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.
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, timber had to be felled in quantities previously unknown and hemp (for rope) was harvested; new skills were developed, not least the gun-founders and the master shipwrights.