King’s Ships

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The Kings Ships were vessels under the direct or nominal control of the English monarchy From the 13th to 16th centuries.


From the reign of Alfred or even earlier, and certainly for the greater part of the period between 1200 and 1272, the kings of England possessed a substantial fleet of their own, as distinct from the Cinque Ports Fleet. The increased necessity for ships, primarily for use in war, owing to the loss of Normandy, was largely responsible for the continuance of a large fleet; the remnants of Richard’s crusading fleet increased by subsequent captures, which John inherited. In general however in times of peace the ships and galleys were sent back to the dockyards and there kept by a small number of custodes called Keepers of the Kings Galleys.