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24 September 2014

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You are in: Hampshire > Coast > Point 1 - Clarence Esplanade

The Mary Rose

See behind the scenes of the Mary Rose.

Point 1 - Clarence Esplanade

Looking out to sea towards the two Spithead Forts you'll see the spot where England's most modern battleship of its time, The Mary Rose sank whilst preventing the French fleet from reaching land.

Portsmouth has always been on the front line of invasion - on 19th July 1545, the South of England was threatened by a huge French fleet of over 200 ships which had gathered off the coast.

With the French heading up the Solent, getting closer by the minute, Henry VIII's high-tech warship, The Mary Rose prepared to set sail to meet the rest of the English fleet of around 80 vessels to join the battle.

Thousands of people had gathered along the shoreline to see the enormous ship off.  But as she headed out into the Solent and hoisted her sails, she heeled over to port in the wind and dipped below the sea.

Spithead Fort

Spithead Fort

Already a heavy ship, and with over 400 crew onboard plus the weight of the heavy guns on her deck, water began to rush onboard and she heeled further until her gunports were below the sea.  Her hold filled up and she sank.

Watching helpless from the seafront was Henry VIII. His courtiers, the army and the crowd of well wishers could only watch as the hundreds of crew, (few of which could swim) cried out as they drowned - only 35 survived.

The French believed they had sunk The Mary Rose, but were still unable to defeat the English fleet.

The ship remained at the bottom of the Solent until an oval shaped feature about 200 feet long was discovered in a survey in 1968 in the No Mans Land Area where a massive manmade fort sits.

The Mary Rose was finally raised in 1982 and is now preserved in the Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard.

Continue the walk back towards Clarence Pier where an invasion force set sail to liberate France...

last updated: 29/02/2008 at 09:50
created: 13/07/2005

You are in: Hampshire > Coast > Point 1 - Clarence Esplanade



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