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Tudor fact file

The Navy



  • Before Henry VIII there was not really a navy.
  • Henry VIII spent money (much of it from the dissolution of the monasteries) on his army and new ships for the navy.
  • The most expensive ship was the warship the 'Great Harry'. It was launched in 1514 and she was the biggest warship in the world.
  • The Great Harry had four masts, gold coloured sails for special state occasions.
  • There was a crew of 700 men.
  • She had 21 bronze cannons.
  • She was destroyed in 1553 on the River Thames when a fire broke out on board.
  • When Spain sent its Armada against England the Navy was very strong and experienced.
  • The English fleet against the Armada was made up of 197 ships.
  • Lord Howard was in charge of the Navy and Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Martin Frobisher were his leading captains.


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