Vice-Admiral Woodhouse and Shipkeeping in the Tudor Navy

By Tom Glasgow, Jr, published August 1977


Shipkeepers were professional navy men, maintaining royal ships in peace and forming cadres for wartime crews. Not until Elizabeth 1’s reign was a regular pattern of perpetual shipkeeping established. Vice Admiral Sir William Woodhouse’s ‘book’ on the keeping of the Queen’s ships in Gillingham provided a valuable template to follow, used shortly after his death in 1564. Three ranks of officers were retained as permanent crew: masters of the largest ships, boatswains and master gunners. The evidence suggests that Woodhouse played an important role in establishing this vital phase of the navy’s permanent organisation.

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Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea

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