Great Harry's Navy: How Henry VIII Gave England Seapower

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9780297645443: Great Harry's Navy: How Henry VIII Gave England Seapower
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Ground-breaking history of how King Henry VIII created England's navy. It was Henry VIII who began the process of making England a first-rate sea-power. He inherited no more than seven warships from his father King Henry VII, yet at his own death the King's Navy had 53 seaworthy ships afloat (much the same size as the Royal Navy today) manned by almost 8,000 sailors. Here was the springboard for Queen Elizabeth's captains (such as Francis Drake) a decade later. As G R Elton has commented (in 'England Under he Tudors') Henry VIII originally needed a navy to hold the English Channel and blockade the enemy while he invaded France. Later when invasion from the continent grew serious Henry's navy fought in many actions. Moorhouse doesn't only deal with seagoing exploits. Thanks to Henry VIII dockyards were built (Greenwich and Deptford), timber had to be felled in quantities previously unknown (from land seized during the dissolution of the monasteries), and hemp (for rope) was harvested; new skills were developed, not least the gun-founders and the master shipwrights. Some of the ships were celebrated - 'Henry Grace a Dieu' (aka 'Great Harry') was the biggest ship in the world - 1,000 tons, 122 guns, crew of 700 and the 'Mary Rose' (500 tons, 80 guns, 40 crew) became one of the most famous after she heeled over too far, took water and sank with the loss of almost all hands off Portsmouth. In addition to guarding the Channel (three sea wars against the French during Henry's reign) there were naval skirmishes against the Scots. Moorhouse makes parallels with events 400 years later off Normandy. KING HARRY'S NAVY draws on Moorhouse's special skills of description and atmosphere, which critics invariably comment on when reviewing his books.

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From the Back Cover:

ALSO BY GEOFFREY MOORHOUSE THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE 'History as it should be written' Roy Hattersley, The Observer 'This book is a rare achievement. It manages to combine a scholarly appreciation of an immensely complex historical even with a passionate understanding which breathes new life into the past.' Lucy Wooding, The Tablet 'Geoffrey Moorhouse offers us a new, vivid and colourful account....a compelling story of conflicting interests and loyalties, of errors of judgement and messy compromises ... showing that the history of the losers can be as fascinating as the history of the winners.'

Richard Rex, Sunday Telegraph 'A brilliant book' Frank McLynn, Daily Express 'This thrilling piece of narrative history' Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times '... a rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, which has been superbly reconstructed by Geoffrey Moorhouse.' Andrew Roberts, Evening Standard '... an engaging retelling of these momentous events....many people will enjoy and profit from this stylishly written and intelligent book.

About the Author:

Geoffrey Moorhouse was born in Lancashire, but lives in North Yorkshire. He was a journalist on the Guardian before quitting to write books. TO THE FRONTIER won the Thomas Cook Award (the travel writers' 'Booker'). He was described by Jan Morris as 'one of the best journalist historians.'

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