helena murphy • Link
The modern English navy originated with the Tudor monarchs.Henry VIII had seven warships in 1509. During his reign he added 82 ships to the Royal Navy. He inherited the naval dockyards at Portsmith, Woolwich and Deptforth and set up a permanent naval installation near Chatham. Financial and logistical matters were dealt with by the Council for Maritime Causes.
This body was headed by the lord Admiral and included The treasurer, the Clerk Comptroller, the keeper of the Storehouse,the Surveyor or Clerk of the ships,the Surveyor and rigger and the Master of Ordinance.Henry VIII used the navy successfully against the French, Spanish,and the Scots.
The Elizabethan navy had more warships, only two of which were captured by the Spanish, and none of those built in the government dockyards foundered at sea!
James I showed little interest in the navy and it more or less atrophied during his reign.
When Charles I came to the throne in 1625 the navy was in a rather poor state. It lacked a professional officer corps,seamen,s wages had not changed since 1603 and in time of war men had to be impressed to serve. Charles needed a strong navy to protect English commerce from French and Dutch privateers and North African pirates. For this purpose he levied a tax known as ship money on both maritime and inland counties. He also developed a corps of professional officers and crews.The warship the "Sovereign of the Seas" was the first to mount three decks of guns and carry over ninety large canon. By 1635 charles I had forty-two mostly state owned ships and 5,700 men on active duty. Unfortunately for the king, when the civil war broke out in 1642 the officers and crews joined the parliamentarians.Navy Commissioners became responsible for the day to day administration of the fleets and the dockyards.
In 1649 the Commonwealth had almost forty-two warships. It ended the use of employing merchant vessels as warships. Robert Blake, George Monck, and William Penn served as Admirals or Generals at Sea. In the 1650's thirty frigates were contructed and the navy became the largest single employer of labour in the country. professionals rather than politicians began to work in important financial and administrative posts. George Downing in the Exchequer and Samuel Pepys in naval administration continued their work under the Restoration.
On the eve of the Restoration Charles II had inherited one of the strongest navies in Europe with sixty-six warships on active service, 8000 sailors and another sixty warships in storage in the event of future conflicts. He created his brother James, Lord High Admiral while George Monck, Edward Montague and William batten served as admirals.
sources: The Making of a World Power. war and the military revolution in seventeenth century England. James Scott Wheeler. Sutton 1999
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