to new research.

          Having said the above, I agree, I believe there are some very sad elements to the marriage of Mary and Philip, mostly because she couldn’t have children and he was absent a lot. She missed him a lot and one might even say Philip was married to England, not necessarily Mary, as he was meant to have proposed to Elizabeth as soon as Mary died. Philip remained a candidate for her hand afterwards. Mary to me appeared emotionally dependent on Philip but again, maybe that’s a misconception. Mary was desperate for a child to succeed her so her husband’s absences would be more keenly felt because of that need. It is interesting that research has been done which puts those absences in a new light and of course it makes more sense as he had responsibilities in his own domains. Still, this is a tragic side of Mary’s life which deserves real attention.

  5. Hi BQ. That’s so interesting regarding the guns being able to fire different kinds of shot. Seems rather ahead of it’s time. Now it’s quite common to have large field guns that can fire anti personnel, armor piercing, high explosive or other rounds. I’m sure modern warships have the same capability.
    I saw a program, I think it was an episode of NOVA that featured the swimming pool experiment. It’s always bugged me. It only proved what COULD happen IF those were the conditions on board at the time but that’s not how it was presented. You’re right. Not too scientific. I’ve heard, on that program and you mentioned it that it was said/rumored that additional troops were on board leading to the ship being top heavy. Where did this information start and why would there even be additional soldiers on board? Wasn’t this a defensive battle? In my mind that would signify transport for an invasion.
    As an aside I just want to state how perfectly this site is working now. Thanks to whoever fixed it 🙂

  6. I recall watching on television when the Mary Rose was being raised from the sea bed, it was very exciting and the coverage was several hours, it was on I think every day for most of the week as it took some expertise and a lot of equipment to raise her, we had the added delight of seeing Henry V111 to, but really it must have been very traumatic to witness, and a dreadful loss of morale when your flagship which is the pride of the fleet flounders like that, particularly in battle, they unearthed the longbows which were in perfect working order and would have taken a very strong experienced sailor to use them, a dreadful tragedy when she sank, but how wonderful that we have her on display now to go and visit and the artefacts that were discovered with her.

    1. I found the footage of her raising a couple of years ago on YouTube. Very exciting. I saw that Prince Charles was there to witness it. Very appropriate as she was a Royal ship. I remember a very precarious moment when they thought they may lose her because it looked like the cradle may give way. What a treasure. Not just a medieval warship but the flagship of England’s most iconic king. With her refits she had quite a long career, 30 yrs. I wish we knew the names of all of the brave men who died on her. I read somewhere that their identities may have been recorded at the time but those documents are now long gone.

      1. Prince Charles loves his Tudor ancestors and who knows, he could be descended from that old rogue Henry V111 himself, since there is a very strong possibility his ancestor, Catherine Cary was the kings daughter.

        1. I remember the raising live in what was it..1982/3? Its incredible that it’s that long ago now. I had a very early dentist appointment and was meant to go into college afterwards but stayed home to watch the raising on TV. That scary moment when the cradle collapsed or so they thought but it was only the ship moaning or settling. They held their breath because they thought it had fallen. What a moment! I have the original book by Margaret Rule and an older book by Alexander Kent who originally found the Mary Rose or some of her treasure. That was years before she was officially discovered. Kent’s plans and descriptions were used to trace her. Imagine, the Mary Rose is a living science lab of Tudor life. The numbers of long bows. She definitely wasn’t top heavy, even if she had extra men, she wasn’t being used as an invasion transportation vessel, although she had been used that way in 1543/4 in the last invasion of France. She was a fully equipped Man of War. There were limits to what any ship could do and those limits were well known. She was the flag ship of the most advanced naval fleet in Europe. The very idea that she was just stacked up with hundreds of extra men doesn’t make any sense. Her refit was nine years earlier. Don’t modern historians understand that Henry inspected everything and made certain everything worked well before letting it be used and had errors corrected. Do they really believe his pride and joy would not be put through her paces before being battle ready after a refit or that someone as obsessive and as paranoid as Henry didn’t have her checked out to make certain she was sea worthy after a refit? Yes, I am sure all kinds of things were possible, but as Michael said, this wasn’t an invasion by us, we didn’t need an army on board. It was a defensive battle against an enemy which to be perfectly frank had taken us very much by surprise. Oh there was time to muster, just about enough to prepare and the fleet and castles were always battle ready, but the initial assault had come as something of a shock. Everything had to be mustered in a hurry. As to the experiment, I really believe the numbers were invented just to see how many troops she could take before she capsized. It was like playing with your toy boat in the bath and putting pebbles inside until it keeled over. I doubt the actual numbers of 800 or whatever had any validation. The Anthony Roll tells us how big the fleet was and the dimensions of each ship and I believe it’s from that and actual records that they know that she had a capacity of 500 or so, rather than the wishful thinking of 800. I remember at the time thinking it was one of the daftest so called experiments of all time. My favourite exhibit in the Museum was the three D hologram of the ship and the model showing her from every angle. Got some great shots on my little canon back then. I have just received a new phone with AI three D camera capabilities and I would love to go and film the model now. It’s a British made phone so it’s appropriate for filming a British treasure.

  7. Mary Boleyn and how I enjoyed watching the video about her, is a vague figure in the Boleyn family, like her mother she pales into insignificance besides those of her more famous siblings and her father who was a skilled and respected diplomat and courtier, it is true she fascinates many something which as Claire stated, the late great historian Eric Ives failed to comprehend, but it is her very vagueness her shadowy figure which adds to her appeal, and yes there has been many historical novelists who have played fast and loose with her story, and as such people read and watch the movies about her, and take that as fact, as Claire explains the truth is very different, they are based on myth and the novelists very vivid imaginations, we do not even know what she looked like, whilst her sisters portraits are well known, and the descriptions of her are recorded in her biographies and school and college text books, taken from authenticated sources, there is nothing that tells us about Mary’s physical appearance, yet she must have been attractive as she was chosen to take part in the Chateau Vert pageant and at some point she attracted Henry V111, there was a rumour she had slept with the King Of France also, recently there is only one portrait which hangs in Hever which has now been verified to be her, and she does look very attractive, she wears the traditional gable hood and ermine which denotes high status and was possibly painted during her sisters tenure as queen, she has wonderful almond shaped brown eyes and her colouring appears auburn, her daughter Catherine had the same auburn colouring, her skin has the appearance of apple blossom, this portrait shows she was much fairer than her sister the ill fated Anne who was very dark with olive skin and brown moles, it is a very exciting discovery as it does fit some of the puzzle about this lady, what was her character like? Again the video explores the myth that Mary Boleyn was pliant easily used without ambition and rather immoral, whose to say she was not as virtuous as Anne? The fact that she slept with King Henry does not mean she was a strumpet, it must have been very hard for women especially those very young to say no to their king, fear of causing displeasure would have made them an unwilling mistress, we do not know if their affair was long or brief, she could have found it hard to repulse Francois to, in a foreign land where your future depends on the monarch she may have found it impossible to reject him for fear of being sent home, then again she could have enjoyed both affairs but that does not make her the bed hopping harlot that was how Jean Plaidy depicted her in her 1949 novel ‘ Murder Most Royal’, she experienced sadness and tragedy when she lost her young husband to the dreaded sweat, she then had the worry of financial security and the care of her two fatherless children, thankfully the king stepped in and her son was made a ward of Mary’s sister the queen, she witnessed the highs and lows of Anne’s marriage with the king and suffered both siblings loss on the scaffold, she endured banishment from court when she married secretly William Stafford a minor member of the powerful Stafford family, she lost her allowance though Anne later relented and sent her a bag of gold coins, cut of from her family banished in disgrace she left court with her husband, pregnant yet she must have felt blissfully happy to be with the man she loved, her baby is a mystery there is no mention of it hear afterwards so she could well have sadly miscarried, maybe due to the stress at her situation, or it could have been a still birth, her origins are as obscure as her death, she was the eldest of the three Boleyn siblings that survived and it is believed she was born around the 1500’s, maybe even as early as 1499, she would have had only a vague memory of her first home Blickling Hall in Norfolk, and maybe towards the end of her life she thought with fondness of its spacious gardens where she would have played with her nurse on halcyon summer days and her youngest sister Anne and brother George, the family moved south to Hever Castle in Kent and the mellowed grandeur of that residence became home for many years to the Boleyn family, glory became theirs when Anne captured the heart of the king and Mary’s life was inextricably swept up with that of her sister, Mary is an enigma because she was Anne Boleyn’s sister otherwise no more interest would have been paid to her, except for the fact that briefly she became Henry V111’s mistress, but she does remain fascinating to many as so little is known about her, at least we have an authenticated portrait of her, maybe as I have said before in earlier discussions about Mary, one day we will discover her tomb, she was born into obscurity and died in obscurity, and throughout her life we have only a few recorded mentions of her whereabouts, in France at court with her sister at her coronation as well, yet she was very much a living breathing flesh and blood woman who suffered heartache and tragedy in her rather brief life, she was possibly about forty three when she died which was not unusual for the age, and childbirth often caused many a woman’s, rich and poor demise though she probably did not die in childbirth, she was considered too old to have a baby and she had her family, the baby she was carrying earlier could have been buried with her , it could have been grief that hastened her death, she had lost all her family and was the sole heiress but the riches probably meant nothing to her, she was born a country gentlewoman, a granddaughter of the Duke of Norfolk and had good prospects both at court and in marriage, all daughters of nobleman hoped to go to court and have a glittering life and she was lucky to accompany the Princess Mary to France, although her father was just a knight she had connections through her mother and could trace her lineage back to Edward 111, in France she was to enjoy the gay and hedonistic pleasures of the most sophisticated court in the world, it’s polish was to rub of on her younger sister who caused a stir in England when she returned, was Marys character so different from Anne we do not know, certainly she never bartered for a crown but then no royal mistress did it was unheard of, Anne was exceptional with her boldness and ambition, and her ambition fostered by her desire to be queen, was to mould her character into a hardened virago who towards the end of her life had turned many people against her, Mary on the other hand appears nice and normal, – sweet, a caring kind person who defied her family out of love for a man who was far below her in station, and lived out the rest of her days in a kind of harmonious peace.

    1. Beautiful tribute to Mary Boleyn, Christine, thanks, very well put. You capture her personality in a lovely and sensitive way. I hope one day we find Mary and also Elizabeth Boleyn and can leave flowers at their resting places.

      1. Thank you Bq, I am unsure but I may have a link to Mary Boleyn in my family tree, she could be a direct ancestor through her son which is certainly exciting and fascinating enough for me.

  8. Does anyone remember an old series called Royal Heritage which was a fantastic series of programmes on the Royal Palaces and their treasures and the art and collections and crown jewels and their history and of the Kings and Queens behind them? I think it was presented by Prince Charles as well as other members of the Royal Family and looked at Royal Building from Medieval times and through the Tudors, Stuarts and Georgians and Victoria. It was made in 1977. I was just thinking about it as we were talking about the Mary Rose.

    Another great series from the BBC was Clark on Civilization looking at the great and grand history of art and architecture around the world and through the ages. Some of the ideas might be out of step for the political correctness brigades but still a fantastic series. I have the DVD. I believe its also on the I Player or for downloading. The book is very lavishly illustrated.

    1. I recall some programme like that but it was presented by Huw Wheldon, although the queen did feature in it and I believe so did Charles, I remember the queen was holding the imperial state crown and telling us how one emerald once belonged to the Black Prince it took us through the medieval period right up to the present reign or ended with Victoria, it could have been the same series as it was about the royal buildings as well and it showed the wonderful treasures that most monarchs had amassed, it was certainly an interesting series.

      1. Yes I found it on YouTube last night, it was 13 episodes with some input from the Royal family, it’s really great. The crown of state is the first episode, very interesting. I also found Crown and Country on Prime with Amazon presented by Prince Edward, which ran for 5 series, with 6 episodes each from 1998 to 2006, with obviously gaps in between. That covered all the places connected to Kings over the centuries from Sutton Hoo to Hampton Court and Buckingham Palace. I have also downloaded Kenneth Clarke Civilization. I have the DVD but downloads are easier from the BBC on TV, not the i player. Great stuff. They put a load of stuff up during lockdown and its up for two years so you can access it with a magic box. I have been watching all kinds of old stuff. I will be busy over the weekend with this lot.

        1. Back in 2016 I ran across an episode of Royal Heritage on YouTube. I can’t remember exactly bwhat the subject was but I really enjoyed it and hoped there were other episodes posted. The one I saw was with Prince Charles. Unfortunately at the time that was the only one I could find. Now I have my chance. Thanks BQ.

      2. You are right, it was presented by Huw Wheldon with interviews and talk overs by the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles and even the late Queen Mother during various episodes on the crown jewels, buildings and state heritage. At 13 episodes it was a lavish affair.

        1. I remember I only saw the Tudors and I think the Stuart’s and skimmed through the rest of the series, at the time only finding the Tudors interesting to watch, but now I would like to see the rest so I think I will try to find them on you tube, it’s great really that you can catch up on missing programmes on you tube.

  9. Hi BQ. Now that you’ve got that camera with 3D capability I certainly hope at some point you do get a chance to get some photos of the Mary Rose!

    1. I found some old episodes of Chronicle from the 1960s which had different experts doing different things looking at what was then cutting-edge science and technology, one which was investigating the fake skull of Pitdown man which was actually only 500 years old, not a million and was half from a human and half from an ape, and the original programme on the Vikings in America from 1966. Magnus Magnusson was on that one. They had not long done the initial excavations of L’ Aans aux Meadows in Labrador and some of the evidence was still in dispute. The examination of the Sagas and the foundation of Greenland and life in Orkney was very detailed. In one tomb, however, instead of burial inscriptions they found the Norse had removed the Ancient treasures in the 12th century and written naughty verses on the walls and gossip about their neighbours. One said that all the girls and women in the village take their young men there for coupling. Another said a woman was making her way around the men in the village, if you know what I mean. Yet another said the men in the village didn’t understand how to be faithful to their women. So the tomb had a very different use in the 12th century. The number of beautiful stone buildings on Orkney and Greenland showed that although life was very hard, it was very much celebrated and being a Christian society in the Middle Ages, converted by people from Iceland, the Norse Vikings had many Churches and even monasteries and a Cathedral. The stone markings along the roads and in sacred places tell the story of their voyages to Constantinople and Russia and the story of Greenland and make reference to Vineland. The Sagas tell many times of the foundation of colonies in Labrador and further on into North America. Of course it wasn’t called America then, that’s many centuries later. It was interesting to see the very early discoveries in Vineland and the beginning of academic study of pre Columbian America. Of course much more has been found since then including over 1000 Norse homes from the time being photographed in 2019. It really is amazing how people just pushed on with discovery, maybe without really knowing much about where they were going or who or what they would encounter, just for the sake of adventure and a new life. They didn’t come to make a claim in the name of some King or other or to enslave or conquer anyone, they came to try their hand at a new life. For a time it was successful until they encountered difficulty with the locals or the climate or land conditions and had to either move on into the interior or go home. They came because they were outlawed or had lost everything back home or just because they were curious. They came because life at home was bad and their families might starve if they didn’t venture into new lands or because they no longer fitted into that society or simply because we all want to know what is over the horizon. Whatever their personal or community mission, they came and put down roots and we now have their remains, their homes, the fruit or plants they ate or grew and we have the fingerprint of them in their descendants. Human endeavour over hundreds of years to beat the odds and find new hope in new lands to me is what the human spirit is all about. Our curious need to know: what is around the next bend is what drives us to achieve far beyond our wildest dreams.

      1. Maybe you can answer this. I know the story of piltdown man and that it was discovered many years later to be hoax. My question is why would someone do that? If discovered your reputation is shot? I’ve never seen an explanation anywhere.

        1. At the time of the find there wasn’t the science to dispute the skeleton wasn’t real and it did seem to be the missing link. The brains of the scientific community of the time, including Charles Darwin were all taken in by the find and nobody actually seems to have looked too closely. With the backing of a worthy group of renowned names in anthropology and other scientists, whoever actually made the fake or passed off the two skulls as one, didn’t have anything to worry about. The fake wasn’t studied closely and in detail for several decades. It was finally revealed in the 1950s and the documentary had an idea as to which of the original team members had faked it. That the bones had come from all over the alleged site and over time didn’t seem to bother anyone. The man who found them and made the original claims simply relied on their acceptance and the amazement of the scientific community. By the time the truth was revealed decades later the original team were dead or old and retired and they had no living reputation to worry about. As to why he would do it in the first place, well maybe he hoped just to fool everyone and make a name for himself and an academic reputation. If there wasn’t anyone who challenged him, then fine but it was a risk because it wasn’t guaranteed the find would not be challenged. Luckily the skull was accepted. It was only much later on that the skull was really examined by a new set of scientists who used measurements which proved not only was it two different skulls, one human, the jaw an animal, but that it was only 500 years old and the many pieces had come from different places. Whatever reputation the man who found it and others on his team had, that was now destroyed. Of course this would be impossible to pull off today, even in the 50s and 60s, enough scientific rigueur would have been applied to anything dug up to make such deception impossible. As soon as it was revealed as two skulls your reputation would be destroyed and the scientific community would ostracise you. Even if a lay person made the discovery which often happened in the nineteenth century, many amateur clergy or widows would research and look for fossils, they would be expected to present their findings to a society or museum and to have experts verify their discoveries. The Victorians were always digging stuff up on beaches or hillsides or in the clay at the seaside. So many new discoveries were made that it was almost impossible to verify every single one. Anything as spectacular as the missing link between man and apes would have been sensational. I think Morrison, the man who brought them to the scientific community, just took a chance and he was right, nobody questioned the skull until well after his death. One might make claims that would go unchallenged for money as well as reputation and academic fame. Museums, especially the British Museum paid great sums of money to own and study these new discoveries. If someone could get away with it, and before more advanced technology to test stuff as genuine or as being as old as people said, unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.

  10. I just started watching the series Royal Heritage. Just as good as I remembered the episode I saw a few years ago. I’m not going to watch them in any particular order. The one I just finished was on the Tudors and featured Prince Philip and Prince Charles. The host Huw Wheldon was excellent and I really appreciate the access he got to various places and items. So glad you found these BQ. Hi Christine!

    1. Yes, so am I. I would go back into lockdown tomorrow just to have time to watch them all lol. Hope you enjoy.

    2. Hi Michael, yes Huw Wheldon was a great host he died some years ago, I remember when the series came out and it was lovely to go on a guided tour of the lovely palaces and castles that were shown in the series.

      1. Hi Christine. I looked him up online yesterday. He died in 1986 at the age of only 70. His wife died the same year. Just a heads up that the episodes on YouTube are transfers from tape. The sound completely disappears in some places and I believe the reason for that is permission was not granted to air certain pieces of music. Other than that the quality is not bad for a program 40+ yrs old. Besides, it’s free!

        1. Yes that’s true, did he really die that long ago, you lose track of the time, he looked a lot older than seventy when he was hosting the series, nice old boy though.

  11. Thank you BQ for that explanation regarding the piltdown man hoax. It answered every question I had.

  12. Hi Christine. As I started watching the series which aired in 1977 I was thinking he was at least in his mid 60’s but according to wiki he was born in 1916 and died in 1986. He certainly did look older.

    1. I want to watch the Timewatch episode on the Mary Rose which looks back at the history of the various documentaries because you can see how the ideas and research has changed since the 1980s. I don’t like YouTube. The quality is much better if you can download something or get it on Prime. The BBC have restored many older programs. I imagine a time when we will have holographic technology in every home and be able to summon up whatsoever we wish and experience it as if it was real. Really cool.

  13. Just seen this Saturday channel 4 are showing ‘Skeletons Of The Mary Rose’, very interesting I will make sure I have that on to record, apparently there were some men of African origin on board.

    1. The program sounds very interesting. Dr. Ann Stirland, a skeletal biologist who worked with the remains of the Mary Rose crew wrote a book called ‘The Men of the Mary Rose: Raising the Dead’ where she wrote about members of the crew coming from many different parts of Europe and even Africa. A lot of details on their nutrition or lack thereof and the types of wear and tear on their bodies from their shipboard duties. Many photos of the bones to illustrate her findings.

  14. New Renaissance English Podcast episode: ‘The Mysterious Life and Death of Christopher Marlowe’.

  15. Yes, I noticed that yesterday and have set it to record. I love the book its really shown how the crew lived and their diet and the information from their bones telling us what country they were born or grew up in. Yes, many parts of the Mediterranean and Africa were represented on board the Mary Rose which is why the Captain was supposed to say that the crew were unruly; he was inexperienced, only recently appointed as Captain and he couldn’t understand their many languages. He obviously had an interpreter and second in command but it must have been like the Tower of Babel on board. Whatever the truth of the words recorded by his brother in his biography, Carew was clearly being written in history as free from blame. The study of the bones, over 100 complete skeletons, told us so much about who the men were, how tall they were, if they had any injuries or diseases during their lives, the job they did on board the ship, about where they where at the time of death, much about how strong they were, about their general health and a lot of clues which place them within the context of life on board a Tudor warship. I am looking forward to watching the documentary again.

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