Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

The Newport Medieval Ship

I was aware of the fact of a medieval ship having been found at Newport in South Wales in 2002 but had not seen more about it until my online search facility presented me yesterday with an excellent animated video about this fifteenth century ship and its last voyage and abandonment in dry dock at Newport.

This led me to look up the ship on Wikipedia , which has a good introduction to the discovery  and seeks to reconstruct my its history, and likely ownership by Warwick the Kingmaker in 1469. Warwick had a not inconsiderable career as little more than a privateer in the English Channel from the end of the 1450s. This account, which dates the ship’s life and service to the twenty years between its building in 1449 and its dry-docking in 1469, can be read at Newport Ship

The really very good reconstruction video I spotted yesterday can be seen at Newport Medieval Ship, The ship's final voyage.

There are other videos about the ship and of conference papers about it from a decade ago at SHIP SHAPE: Newport's Medieval Ship - 10 years on, and from seven years back at The Newport Medieval Ship in Context 

The survivsl of what remsins is fascinating in itself. The history that can be reconstructed and contextualised of what appears to be a Basque built vessel trading across Biscay to England and Wales, and the likelihood of a link to the maritime exploits - or depredations - of the Earl of Warwick gives it a secure place in historical understanding and great potential as an object to be visited as and when it is available. The accounts stress how local people ‘owned’ the discovery and argued for its proper preservation.  It could well become a significant tourist attraction with its attendant benefits both economically and in supporting local pride.

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