Book Review-‘Ye Mary Fortune: A ship of Henry VII 1490 AD at Pembroke Castle’ by D. James

By Michael Leek, published December 2020


Advances in warship design over the last century are displayed on the covers of this excellent book. On the front, a photograph taken in 1913 shows the launch of the battleship Queen Elizabeth at the Dockyard, while on the back there is a superb view of her modern namesake, the new aircraft carrier on her delivery to the naval base some months ago. With a history stretching over more than 800 years, Portsmouth has been part of our naval heritage since the days of King John (1199–1216). It was then one of the royal dockyards in Tudor times and from the early part of the eighteenth century, it played a major part in the surging growth and the ever-increasing professionalism of the Royal Navy. During the years 1497 to 1967, over 300 ships were built. This is possibly not a large number when compared with major shipyards on some of Britain’s rivers, but many were large battleships and this number includes nine submarines of which three were steam-driven K boats. It is a matter of pride that the third ship built at Portsmouth was the Mary Rose (1509), now back at the dockyard on permanent display. While not directly mentioned in the text large numbers of wooden ships of the line were being built at privately owned commercial shipyards in southern England and much of their business was transferred to the royal dockyards around the sixteenth century…

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Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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