“Robert and John Owyn … made thys bastard”

The Mary Rose Museum

Just a quick post here. I was down at the historic dockyard in Portsmouth at the weekend. They have some great tourist attractions there: HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, The Mary Rose, harbour tours and about half a dozen museums – I got a season ticket and will certainly be back in the future. I just thought I’d post this photo from the Mary Rose Museum.

Bastard Sign

I like the phrasing, but in fact a bastard referred to the type of cannon. This particular one being a “bastard culverin”, a non-standard design that was just shorter in measurements than a “demi culverin”. It was one of the many cannons of assorted styles found aboard the wreck of the Mary Rose – it was really quite noticeable how much of a mix they had, I’m no gunnery expert but there were breech loaders and muzzle loaders, small cannon and huge cannon, some English and some foreign, ones marking Henry as the head of the church and ones that predated the English reformation by decades. It seemed kind of fitting to sum up the ship as a whole – formidable but irregular. After coming from the sleek, efficient 19th century Warrior one could see how much technology had moved on – as impressive as it would have been at the time and continues to be, the entirety of the Mary Rose felt cobbled together (like some sort of “bastard ship”, I suppose).

I may write a longer post on the attractions at Portsmouth’s historic dockyard at a later date, but for now I’ll stick with this and a simple recommendation for anyone to check it out. There’s a lot more to see than this, I’m just occasionally a bit immature.

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