What's that boat being towed behind the Mary Rose?
The Anthony Roll, which features one of only two contemporary depictions of the Mary Rose, shows the Mary Rose with a boat being towed along behind.
The Mary Rose, like most large ships in Henry’s fleet, would have had three boats; a “Great Boat”, a “Cock Boat” and a “Jolywat”,
The Great Boat is the largest, fitted with sails and 20 oars, as well as a rudder and iron sheaves on the bow, to assist with handling anchors.
The Cock boat is somewhat smaller, with only six oars, but it still has the sails, rudder and iron sheaves.
Finally, you have the Jolywat, or Jolly, which was just a smallish rowing boat, fitted with four oars.
While the remains of none of these were recovered from the Mary Rose, likely due to them being recovered shortly after her loss at the Battle of the Solent, we did recover a single oar on the upper deck, 5.1 metres in length and presumably used on the Great Boat.
The Mary Rose Trust is currently attempting to build a replica of a Jolywat, using tools and techniques used to build the originals, with assistance of the International Boatbuilding Training College in Portsmouth. The work can be seen during the summer, when our team demonstrate these techniques to visitors to the museum.