Of Decks and Their Definitions Part III

By Alan Moore, published June 1911


From the early 17 century the main decks of large ships changed little.  Compare Sovereign of the Seas 1637 to the Queen 1839. The main change that needs explanation is the word Orlop.  In 16 Century it was a word used for any deck running the whole length of the ship.  The word lope meant to run and the overloop is either that which runs the whole length of the ship or that by which a man can do so.  To deck means to cover. Thus the two lower main decks that carried guns became the first and second orlop.  If a ship had a third deck this was the upper deck. Orlop became less and less used for a deck bearing guns and finally became the term given only to platforms below the waterline hence the more modern term Orlop-deck. The terms quarterdeck, halfdeck, spardeck, forecastle and poop are also discussed.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

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