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Great Harry's Navy: How Henry VIII Gave England Sea Power

Geoffrey Moorhouse

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Prose: non-fiction, Warfare & defence

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.

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Geoffrey Moorhouse

Geoffrey Moorhouse is the author of nineteen books, which have won prizes and been translated into several languages. In 1982 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His TO THE FRONTIER won the Thomas Cook Award for the best travel boo

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