galleasses and carracks; a classification of Tudor ships of war
Tudor ships of war
This page attempts to describe the different classifications of ships
of the Tudor Navy.
Line Drawings of ships of the 16th Century
by David Meagher
It would be appreciated if any inaccuracies, omissions, sources or suggestions
could be emailed to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A small sea-going sailing vessel, usually single masted, and flush decked.
Noted for their speed and manoeverability.
A small and light sea-going vessel, apparently a kind of sloop, much used
in the 15th and 16th centuries; .....without forecastle.
...1525...they knewe by theyr balengers that the armye
of Englande was comynge.
A small vessel equipped both for sailing and rowing, swifter
and more easily manoevred than larger ships, and hence employed for purposes
of piracy, espionage, reconnoitring etc...
...1580 ... A brigantine or ship sent out to espie.
....1611...a low, long, and swift sea vessel, bigger
than the fregat, and lesser than the foist, and hauing some 12 or 13 oares
on a side: we call it a Brigantine..
A large three or four masted ship, originally developed as
a merchantman in southern Europe. Characterized by deep draught, relatively
broad beam, and very high fore and aft castles.
A large ship of burden, also fitted for warfare, such as
those formerly used by the Portuguese in trading with the East Indies;
...1590... Spaine, who sent whole Armadoes of Carrects
discussion on Carrack vs Galleon
A small single masted vessel, normally used for trade. Designed
for maximum carrying capacity.
A large ship of Mediterranean origin, propelled by both oar
and sail. Obsolete by the mid-fifteenth century.
A very large mediaeval ship; ... used both in war or commerce...
...1611... A mightie Argosey, called a Dromond.
A large oared warship, also propelled by sail, usually three
masted, with a gun deck over the rowers' benches. A cross between a carrack
and a galley, it tended to suffer from the disadvantages of both.
A heavy low-built vessel, larger than a galley, impelled
both by sail and oars, chiefly employed in war...
...1642... (Sir W Monson Naval Tracts III (1704)
360/1) A Galiass is built...low and snug...and carries the Force of a Ship...the
thing that gives her Advantage in Fight, is her oares.
A term with many meanings, but usually used to describe a
medium or large sailing ship, built flush decked and without castles. Galleons
were normally somewhat longer and narrower than carracks, and had superior
A kind of vessel, shorter but higher than a galley; a ship
of war, especially Spanish; also large vessels used by the Spaniards in
carrying on trade with their American possessions
...1608...Fortie or fiftie tall ships, whereof were four
of the kings greatest and warlikest gallions
some comments and an illustrationfrom
A lightly-built fighting ship, chiefly propelled by oars.
Galleys were fast and could move independantly of the wind, but they could
not carry heavy armament, and were at risk in rough weather.
A low flat-built sea-going vessel with one deck, propelled
by sails and oars, formerly in common use in the Mediterranean.
[no relevant example of usage]
A small vessel of 20-40 tons, usually fitted with two masts.
Every large warship had a pinnace as tender, which was usually towed behind
when not in use.
A small light vessel, generally two-masted, and schooner
rigged; often in attendance on a larger vessel as a tender, scout, etc...
...1569...The Shippes...were haled out by the Gallies
and other small pynnaces rowed with ores
The OED is challenged on the question of rigging by a
WWW correspondent, Bill Porter, who 'would have thought they'd have carried
lateens, and resemble what at a later date would be referred to as polacres'.
have you a working email address?)
Loades, David: The Tudor Navy Scolar Press,
Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition.
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