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Experience Tudor History at the Mary Rose Museum

I have just finished reading CJ Sansom’s historical novel ‘Heartstone’ – the 6th book in The Shardlake Series – in which the pivotal point, where the main character Matthew Shardlake resolves the mysteries surrounding his investigations, takes place on board King Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose. By Des Langkilde – Editor,


At the end of this enthralling novel, the author acknowledges his historical sources with interesting facts about the Tudor period of England’s illustrious history and ends with a postscript to the Mary Rose Museum.

Intrigued, I visited the website ( and if I ever do tire of travelling around Africa (which is unlikely), this museum will definitely be at the top of my bucket list.

Built in Portsmouth, the Mary Rose was launched in 1511 and saw 34 years of service as Henry VIII’s flagship. She sank within minutes on July 1545 during an engagement with a French invasion fleet just two kilometres from the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, with the vast majority of soldiers onboard trapped beneath the anti-boarding netting. Around 35 people survived out of an estimated 500 souls on board.

The Sinking of the Mary Rose by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA
The Sinking of the Mary Rose by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA

Soon after the Mary Rose sunk, divers were hired to try and recover the ship and guns, but without success. The world had to wait 437 years to see the ship and her artefacts when the Mary Rose was discovered in 1971 and raised from the seabed in 1982. It has taken over 30 years to excavate the half of the ship that lay embedded in silt on the seabed for over four centuries.

It’s an incredible story and well worth a visit (to the website if you can’t get there in person).

Also well worth reading are CJ Sansom’s novels, which can be purchased on or visit the author’s website at

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