Year 5 visit the Majestic Mary Rose

On an action-packed day to the Royal Naval Dockyards in Portsmouth last week, Year 5 relished the opportunity to experience the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship.   

Firstly, there was a workshop where replica artefacts were handled to show the children the differences between the life of the crew and the life of the officers.  For example, the crew had leather tankards while the officers had metal. This was reflected in the clothing they wore, with the officers’ clothes made from velvet and cotton while the crew wore leather and scratchy hardwearing cloth.  Getting dressed up as the sailors was great fun and allowed us to really feel the differences in the different ranks.   


Taking part in a Tudor gun drill showed the children how a team worked to fire the cannon, with the gun captain calling the orders and the crew performing their parts perfectly.  It was more realistic when gunfire sounded after the call of ‘Fire’.   


The children were awestruck at the sight of the ship itself, displayed with tableaux of the crew on each deck.  They were very lucky to have a guide to talk through each of the displays, including the galley area where the cook prepared food which seemed rather lacking in vegetables and the children were very amused to discover beer was considered healthier than water because the water was not clean!


One aspect that really struck the children was the fate of the ship’s dog, Hatch- he drowned along with his owner the carpenter.  Everyone was amazed by his skeleton on display. It is incredible to think that over 18,000 artefacts were recovered from the seabed from large cannon to tiny dice- one relic has even been up in space on board a space shuttle. 


All in all, it was a fantastic day out which gave Year 5 a taste of Tudor life as they embark upon their history learning this term!