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During dives in 2005 to recover the stem and an anchor from the Mary Rose wreck site, an unusually-shaped timber was uncovered.

The object is made from a single piece of oak, formed into a stalk topped with a disk. Although eroded, it is clear that both sides of the disk were carved. The stalk is pierced with three holes for iron fixings which secured it to timbers inside the ship.

The Emblem of the Mary rose, a flat peice of wood with a large weathered Tudor rose at the end.

The emblem was mounted so that the rose carving could be seen from either side of the ship. One side has a cut channel – possibly for a rope.

Our carved timber is the first known example of an emblem on an English warship representing the name of the ship. It may be the starting point for the tradition of figureheads common on English ships between the 17th and 19th centuries. The appearance of a Tudor rose on the bow of the Mary Rose in the Anthony Roll, an illustrated list of Henry VIII’s warships, would seem to confirm this identification.

the bow of the Mary Rose, with a round rose-shaped emblem displayed just above the bow sprit