1893 text

“The Sovereign of the Seas” was built at Woolwich in 1637 of timber which had been stripped of its bark while growing in the spring, and not felled till the second autumn afterwards; and it is observed by Dr. Plot (“Phil. Trans.” for 1691), in his discourse on the most seasonable time for felling timber, written by the advice of Pepys, that after forty-seven years, “all the ancient timber then remaining in her, it was no easy matter to drive a nail into it” (“Quarterly Review,” vol. viii., p. 35). — B.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Peter W Redstone  •  Link

Paid for with Charles I's very unpopular Ship Money, the Sovereign of the Seas was launched in 1637. The world's first true three-decker, she was very big for her day at over 1500 tons and carried 100 guns plus. She was rebuilt as Royal Sovereign in 1660, and again in 1685 when her upper works were cut down to make her more seaworthy. An overturned candle set her on fire at her moorings at Chatham in 1697 and destroyed her. Her replacement, Royal Sovereign II was launched in 1701. She was feared by the Dutch who called her the"golden devil" on account of the lavish gold leaf applied to her ornaments.

vincent  •  Link

Soverayne from Arthur on Sun 18 Jan 2004,
Is this the

Terry F  •  Link

L&M say the 1637 copper plate engraving by John Payne (1608-1648) was the print of the 'Sovereign of the Seas' acquired by Pepys 31 January 1663, and hung by him in his Green Chamber 15 February. http://www.ingenious.org.uk/See/T…

Pedro  •  Link

Sovereign of the Seas.

In July of 1641 John Evelyn had visited Chatham while at Gravesend and waiting to sail to Flushing. In the dockyard was the jewel of the fleet, the Sovereign of the Seas, double the tonage of any previos ship in the English navy and built for an astounding £40,000.

The prodigious vessel, "for burthen, defense and ornament the richest that ever spread cloth before the wind", was built using taxes raised without parliamentary sanction but legalised by the judicary... "It cost his Majestie the affections of his subjects" Evelyn would write.

(John Evelyn, Living for Ingenuity by Gillian Darley)

brian lupei  •  Link

I have the print in my personal collection. It is #8 of 2659 and was hand colored. If any one is interested in purchasing this piece they can contact me via my email address.

Second Reading

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M: "The Royal Sovereign; the largest and best-known warship of the fleet (some said the most useless); one of the first of the 3-deckers; built from ship-money in 1637, burnt by accident in 1696."

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



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