henry galleys king ship
DOCKYARDS. Previously to the reign of Henry VIII., the kings of England had neither naval arsenals nor dockyards, nor any regular establishment of civil or naval officers to provide ships of war, or to man them ; they had . admirals, however, possessing a high jurisdiction and very great power (see the article ADMIRAL). There are strong evidences of the existence of dockyards, or of something answering thereto, at very early dates, at Rye, Shoreham, and Winchelsea. In November 1213 the sheriff of Sussex was ordered to enlarge the house at Rye in which the king's galleys were kept, so that it might contain seven galleys. In 1238 the keepers of some of the king's galleys were directed to cause those vessels to be breamed, and a house to be built at Winchelsea, for their safe custody. In 1254 the bailiffs of Winchelsea and Eye were ordered to repair the buildings in which the king's galleys were kept at Rye. At Portsmouth and at Southampton there seem to have been at all times depots both for ships and stores, though there was no regular dockyard at Portsmouth till the reign of Henry VIII. It would appear, from a very curious poem in Hakluyt's Collection, called The Policie of Keeping the Sea, that Henry V. had ships, officers, and men exclusively appropriated to his service, and independently of those which the Cinque Ports were bound, and the other ports were occasionally called upon, to furnish on any emergency. By this poem it also appears that Little Hampton, unfit as it now is, was the port at which Henry built his great Dromions Which passed other great shippes of the commons.
The " dromion," "drotnon," or " dromedary," was a, large war ship, the prototype of which was furnished by the Saracens. Boger de Hoveden, Richard of Devizes, and Peter de Eongtoft celebrate the struggle which Richard I., in the " Trench the Mer," on his way to Palestine, had with a huge dromon, - " a, marvellous ship ! a ship than which, except Noah's ship, none greater was ever read of." This vessel had three masts, was very high out of the water, and is said to have had 1500 men on board. It required the united force of the king's galleys, and an obstinate fight, to capture the dromon.
The foundation of a regular navy, by the establishment of dockyards, and the formation of a board, consisting of certain commissioners for the management of its affairs, was first laid by Henry VIII. ; and the first dockyard erected during his reign was that of Woolwich. Those of Portsmouth, Deptford, Chatham, and Sheerness followed in succession. Plymouth was founded by William III, Pembroke was established in 1814, a small yard having previously existed at -Milford.
From the first establishment of the dockyards to tho present time, most of them have gradually been enlarged and improved by a, succession of expedients and make-shifts, which answered the purposes of the moment ; but the best of them have not possessed those conveniences and advantages which might be obtained from a dockyard systematically laid cut on a uniform and consistent plan, with its wharfs, basins, docks, slips, magazines, and work-shops arranged according to certain fixed principles, cal-culated to produce convenience, economy, and despatch.
Neither at the time when our dockyards were first estab-lished, nor at any subsequent periods of their enlargement, could it have been foreseen what incalculable advantages would one day be derived from the substitution of machinery for human labour ; and without a reference to this vast im-provement in all mechanical operations, it could not be expected that any provision would be made for its future introduction ; on the contrary, the docks and slips, the workshops and storehouses, were successively built at random, and placed wherever a vacant space would most conveniently admit them, and in such a manner a,s in most cases to render the subsequent introduction of machinery and railways, and those various contrivances found in large private manufacturing establishments, quite impossible, even in the most commodious of Her Majesty's dockyards.
From a brief description of the royal dockyards as they now stand. a general idea may be formed of their several capacities, advantages, and defects. Taking them in suc-cession, according to their vicinity to the capital, the first is