Mary Rose sinks - On this day in history


19 July 2016
19-July-Mary-Rose-13488.JPG Mary Rose
Tudor warship Mary Rose sank in the Solent off the coast of Portsmouth on 19 July 1545

On this day in history, 1545: The Tudor warship Mary Rose, flagship of King Henry VIII’s English navy, sinks in the Solent off the coast of Portsmouth in Hampshire, while leading an attack on a French invasion fleet.

In 1971, the wreck was rediscovered and 437 years later, in 1982, it was salvaged by the Mary Rose Trust in a £4 million operation, allowing the world to see for the first time inside this incredibly well-preserved Tudor time capsule. 

This massive milestone in maritime archaeology revealed what life would have been like on board for the hundreds of male crew. A stunning collection of 19,000 artefacts salvaged from the wreck include weapons and supplies, pewter plates, carpentry tools and personal hygiene items, games, sewing kits, rosary beads and even musical instruments, giving unique insight into not only Tudor naval warfare but Tudor life.

Since May 2013, the remains of the ship’s hull, which have been enclosed in a conservation ‘hotbox’ with only small viewing windows, and most of its artefacts have been housed in the specially-built Mary Rose Museum over a dry dock at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, next to Nelson’s HMS Victory

The Mary Rose public viewing gallery closed in 2016 for the final stage of conservation but it will reopen tomorrow (20 July 2016), with the restrictive walls removed for the first time.

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The museum’s website states: ‘Visitors to the new-look Mary Rose Museum will see stunning panoramic views of the ship from all 9 galleries through floor-to-ceiling glazing on the lower and main decks. On the upper deck, they will breathe the same air as Henry VIII’s warship for the first time in 23 years, with only a balcony between them and the hull.’

Find out about life on board the Mary Rose for Tudor crew, and many more Tudor-related resources, on the museum website at

Read more about the fantastic new-look Mary Rose Museum in the September issue of Family Tree, in UK shops from 3 August and on digital at