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English Merchant Shipping

English Merchant Shipping: 1460-1540

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1947
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    English Merchant Shipping
    Book Description:

    Between 1460 and 1540 the development of merchant shipping was of vital importance to the growth of England as a European power. In this work Miss Burwash offers a complete history of the English merchant marine in the late middle ages and early renaissance period.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3274-5
    Subjects: History, Transportation Studies, Economics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. List of Abbreviations Used in Footnotes
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xi-2)

    THE period chosen as the subject of the following investigation is in some ways the most interesting in the history of the English merchant marine. Though English seamen and merchants were not in the forefront of exploring activity, these years nevertheless witnessed the notable voyages of the Cabots, the Bristol expeditions to reach the “island of Brasil,” and the first opening of the English trade to the Levant. The voyages themselves have been the subject of detailed study, but much remains to be discovered about the ships and crews which sailed on them. In the other maritime nations of Europe...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The Science and Practice of Navigation
    (pp. 3-34)

    IN the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the problems of navigation were of vital interest and importance both to the merchants and mariners whose livelihood was gained upon the water and to scholars versed in the sciences of astronomy and cosmography. With the opening up of trade routes in remote and dangerous seas, the conditions of navigation rapidly changed and new methods had to be devised to meet new difficulties. How to determine latitude at sea by observing the elevation of the sun; how to plot a course though one was forced to tack; how to find one’s longitude at...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Wages and Conditions of Work for the Common Seaman
    (pp. 35-81)

    THE Laws of Oleron, which in England as in the other countries of northern Europe had formed the basis of law maritime at least since the fourteenth century,*prescribed the rights and duties of only three ranks in a ship’s crew—the master, the lodesman, and the common mariner. The numerous Mediterranean codes drawn up at various dates from the eleventh to the fifteenth century were concerned with a more complex personnel which included an accounting and recording official called a “scriptor,” a “patronus” who represented the interests of the owners, and the officer in charge of navigation, called the...

  9. CHAPTER THREE The Size and Build of English Ships
    (pp. 82-100)

    THE fifteenth century saw the accomplishment of an important step in the development of the sailing ship. Before that time the typical northern vessel had been a one-masted ship, setting one large, square, sail. By the end of the century ships were being built with three, or even four or five, masts, some of which carried more than one sail; a change which not only opened up possibilities of increasing the size of vessels, but also improved their sailing qualities.

    Controversy, embittered by local claims to priority in one direction or another, has long raged over the details of this...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Various Types of English Ships
    (pp. 101-144)

    THOUGH it is possible to trace general changes in ship design, there are more difficulties in the way of an attempt to establish the minor variations current at any particular time. The differences in hull design and rig which existed during and after the seventeenth century can be determined with reasonable certainty and are moreover associated with specific types of ship. To say that a seventeenth-century vessel was schoonerrigged, for instance, gives fairly precise information as to her sail-plan, whereas for an earlier period knowledge of this kind is lacking. Thus, though the names of medieval ships are legion, the...

  11. CHAPTER V A Statistical Survey of English Shipping
    (pp. 145-164)

    THE survey which follows is an attempt to ascertain how great a share of English foreign trade was carried in English bottoms. Though no accurate and general estimate is possible on the basis of tonnage, tables can be drawn up to show the ratio of English to foreign ships, the total value of the cargoes carried in vessels of either sort, and the value of English shipments in foreign bottoms and of foreign shipments in English bottoms.

    The conclusions presented are based upon the figures gathered from the particulars of customs accounts which are tabulated in Appendix II.*The particulars,...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 165-168)

    THE ebb and flow of royal interest in England’s maritime supremacy, measured by the time and money spent upon the royal ships, has long been a subject for investigation, and it is by now a commonplace to contrast the energy displayed by Henry V with the inertia of Henry VI, or to elaborate upon the vigorous naval policy of the Tudors. But behind these royal vagaries, dictated partly by military necessity and political alliances, there lay a consistent development springing from more fundamental causes.

    It is only in the light of the end that we can fully know the importance...

  13. APPENDIX I The Text of the Laws of Oleron
    (pp. 171-176)
  14. APPENDIX II Tables Showing Sizes and Types of Ships and Volume of Trade
    (pp. 177-236)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-250)
  16. Index
    (pp. 251-259)