31 Annotations

First Reading

David Bell  •  Link

While trying to discover more about the Naseby, I had the idea of checking on the earlier ship, Sovereign of the Seas, from the same builder; a ship which had a great deal to do with the start of the Civil Wars, since it cost so much (one somewhat dubious calculation suggested a value, in today's terms, of 450 billion Pounds!).

This search turned up the following page, which is partly an advert for naval prints, and partly a list of warships built in the Seventeenth Century:

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Samuel Pepys compiled "A List of all the Ships, Frigates, and other Vessels belonging to the State's Navy, on 1st March, 1651." It can be found at: http://pc-78-120.udac.se:8001/WWW…

Rick Ansell (reposted by Emilio)  •  Link

Mast design

[Originally posted for the 13 April, 1660 entry]

The masts of large vessels of the time (and later) were in sections. Each one was parallel to the one below for a distance.

Generally there were three sections, Lower, Top and Topgallent. The Courses (Fore Course, Main Course and Mizzen) were attached to the lower masts. The Topsails were attached to the Topmast and the Topgallent and Royal to the Topgallent mast.

When bad weather threatened the Topgallent mast would be struck (taken down) to reduce the unnecessary drag and preserve it from harm. It would be useless anyway, in high winds sail was reduced and the Topgallent and Royal were the weakest and most weakly supported sails. When very severe weather threatened the Topmasts would be struck. Likewise the Yards that supported the sails could be struck down on deck.

At anchor the was no need to use the sails so the masts and yards only served to give the wind something to push against, producing extra strain on the anchor which, if the force was enough, might drag (give way). In amongst the dangerous banks of the Goodwins you most definitely don’t want a dragging anchor, once on a bank in high winds the ship could be beaten to pieces very rapidly.

vincent  •  Link

"Sovereign" size and crew :
Length 212 ft.--Beam 48 ft.--Depth 19 1/4 ft.--Tonnage 1,605 tons --Crew (Wartime) 815 at a cost of L650 per gun : from

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Notes on Sailing Warships
The site Vincent mentions above, links to basic warship construction. There is more on Michael Phillips "Maritime History site.

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Re-creating a 17th-Century Sea Officer
by Dr Peter Le Fevre
Journal for Maritime Reasearch - May 2001
A discussion of research into Naval History in Pepys' time. It includes many references.
"Compared with the number of studies of the eighteenth century Navy, the seventeenth century Navy has been rather neglected. With the exception of Bernard Capp, David Davies, Sari Hornstein and John Ehrman. Few seventeenth-century naval historians have used the PRO admiralty papers"

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Samuel Pepys and the navy
From the National Maritime Museum website. Relevant paintings held by the museum, with links to others in the pre/post Pepys period. A site-search on 'Pepys' brings up 22 pages - well worth a look.

Sam P  •  Link

Sad though I may be - I tried to identify the 25 ships being paid off - only to discover that the list compiled by Sam of "ships in service 1651"
- are listed by their, where relevant, "23rd May 1660" names. eg Success - not Bradford etc.

Possibly the list was the one actually drawn up for the selection of the "25"

E  •  Link

Naming naval ships: Here is an excerpt from The Times about the current-day naming of two new ships for the Royal Navy:

"The Ships

vincent  •  Link

how book on ships etc.,from Alan Bedford on Sun 14 Mar 2004, 1:08 am | Link

Vicente  •  Link

Good list of ships of the period 1660's
can add more info to the other ships noted. The Fox; missing probably a small 5th rate?

dirk  •  Link

Tonnage of ships

For further reference:

In Sam's days ships' tonnage was calculated according to the method developed by shipwright Matthew Baker in 1582:
"length of the keel (leaving out the falsepost), the greatest Breadth within the plank, the Depth from that breadth to upper edge of keel, multiplying these together and dividing by one hundred"

Baker constructed his method on the basis of his study of the ship "Ascension", which measured 54 ft on the keel, 24 ft broad inside the plank, and 12 ft depth in hold from her breadth to the top of keel. Multiplication gave 15552. Divided by 100 gave 155.52 "ton and tonnage". Originally Baker used a divisor of 97.2, and so obtained a tonnage of 160 - which was exactly half of the actual quantity of wooden wine butts (1 butt = 126 gallons) this vessel could physically load, laid on their sides (the older way to measure tonnage). For the sake of convenience the divisor was changed to 100. Tonnages were always rounded to the nearest 10 - and often arbitrarily "increased" by as much as 20 or 30% by shipyards, as these were paid on the basis of the ship's tonnage and this tonnage was very difficult to verify anyway.

(various sources, but for a large part based on "Elisabethan Ship" by Gregory Robinson, Longman, 1956 - out of print)

Pedro  •  Link

Commitment of ships as of 10th December 1661. From Richard Ollard

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Navy. payments and ships men and guns
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/… of State#s10
A List of such of his Majesty's Ships of the Navy Royal, now in Pay, not of the Summer's Guard, with an Account of the Wages due to them to the First of May 1660, and the Charge they are at, was read; and is as followeth: Viz.

Rates....SHIPS.....Men......Guns.......Wages due to 1 Maii.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

gleaned from diary entree: “Half Moon” - several ships

Colledge gives four ships in the Royal Navy named “Half Moon” and the relevant one was a 30 gun ship a prize captured 1653 and sold 1659 (probably condemned in that year) and the “Indian” similar a 44 gun ship of 687 tons, captured 1654 and sold 1659 (sic).

But no information on their original nationality, but see below.

The next “Half Moon” was a Turkish prize taken in 1681 and burnt in 1686 ironically by a candle having been left burning in the cook’s cabin. The next after that was an Algerian prize captured in 1685.

And yes the RN has always “recycled” ships names.
see this and rest of the page: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Matthew Baker (1530-1613)

Fragments of Ancient English Shipwrightry, (Ms)
Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, PL 2820

A discussion of the role of the master shipwright, his design techniques etc. see:-
Mathew Barker and the Art of the Shipwright
chapter 3 (pp. 107-165) of Stephen Johnston, 'Making mathematical practice: gentlemen, practitioners and artisans in Elizabethan England'

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The Framing of Seventeenth-Century Men-of-War in England and Other Northern European Countries

Kroum N. Batchvarov, Thesis: May 2002
Nautical Archaeology Program

"Nautical archaeology has enormously enriched our knowledge of ship construction, but so far most attention seems to have been lavished on ancient shipwrecks. The seventeenth century has attracted the least attention. No detailed studies of the construction of ships of this era have been published. When the subject is mentioned at all, it is a cursory overview, quite often inaccurate, always lacking depth. Extensive documentation, however, still survives in the form of shipbuilding treatises, contracts, correspondance, models, paintings and engravings, draughts, and last - but not least - archaeological remains. A number of modern attempts to describe the framing of the seventeenth-century ship exist, but none are dedicated studies of the subject.

The most influential book is probably the work of Peter Goodwin - Construction of the English Man of War 1650-1850. Brian Lavery writes of construction in his books Ship of the Line, volume II, and Susan Constant, and he describes his reconstruction of Resolution, launched in 1667, in Deane's Doctine of Naval Architecture. Lavery favors a multi-futtock arrangement, supporting the view that frames had no open spaces. Goodwin proposes a very similar model, but with double frames and his timbers are scarphed instead of butting. Yet the models and some illustrative material show a different framing pattern of overlapping floors and futtocks. For most of the period all contemporary sources agree that no more than two futtocks were employed.

The following pages attempt to systematize the available evidence and, without, claiming to be the last word on the subject or to have exhausted all sources, to show the development of framing in the sailing men-of-war throughout the seventeenth century. The emphasis will be on English warships, as evidence for them is more easily accessible and because English vessels of the seventeenth century, unlike those of the eighteenth, were well designed."

Full text available, in PDF, via:-

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Restoration Flags
"In 1606, following some altercations over flags between English and Scottish ships, James VI and I issued the following proclamation:.."

"In 1634, after some disputes concerning saluting ships in the Channel, Charles I partially repealed his father's proclamation:
[Proclamation texts and illus will not copy to post, MR]
To this day civilian vessels are not permitted to use the Union Jack. They have their own Jack (a white bordered Union Jack) and the courtesy flag is an appropriately coloured ensign (red for civil vessels, blue for government vessels, and white for naval vessels).

The execution of Charles I on the 30th January 1649, brought an end to the union of England and Scotland. The Union Flag no longer made sense so the English Parliament ordered the Admiralty to chose a new design. This was to be the first of several design used until the restoration of Charles II in May 1660 restored the pre-1649 flags."


Third Reading

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