Annus Mirabilis: Or, a Very Good Time for 17th Century Naval History

This is turning into something of an annus mirabilis for we few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters), who nail our tattered colours to the rickety mast of seventeenth century naval history. Next month, on 4 July, there’s what promises to be a fascinating day at Hastings under the auspices of the splendid Shipwreck […]

The Return of That Other Guy

Conference season again. Last week – ‘Statesmen and Seapower’ at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. This week – Naval Dockyards Society conference at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Next week – hitting my head slowly and repetitively against a wall in yet another attempt to remind myself that agreeing to give papers […]

Squelching Back in Time

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the reappearance of the wreck of the 1678 Third Rate Anne on the beach at Pett Level near Hastings, the first time it’s been exposed for about fifteen years. Last week, I was able to go down to view her myself, and the experience certainly didn’t disappoint. Having covered […]

The Return of the Thirty Ships, Part 1

In the mid-1670s, [Samuel] Pepys and other members of the administration became increasingly alarmed at the navy’s numerical inferiority to the French and Dutch. In 1665, Charles II’s fleet had contained 102 major ships, compared to 81 Dutch and 36 French; ten years later, the picture had changed alarmingly…[Figures that Pepys presented to Parliament in […]