Book Review-‘ The Master Shipwright’s Secrets: How Charles II built the Restoration navy’ by R. Endsor Osprey

By Paul Brown, published March 2021


nspired by a treatise in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library giving detailed dimensions for a Fourth Rate ship by the Deptford master shipwright John Shish, this is a profusely illustrated history of Restoration ship design and building, focused on the Tyger which was launched at Deptford in 1681. It was nominally a rebuild of the 1647 ship of the same name although very little, if any, of the original ship found its way into the new ship. This circumvented budgetary restrictions on new construction since the work could be classed as repairs. Unusually, the new Tyger incorporated 16 oar scuttles on each side between the lower deck gunports, for service in the Mediterranean against Barbary pirates. King Charles took great interest in shipbuilding and was able to discuss and examine all manner of technical aspects with his master shipwrights, who he knew well. The book examines the proceedings of Charles in deciding the type of ship he wanted and his relationship with the master shipwrights, and discusses in detail the other duties they performed, such as repairing, rebuilding and refitting ships, controlling their men and keeping up with inventions and innovations.

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

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