Mary Rose sunk by French cannonball
- On 16/11/2008
- In Museum News
By Jasper Copping
Now, academics believe the vessel, the pride of Henry VIII's fleet, was actually sunk by a French warship – a fact covered up by the Tudors to save face.
The Mary Rose, which was raised from the seabed in 1982 and remains on public display in Portsmouth, was sunk in 1545, as Henry watched from the shore, during the Battle of The Solent, a clash between the English fleet and a French invasion force.
Traditionally, historians have blamed the sinking, not on the intervention of the French, but on a recklessly sharp turn and the failure to close gun ports, allowing water to flood in.
To exacerbate the situation, the craft, already overladen with soldiers on the top decks, was also struck by a strong gust of wind.
But new research, carried out by academics at the University of Portsmouth, suggests the ship was fatally holed by a cannonball fired from a much smaller French galley.