Reply To: Boatswain’s chair or bosun’s chair oldest known evidence

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    I did try to reply several days ago, but I think my comment is stuck in a moderation queue, maybe because I had links in it. I will try to recreate it with some corrections, and without the links to see if I can bypass the queue;


    I already managed to find Boatswain’s Cradle in 1860 (just one year earlier). But the statement “boatswain’s cradle from the year 1600” is not related to sailing. It relates to monks using it to raise someone into a fortified monastery. This is something that was definitely used long ago, and looking back through a lot of historical accounts, this seems to be the earliest mention of the use of one in a monastery (I managed to find the source book, which was an interesting read). However, the monks did not keep records, so the dates are often highly suspect, and while another one was recorded using a basket instead of a boatswain’s chair in 1616, it could well have been earlier.

    I cannot substantiate that date from a sailing perspective. This (primarily 16th century focus) historian also knew of nothing:
    reddit website /r/AskHistorians/comments/b9d1iu/boarding_a_17thcentury_vessel/
    I think it is much more likely that they started to be used with sailing around the early-to-mid 1700s, but I welcome anything that proves otherwise 🙂

    I found many more images from the 1500s, all of which showed only gang planks and ladders, even when ascending from rowing boats. Even King Henry VIII is depicted using a ladder:
    modelshipworld dot com /topic/26489-looking-for-references-16th-17th-and-18th-century-docks-dockyards-ports/
    rct dot uk /collection/405793/the-embarkation-of-henry-viii-at-dover
    [attempt 4]