Battleship Sovereign of the Seas

The Sovereign of the Seas was not only the largest warship of its time in its launch, it was also the first ship with more than 100 guns and the technical renewal of stepless continuous decks, which should be of importance for later ships.


Launching and design:

Like the Prince Royal, the Sovereign of the Seas was a ship built on the orders of the English King, this time Charles I. To finance the ship, the king issued an extra tax that went down in history as a ship tax. The launch took place in October 1637.

Until the Sovereign of the Seas, the Prince Royal was the largest warship, but with some structural defects. The design of the ship was made by Phineas Pett and the construction supervision was handed over to his son. During construction, some structural innovations were introduced which made it possible that the decks were continuous and thus could be equipped with maximum guns. Thus, the ship could be equipped for the first time with more than 100 guns.

In addition, the Sovereign of the Seas was decorated with over 1000 leaf-gilt allegories, which served the glorification of Charles I, which made it not only the largest, but also one of the most beautiful and elaborate ships of its time.


Die Sovereign of the Seas und ihr Erbauer Peter Pett

The Sovereign of the Seas and its builder Peter Pett




The reconstruction measures:

1651 was the first conversion of the ship. In this, the grating decks that should protect the crew from falling parts of the rigging were removed. Further, the shortening of the long galion and a steeper angle of the Galionsknies was carried out, whereby the tip of the Galion with the figurehead reached to the height of the upper edge of the front bulkhead.


Zeitgenössischer Stich der Sovereign of the Seas von J. Payne

Contemporary engraving of the Sovereign of the Seas by J. Payne


1658 was the second reconstruction, the large rear lamp, in which ten people were seated, replaced by three smaller, at that time usual tail lights. The more obstructive catwalks, balcony-like extensions of the side pockets towards the bow, disappeared. As a result, additional gun ports could be cut into the bulwark on the quarterdeck, increasing the number of guns in the quarterdeck from three to seven per side. In 1660, the Sovereign of the Seas was launched again and was renamed Royal Sovereign by Charles II Stuart, the son of Charles I.


Die so genannte Morgan-Zeichnung von Willem van de Velde der Jüngere

The so-called Morgan drawing by Willem van de Velde the Younger


Due to the naval battles during the Anglo-Dutch naval war, the Royal Sovereign also suffered some damage. For this reason, the ship was sent 1684 again in the yard for overhaul and for conversion measures. The conversion referred to the rearrangement of the rear and the exchange of the figurehead from a rider to a lion.

In 1696 renewed measures were to be carried out on the ship. The fire triggered by a candle during work, burned down the ship to the waterline.




Ship data:

Launching October 1637
Country England
Whereabouts Burned down in 1697 during renovation work
Number of masts 3
Sails Vollship, Rahsail
Length 39 meters
Width 14,17 meters
Draft 5,89 meters
Displacement 1522 metric tons
Crew Ca. 800 Man
Arming 102 Cannons of various sizes



Heckspiegel der Sovereign of the Seas

Tail mirrors of the Sovereign of the Seas






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