The Mary Rose

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, first Duke of Suffolk.Mary is interred at St. Mary’s Church in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. [Further reading: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk c. 1484-1545 by S. J. Gunn Blackwell 1988]

Presumed to have been named after Henry VIII’s sister, The Mary Rose ship has featured on television a couple of times in the past few days with a repeat of the Timewatch: The Secrets of he Mary Rose on Saturday and on the news today concerning The Mary Rose Trust’s application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Mary Rose is a national treasure which could soon be lost.

The Mary Rose Trust needs £35m to complete conservation work and to house the vessel in a new, permanent museum – but it can only raise £14m by itself. Admiral John Lippiett, chief executive of the trust, said the ship’s fate is now once again in the hands of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is considering an application for the remaining £21m.Last year, a bid for £13.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund failed.He said: “If we aren’t successful, the outlook would be very gloomy indeed.“We have a small museum which is a temporary exhibition, and the ship is in a temporary structure which was built in the early 80s with a 10-year life.“The conservation is costing us many hundreds of thousands a year.“If there is no funding, then there will be no Mary Rose. It is as stark as that.“Eventually the Mary Rose will cease to be a visitor attraction, it would have to be disposed of…sold for firewood, who knows?”A successful bid would secure the ship’s future and transform visitors’ experiences.After years of spraying to replace seawater with conserving chemicals, the ship would finally be released from her misty cocoon.Then she would be reunited with exhibits in the nearby Mary Rose Museum and another 14,000 stunning artefacts, which are currently locked away.Cannons and cannonballs, pewterware, wooden plates and jugs and Tudor gold coins are among some of the items brought up since the ship was raised after 437 years under the sea.Only half the hull was found to be intact when she raised from the Solent in October 1982.Twenty years later, the bowcastle – the raised front section of the ship – and the anchor were brought up after being missed during original excavation.

Mr Lippiett said: “The spraying comes to an end in 2011, then we want to bake her dry and build a new museum over the top of where she sits now in the dry dock.

“We want to build the other half of the hull as a virtual hull and then put the artefacts back in so visitors will really see this time capsule as it was on the day she sank.

“It is an extraordinary collection – the finest anywhere in the world – and this is the only 16th Century ship that exists like this.

“It would be a wonderful visitor attraction for Portsmouth and the south of England. We want to have the conservation completed and the new museum open by 2016.”

The application will be decided on 22 January.

Mr Lippiett said he and his team had done everything possible to secure a positive outcome.

“The Mary Rose is a national icon. She is absolutely unique in the world. We have got to keep her.”

Just what did the Mary Rose tell us?

For my knitting coterie:

Life on Board: clothing: page 2

The most complete woollen garment identified is a jerkin. This was decoratively edged with a green silk braid and fastened with four woollen buttons. Discovered inside this jerkin were large fragments of woollen fabric, dyed yellow and checked in red, possibly the remains of a shirt. A large woollen fragment with stitched eyelet holes for the attachment of laces may be the waist area of a pair of hose. Several small fragments found inside shoes or boots may also be the remains of woollen hose.

Three woollen knitted hats resembling flat brimmed berets have been recovered. Two of these are intact and have silk linings. Another knitted item recovered virtually complete is a scogger, a versatile sleeve rather like a modern legwarmer that could be worn either on the arm or lower leg.


Riddle of an old sea dog who died in the service of her king
Seated on her* haunches and with her* tail upturned, the skeleton of the oldest known maritime dog suggests an animal of jaunty disposition with a charmed life. Unfortunately for Hatch, her* life aboard Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose was as brutal as it was short: she* was not among the 30 crew who survived the vessel’s sinking 465 years ago.

*Hatch was a he.



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