Erith Dockyard

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HM Dockyard Erith
Tudor Ensign 1485-1603.svg
Ensign of the Navy Royal 1485-1603
Erith, Kent in England
Site information
OperatorNavy Royal
Site history
In use1512-1521
Installation information
Past
commanders
Keeper of the Kings Storehouse at Erith

Erith Dockyard located at Erith, Kent, England was an early Tudor naval dockyard operated by the Navy Royal that opened in 1512 due to persistent flooding the dockyard closed in 1521.[1]

History

The name Erith comes from the Saxon ‘Earhyth’ meaning muddy landing place. It was traditionally a small port along the River Thames. In the 16th century King Henry VIII established a naval dockyard in Erith. It became a trading hub, as spices and cotton from the East Indies were delivered onto London. A naval storehouse was constructed at Erith in 1512 that was managed by the Keeper of the Kings Storehouses who was one of the Clerks of the Kings Marine a Tudor (naval administrator). [2]. Erith Dockyard was used as an advance base for routine maintenance before ships were transferred to Deptford Dockyard.[3] It closed due to persistent flooding in 1521.[4] However according to naval historian Nicholas A. M. Rodger although Erith dockyard closed it was an important center of naval administration of the English Navy from 1514 into the 1540's.[5]

Administration of the dockyard and other key officials

The first naval administrators of dockyards during the early Tudor period were called Keepers of the Kings Marine, John Hopton was Keeper of the Kings Storehouses for Deptford and Erith dockyards. By the late 16th century the master shipwright was the senior official. The dockyards were run entirely by naval officers who were civilian employees of the Council of the Marine later called the Navy Board, not sea officers.

The senior officials of each dockyard from the early 17th century was the commissioner, who was supported by a deputy the master shipwright -responsible for building and repairs. Other senior officers of the yard included the clerk of cheque and storekeeper - responsible for finance and administration. The master attendants and boatswain -supervised yard craft and boats in ordinary (on reserve) and The master ropemaker -responsible for the ropeyard. This remained the organisation of the yards until 1832.[6]

After 1832 the Navy Board was abolished and all yards and establishments, except gun wharves, were amalgamated under a single authority the Board of Admiralty. The victualling yards, however, continued to be practically independent. The senior official was now a serving sea officer – the superintendent, admiral or captain-superintendent – who was often also the port admiral, or flag officer.[7] This remained the system until 1971.

Keeper of the Kings Storehouse at Erith

Ships fitted out at the dockyard

Included:[8]

  1. HMS Trinity Sovereign, also known as HMS Sovereign, an English warship in service built in 1488 and listed until 1521.
  2. HMS Henry Grace à Dieu

Footnotes

  1. Rodger, N.A.M (1997). The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. Vol 1., 660-1649. London, England: Penguin. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9780140297249.
  2. Childs, David (March 2010). Tudor sea power : the foundation of greatness. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Pub. pp. 252–253. ISBN 9781848320314.
  3. Rodger, N.A.M (1997). The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. Vol 1., 660-1649. London, England: Penguin. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9780140297249.
  4. Childs, David (March 2010). Tudor sea power : the foundation of greatness. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Pub. pp. 252–253. ISBN 9781848320314.
  5. Rodger, N.A.M (1997). The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. Vol 1., 660-1649. London, England: Penguin. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9780140297249.
  6. Archives, The National. "The National Archives - Royal Naval dockyard staff". The National Archives. Kew, London: National Archives UK. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  7. National Archives UK
  8. Oppenheim, Michael (1896). A history of the administration of the royal navy and of merchant shipping in relation to the navy, from MDIX to MDCLX, with an introduction treating of the preceding period. London, New York, J. Lane. p. 72.

Bibliography

  1. Childs, David (March 2010). Tudor sea power : the foundation of greatness. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Pub. ISBN 9781848320314.
  2. Oppenheim, Michael (1896). A history of the administration of the royal navy and of merchant shipping in relation to the navy, from MDIX to MDCLX, with an introduction treating of the preceding period. London, New York, J. Lane.
  3. Rodger, N.A.M (1997). The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. Vol 1., 660-1649. London, England: Penguin. ISBN 9780140297249.

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