Tudor Castle

The Mary Rose: Splendour, Sinking and Salvage

Welcome back to The Tudor History & Travel Show. In this episode, I visit the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth for a guided tour, led by two experts: Dr. Alexzandra Hildred and John Seager. Alex is Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance and Human Remains at the Mary Rose Trust. She joined the project in 1979 as a graduate archaeologist, and was part of the diving team who excavated Henry VIII’s warship forty years ago. After volunteering for two and a half years, John is now a front of house member of staff at the Mary Rose Museum.

We look back to discover the story of the Mary Rose and her thirty-four year history as a successful warship before her fateful sinking in 1545. Named after the Virgin Mary and the Tudor rose, Henry VIII commissioned the ship to increase the number of his fleet. Built in Portsmouth and fitted out with artillery at the Tower of London, the Mary Rose was involved in the Battle of Flodden, the Battle of Brest, and between periods of rest, escorted merchants up and down the English Channel.

As we tour the museum, we discuss some of the wonderful artefacts from the ship, each with its unique and fascinating story giving us a snapshot into the lives of the men onboard the Mary Rose. These surviving possessions allow us to uncover more about the detail of day-to-day life in Tudor England. Especially created to preserve the remains of the Mary Rose, the museum building itself is situated on a dry dock, and is absolutely brimming with history, housing around 25,000 artefacts.

Please note: These show notes are intended to complement the relevant podcast episode, which can be found here. We highly recommend that you listen to the conversation and use this blog for reference. You will find links to relevant sources towards the end of this blog.

Battle of the Solent, courtesy of Kester Keighley
Battle of the Solent, courtesy of Kester Keighley
Cutaway reconstruction of the Mary Rose, © The Mary Rose Trust
Cutaway reconstruction of the Mary Rose, © The Mary Rose Trust
The Peter Pomegranate, sister ship to the Mary Rose
The Peter Pomegranate, sister ship to the Mary Rose
The Mary Rose
The Mary Rose, Image: Author’s own
Wooden backgammon set with counters at the Mary Rose Museum
Wooden backgammon set with counters, Image: Author’s own
Master gunner's dice and linstock  at the Mary Rose Museum
Master gunner’s dice and linstock, Image: Author’s own
Master gunner's leather jerkin at the Mary Rose Museum
 Master gunner’s leather jerkin (bodice, with either fitted or detachable sleeves, and a skirt, worn over the top of linen shirts and doublets), with visible imprint from the wearer’s ribs, Image: Author’s own
Master gunner's jerkin, nit comb and sun dial  at the Mary Rose Museum
Master gunner’s jerkin, nit comb and sun dial, Image: Author’s own
Purser's gold and silver coins, found in chest in a small store on the orlop deck  at the Mary Rose Museum
Purser’s gold and silver coins, found in chest, Image: Author’s own
Eroded timber, found in the bow area of the site with image of a rose at the Mary Rose Museum
Eroded timber, the emblem of the Mary Rose, which would have been affixed to the bow of the ship, Image: Author’s own
Skeleton of ‘Hatch’, the dog on board the Mary Rose at the Mary Rose Museum
Skeleton of ‘Hatch’, the dog on board the Mary Rose, responsible for catching rats. According to DNA work performed on his teeth, he was a young adult male, between 18 – 24 months, with a light brown-dark brown coat. He may have spent his entire life on-board the Mary Rose, rarely if ever going ashore, Image: Author’s own
Bronze twelve-sided cannon, with coat of arms, Tudor Rose, initials and date engraved.
Bronze twelve-sided cannon, with the Royal Coat of Arms, Tudor Rose, initials and date engraved, Image: Author’s own
Pewter plates, part of George Carew's dining set at the Mary Rose Museum
Pewter plates, part of Sir George Carew’s dining set, Image: Author’s own
Pewter plates, believed to be borrowed from Lord Admiral Lisle the night before the Mary Rose sank
Pewter plates, believed to be borrowed from Lord Admiral Lisle the night before the Mary Rose sank, Image: Author’s own

The Mary Rose: Splendour, Sinking and Salvage: Essential Links

9 thoughts on “The Mary Rose: Splendour, Sinking and Salvage”

  1. We visited the Mary Rose Museum shortly after it opened and loved it! I’ve been fascinated with the ship since it was brought up with Prince Charles on board the rescue ship. What a great find for all Tudor historians. Thanks for a great podcast and photos on this page!

    Reply
  2. This podcast was one of my favorites you have done! I REALLY want to go see this! The woman Alex was incredible, I couldn’t believe how knowledgeable she was. Extremely impressive.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jennifer. That is so good to hear. I think I was a bit worried that the background noise would detract but actually, I think it just helped bring it to life. I hear you loved Alex. Is there anything else yu particularly liked – so I can try and do more of that in the future? 😀

      Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.