Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII's Navy

This post is in fulfillment of a promise to David Crook I made in response to a post on his blog, A Wargaming Odyssey.  David, like a few other naval wargamers I follow, is developing an interest in the Tudor navy.  He's building up a reference library, and I recommended a copy of The Anthony Roll.

This is a record of Henry VIII's navy compiled in 1546 by Anthony Anthony, a surveyor in the ordnance office*.  Comprising three vellum rolls, the work consists of drawings of each of the 58 ships in the fleet, together with notes on their guns, shot and related equipment.  The first roll begins with the largest ship, Henry Grace à Dieu, and lists the carracks and a pinnace.  The second lists galleasses, (oared vessels also rigged for sail) and a galley.  The third roll consists of pinnaces and 'rowbarges'.

*And a founder member of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty
Two of the three rolls* were given by Charles II to Samuel Pepys (who among other things had an antiquarian interest in the history of the Royal Navy) in 1680.  As was common practice at the time, Pepys had the rolls chopped up and bound into a single volume, which has resulted in the loss of some detail.  These, along with the rest of Pepys' 3,000 volume library were bequeathed by him to his old college, Magdalene College, Cambridge, where they are still housed in his original bookcases in  the Pepys Building.  The Library is open to the public, and is well worth visiting if you're in Cambridge.**

* The first and third.
**If visiting college libraries is your cup of tea!

The Pepys Library (photo from the College website)

The third part of the roll was thought lost, but turned our to have remained in royal hands until William IV (another naval figure worth blogging about) gave it to his illegitimate daughter, Mary Fox, who was married to a bibliophile and Surveyor-General of the Ordnance.  She sold it to the British Museum in the 1850s, and it now resides in the British Library.

In 2000, the Navy Records Society published the three rolls together for the first time in facsimile form with scholarly apparatus.  I was fortunate enough to attend the launch at Magdalene and to see the original rolls, which had been brought together for the occasion.

Henry Grace à Dieu

The Mary Rose and The Peter

The Lartyque and The Mary Thomas

The Swallowe and The Galie Subtille

The Thre Ostryde Fethers and
The Fawcon in the Fetterlock

Thursday, 8 October 2015

National Poetry Day

Oh Who Is That Young Sinner

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains he's taken and a pretty price he's paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they've pulled the beggar's hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they're haling him to justice for the colour of his hair.

Now 'tis oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet
And the quarry-gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare
He can curse the God that made him for the colour of his hair.

A.E. Housman

Friday, 2 October 2015

Hereward Wargames Show, 1 Nov 2015

I've taken the plunge and booked myself a ticket for the Hereward Wargames Show being held on 1 November by the Peterborough Wargames Club.  This is the first time I will have attended this event.

Advanced ticket are £3.00 (£5.00 on the day).  It's being sponsored by Gripping Beast, and the first 200 tickets* will come with a free figure from them - naturally enough of Hereward the Wake.

*Currently about 170 left!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...