600-year-old Henry V warship found buried in Hampshire river

A drawing of a Carrack, like the wreck thought to be a 600-year-old ship that helped Henry V wage war on France has been identified in the River Hamble
A drawing of a Carrack, like the wreck thought to be a 600-year-old ship that helped Henry V wage war on France has been identified in the River Hamble

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  • Discovery made by historian Dr Ian Friel
  • The ship fought in two of the most significant naval battles of the Hundred Years War
  • Historic England is taking steps to protect the wreckage
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A SHIP believed to be one of Henry V’s warships has been discovered in the River Hamble.

The historic wreck, thought to be a 600-year-old ship that helped Henry V wage war on France has been dubbed ‘the new Mary Rose’.

The site in the River Hamble near Lower Swanwick where the Holy Ghost is believed to have been found

The site in the River Hamble near Lower Swanwick where the Holy Ghost is believed to have been found

The vessel buried in mud is believed to be the Holigost – or Holy Ghost – the second of four ‘great’ ships built for Henry V’s royal fleet, government heritage agency Historic England said.

The wreck was first spotted from an aerial photograph by historian Dr Ian Friel, in an area described as a medieval breaker’s yard, next to Henry’s flagship, the Grace Dieu, which was identified in the 1930s.

Historic England is taking steps to protect and investigate the shipwreck, which Dr Friel identified as likely to be the Holigost when he was revisiting documentary evidence for his new book, Henry V’s Navy, and informed the heritage agency.

Dr Friel said: ‘I am utterly delighted that Historic England is assessing the site for protection and undertaking further study.

I am utterly delighted that Historic England is assessing the site for protection and undertaking further study.

Historian Dr Ian Friel

‘In my opinion, further research leading to the rediscovery of the Holigost would be even more important than the identification of the Grace Dieu in the 1930s.

‘The Holigost fought in two of the most significant naval battles of the Hundred Years War, battles that opened the way for the English conquest of northern France.’

Future scientific research on the ship, which could include sonar and aerial imaging using drones, could reveal much about 15th century ship building and improve understanding of life aboard ship, naval warfare of the time, dock building and docking practices.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England chief executive, said: ‘The Battle of Agincourt is one of those historic events that has acquired huge national significance.

‘To investigate a ship from this period close to the 600th anniversary is immensely exciting.

‘It holds the possibility of fascinating revelations in the months and years to come. Historic England is committed to realising the full potential of the find.’