The King’s Ships and Galleys Mainly Under John and Henry III

By F. W. Brooks , published February 1929


From the reign of Alfred or even earlier, and certainly for the greater part of the period between 1200 and 1272, the kings of England possessed a substantial fleet of their own, as distinct from the Cinque Ports fleet. The increased necessity for ships, primarily for use in war, owing to the loss of Normandy, was largely responsible for the continuance of a large fleet; the remnants of Richard’s crusading fleet increased by subsequent captures, which John inherited. In general however in times of peace the ships and galleys were sent back to the dockyards and there kept by a small number of custodes but Henry and John often gave ships taken in war as rewards to various servants and Henry pushed the idea a little further, and instead of giving them away hired his ships out to merchants.

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Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Late Middle Ages | English Channel
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Navies

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