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Board of Admiralty Flag 19th to early 20th Century.gif
Reports toCouncil of the Marine (1550-1578), Navy Board (1578-1832), Board of Admiralty (1832-1875)
AppointerBoard of Admiralty
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–2 years)

The Master-Shipwright was an official appointed to Royal Navy Dockyards. He was one of the Principal Officers of the Yard from 1550 until 1875 when his title was changed to Chief Constructor e.g. Chief Constructor, Portsmouth Dockyard. The post holder was appointed by the Board of Admiralty but reported to the Navy Board until 1832.[1]


The Master-Shipwright acted as a chief superintendent in the building and repairing of ships in the royal dockyards. He managed an associated workforce of shipwrights. Up until 1632 he was responsible for the supervision of the entire yard workforce until the Navy Board started to appointment a Resident Commissioner of the Navy to fulfil that role. In 1875 his title was altered to Chief Constructor, and by the 20th century they became known as Manager, Constructive Department.

Locations of Master Shipwrights

  1. Antigua Dockyard
  2. Chatham Dockyard
  3. Deptford Dockyard
  4. Gibraltar Dockyard
  5. Halifax Dockyard
  6. Harwich Dockyard
  7. Jamaica Dockyard
  8. Kinsale Dockyard
  9. Lisbon Dockyard
  10. New York Dockyard
  11. Pembroke Dockyard
  12. Plymouth Dockyard
  13. Port Mahon Dockyard
  14. Portsmouth Dockyard
  15. Sheerness Dockyard
  16. Woolwich Dockyard


  1. "Research guide B5: Royal Naval Dockyards". London: Royal Museums Greenwich. 11 June 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2019.