When the Mary Rose sank in 1545, he had engaged
England in two wars - one with the Scots and one with the French.
A curator at The Mary Rose Trust explained: `The French planned a three-pronged attack
- to aid Scotland, retake Boulogne, which Henry had captured, and
hopefully destroy the English navy by capturing the Isle of Wight
and using it as a base.'
The French built up a huge armada of 235 vessels
in Le Havre. The English tried to attack, but did little damage
and in July 1545 the French fleet sailed for England.
They were met by only 80 English ships which had
grouped at Portsmouth, with another 60 on their way from the west
But the sides had difficulty engaging in battle
because of the wind direction and because the deepest part of the
channel could only take one ship at a time.
`It was a very calm day which allowed the French
to bring their galleys together within range of the English fleet
and to start firing,' explained the curator.
were firing at England's fastest ships at the front- the Mary
Rose and the Henry Grace A Dieu, when suddenly the Mary Rose
`The English couldn't do much about it because there
was no wind for them to sail in. Then the breeze picked up and the
English started to sail towards them.'
The French were firing at England's fastest ships
at the front - the Mary Rose and the Henry Grace A Dieu - when suddenly
the Mary Rose sank.
Understandably the French thought they had sunk
her, but in fact evidence suggests it was probably down to bad seamanship
and indiscipline or confusion among the crew.
The 700-ton Portsmouth-built carrack lurched to
the starboard while apparently turning back towards Portsmouth.
Water flooded into the open gunports and she sank
in front of the King's eyes - he was watching the proceedings about
a mile away at Southsea.
`Henry is meant to have wailed and cried out things,'
said a curator.