Academics Seek Cheap Publicity (Pt94)

November 17, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Talk about historical revisionism. Last month the French were claiming that we didn’t play fair at Agincourt and now a group of lecturers at third-rate ex-Poly Portsmouth Uni are claiming that the pride of Henry VIII’s fleet, Mary Rose, was actually sunk by a cannonball fired from a much smaller French galley

The Mary Rose, salvaged in 1982, was sunk in 1545 as Henry watched from the shore during the Battle of The Solent.

Dr Dominic Fontana, who obviously is a publicity seeking arse, writes along with conventional thinking that to people on shore it would have looked like a combination of a freak gust of wind, not closing gunports whilst turning in high seas, too many troops aboard and the bad sailing which has always been blamed for the sinking. As he says “The additional weight of water would also have pushed her open gunports closer to the waterline than they should have been, making disaster inevitable once the sea flowed rapidly in through them.”

However that is never going to get him a headline, he has resorted to claiming that the pride of Henry VIII’s fleet, was actually sunk by a French warship. And that Henry VIII probably knew about it but kept schtum so as not to lose face.

To support this new theory, they point to “possible” shot damage discovered on the muzzle of one of the Mary Rose’s big guns as well as finds of a large cannonball made of French granite found inside the ship and fragments of lead shot found outside the vessel. It’d been sailing for 34 years, so someone might have already dented it, surely?

Bones were found in the hold (quelle surprise) and also carpentry tools (yeah, you need those on a wooden ship), which he claims “may” show that they were trying to carry out repairs to damage in the hull as the ship sank.

The shot hole would also have had to have been in the port side near towards the stern which luckily is the bit which has eroded away.

All this comes from the ‘Cowdray Engraving” which is a dodgy copy made of a large picture of the battlewhich was lost when Cowdray House burned down in 1793. Paintings of this era were not exactly renowned for their photographic accuracy. But rest assured he used “top of the range mapping equipment” to extrapolate from it. Garbage In….

“”The engraving is not a snapshot. It is more of a narrative”. Ha!

Chris Dobbs from the Mary Rose Museum said: “As an archaeologist, I have studied the remaining evidence from the ship. But as we have nothing left of the port side, it is helpful for people from other fields to contribute their own theories and ideas.”

In other words, “It’s a stupid idea, piss off Sunshine“.