Channel 4 documentary shines spotlight on new exhibition’s tales from the Mary Rose

MORE than a million people have watched a documentary linked to a new exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:47 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:51 pm
Dr Alexzandra Hildred, head of research at the Mary Rose. Picture: Sarah Standing (180319-2254)

According to the Mary Rose Museum, 1.2m people tuned into the Channel 4 documentary Skeletons of the Mary Rose: The New Evidence, which aired on Sunday, March 17.

The documentary focuses on the new exhibition at the museum, which looks at some of the individual stories of some of the men who served on board the vessel.

The Mary Rose sank during the Battle of the Solent in 1545, before being recovered from the water in 1982.

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Dr Alexzandra Hildred, head of research at the Mary Rose. Picture: Sarah Standing (180319-2254)

Using isotope analysis, researchers have been able to find out more about the men who served on board the Mary Rose when she sank – bringing their stories to life in the new exhibition, called The Many Faces of Tudor England.

Head researcher Dr Alexzandra Hildred says that it’s ‘amazing’ to find out more about who the men were and where they came from.

She said: ‘We wanted to tell the personal stories and explore the backgrounds of the different men on board the ship.

‘Of the eight people we looked at, three of them were from foreign countries – it was fascinating to learn that there was potentially a very diverse crew on board.

The Mary Rose Picture: Sarah Standing (180319-2332)

‘Some of them came from as far afield as north Africa, which we certainly weren’t expecting.’

The north African in question was an archer, who was found with a longbow and a wrist-strap, which had the arms of England and Catherine of Aragon.

It is hoped that DNA examinations will provide an even clearer picture of who these people were, with researchers aiming to examine as many of the bodies as possible.

Dr Hildred said: ‘It’s great to see what the Mary Rose still has to offer.

‘We have barely scratched the surface of the 179 people we can research – the technology is there now to find out exactly who they were, where they came from and what their stories are.

‘It’s the ship that never stops giving and we have so much to explore.'

The exhibition will be on display for the rest of the year, as the museum hopes to drive even higher visitor numbers after so many people tuned into the Channel 4 documentary.

Dr Hildred said: ‘I thought the documentary was great – it was well put-together and really dived deep into the individual stories that can be found on board this magnificent ship.’