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1212 - A Royal Dockyard is born

Geoffrey de Lucy disposed of 13 ships captured by his galleys between 25 April and 8 September. The ships carried 666 tons of wine, 936 quarters of corn, 2,640 quarters of salt and 860 salted hog carcasses. Most of ships and stores sent to aid King John in his campaign against the Welsh except that 2 old ships and 98 putrescent carcasses were left at Portsmouth.

20th May. In this year King John founded the Royal Dockyard by order dated 20th May: -

The King to the Sheriff of Southampton. We order you, without delay, by the view of lawful men, to cause our Docks at Portsmouth to be enclosed with a Good and Strong Wall in such a manner as our beloved and faithful William, Archdeacon of Taunton will tell you, for the preservation of our Ships and Galleys: and Likewise to cause penthouses to be made to the same walls, as the same Archdeacon will also tell you, in which all our ships tackle may be safely kept, and use as much dispatch as you can in order that the same may be completed this summer, lest in the ensuing winter our ships and Galleys, and their Rigging, should incur any damage by your default; and when we know the cost it shall be accounted to you.

By implication some sort of facility already existed before William Wrotham, keeper of the Kings ships and Archdeacon of Taunton started to build his walls and the lean-to sheds to store ships tackle and rigging.

1212, part of which is the accounts of William or Wrotham. The same Arch-Deacon that was ordered to put the wall around the “Doc” at Portsmouth:

To the wages of seamen and workmen guarding the ships and galleys and Bringing them from Winchelsea to Portsmouth by the King‟s order: £122. 1s. 2d.

To repair and equipment for the King‟s ships and galleys at Portsmouth, and the Wages of seamen in eight ships of the Cinque Ports…………..£64. 4s. 0d.

To guard the wall made at Portsmouth for the protection of the galleys: £55. 9s. 11d.

Clearly by now it was an active establishment in the King‟s service.