First known ships launched from Portsmouth dockyard, The “Sweepstake”, costing £120 and “Mary Fortune”, costs £110. “Sweepstake” survived until 1511 when she was rebuilt as “Katherine Pomegranate”. The second ship in the dry... more information
Early map of Portsmouth town, showing houses, 4 great brewing houses for naval beer, and the names of property owners. In 1540 John Leland, antiquary and spy for the King, described Portsmouth’... more information
French invasion fleet of 235 ships attempted to establish a foothold on the Isle of Wight and threatened Portsmouth. The King assembled a large army on Southsea Common. Fleet action off... more information
The Navy Board was established by Royal Patent, appointing civil officers as Commissioners to serve under the Lord High Admiral as lieutenants of Admiralty, Treasure of Marine Causes, Comptroller, Surveyor,... more information
List of Navy ships made in January describes 20 ships, 15 galleys, 10 pinnaces and 13 row barges…the greatest part of the fleet then in Portsmouth harbour. (i.e. 12 ships, 13 galleys, 6 pinnaces & 10... more information
Edward VI reviewed his fleet and criticised the fortifications of Portsmouth. An inventory of the fleet lists 24 ships and pinnaces in good repair; 7 ships to be docked and 4 in dry... more information
A “great and terrible ffyer” destroyed the Naval Storehouse in King Street destroying 26,000 cask hoops, coopers tools and 100 tons of empty casks. (See 1576) The King Street Bakery ceased operation and... more information
Plague killed more than half of the population of Portsmouth and the surrounding area. (See 1349, 1625 and 1665/6)
Navy list of 27 ships and pinnaces with 3,565 crew costing £1,436 per month in wages and £1,782... more information
In August of 1560 Richard Popynjay was appointed Surveyor of Portsmouth and started to re-plan many parts of its fortification. There is no doubt that this was much delayed by plague... more information
Charter granted by Elizabeth I who visited Portsmouth, reviewed the fleet and ordered the fortifications re-built. The cost was defrayed by the first national lottery in 1569 which raised £200,000. Work on... more information
A commission of Master Shipwrights and Brethren of Trinity House came to evaluate Portsmouth as a Naval Harbour. The party caught ship fever and one Master shipwright died. Their views... more information
Southsea Castle badly damaged by fire (See 1538, 1544, 1759)
Duke of Buckingham, Lord High Admiral, murdered by John Felton, a disgruntled soldier. Felton laid in wait and stabbed the Duke to death... more information
Master Shipwright Edward Boate was ordered to reside at Portsmouth permanently. (Previous to this Master Shipwright only visited) One of the reasons for the reluctance to re-adopt Portsmouth as permanent... more information
Colonel Goring (Governor of Portsmouth) declares for the King. Lord Clarendon in speaking in Parliament Declared: “From the Governor of a place that had the reputation of being the only... more information
England was proclaimed a Commonwealth or a “Free state”. It was during this time that the size of the navy almost doubled. In 1649 Colonel William Willoughby of the Parliamentary Army... more information
46 gun ship “Portsmouth” (600 tons) launched here. Between 1649 and 1659 the Commonwealth built 207 new warships. Shipwrights ordered not to remove oddments of timber from the Dockyard and were paid one penny a... more information
Admiral Blake won a sea battle against the Dutch off the Isle of Wight. 11 warships, 30 merchant ships and 1,000 Dutch prisoners were captured. “Hampshire” (640 tons) launched from Dockyard. Naval expenditure at... more information
Restoration of Charles II who visited Portsmouth with his mother Henrietta Maria.
Navy had 154 ships and lesser craft totalling 57,463 tons. All were in a shocking state of disrepair.
August. A... more information
HRH James, Duke of York made Governor of Portsmouth until 1673. In may Samuel Pepys visited Dockyard accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and clerk John Creed.
Queen and Princess embarked for... more information
The Navy Commissioners did not always pay their bills as this letter from a contractor states. John Timbrell to the Navy Commissioners. Has neither stock nor credit, and the workmen... more information
Charles II and the Duke of York visited Portsmouth. Twenty captured Dutch merchantmen brought into Portsmouth as prizes.
Royal Marines established.
Warrant to pay to Col: Wm. Legg, Lieutenant of... more information
Ye Mighty Chanie of Yron. From John Tippets, Master Shipwright at Portsmouth.
“These are to certifie that Edward Silvester of Gosport, Smyth, hath given Securitie for the making and laying... more information
Dockyard Commissioners House. Thomas Middleton to Samuel Pepys: “Details of a new house to be built for myself, with accommodation for any of the Commissioners when they come down.” (It... more information
A Royal Commission was granted to the Portsmouth Governor and other Principal Officers to purchase land around Portsmouth and the Dockyard to build fortification. These were set out to the... more information
Dockyard Commissioners House. Middleton to Pepys. Requires 350 for furnishing his new house: promises to send an inventory of things purchased. If more than the sum be laid out, will pay... more information
From Commissioner Middleton to Pepys. The sawyers who had been on strike and in consequence discharged, had petitioned to be employed as labourers, and the Commissioners comment: “Sweet is any... more information
Parliament voted £600,000 to build 30 new ships some of which were built at Portsmouth.
Hugh Salesbury to Willamson. Three vessels have come to refit. The Garrison fortifications will be concluded in... more information
New defences designed by Bernard de Gomme (See 1662) commenced. Dutch prisoners of war provided much of the labour. (Map showing de Gommes design in British Museum)
Colonel Thomas Middleton appointed... more information
Charles II visited Portsmouth to inspect progress on new defence and to review an allied fleet of nearly 100 ships with 6,000 guns and 34,000 men. The English and French fleet, as allies,... more information
Navy Board ordered the Master Shipwright and the Clerk of the Cheque to cut dockyard staff to: -
Shipwrights 120 Joiners 12 Clerk of the Survey 1
Caulkers 20 Bricklayers 5 Pitch Heaters 1
Oakum boys 8... more information
Nine more acres added to the dockyard on the east side.
Samuel Pepys totally reformed victualling of the Navy and established new victualling standards. Payment for victuals was at the... more information
Samuel Pepys with Lord Dartmouth sailed from Portsmouth in August aboard “Grafton”. Their mission was to evacuate and destroy Tangier. After a holiday in Spain Pepys and Dartmouth sailed for... more information