Here are the theories why the Mary Rose sank

The Mary Rose sank during the Battle of the Solent on this day 473 years ago.Â

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 12:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 12:23 pm

One of Henry VIII's key warships '“ the boat, captained by Sir George Carew, was defending England from the French went it went down on July 19, 1545. 

Of the hundreds of men aboard the Mary Rose when it sailed into the Battle of the Solent, only 34 survived. 

But the reason she sank is still hotly debated to this day. 

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Read More: WATCH: 35th anniversary of raising of the Mary Rose

The weather

According to one eye witness from the time '“ a unnamed Flemish sailor '“ the Mary Rose fired all her guns on one side and was turning when she caught a strong gust of wind and heeled, taking in water through the open gunports and sank. 

Some modern historians also believe that a strong gust of wind hitting the sails, when the gunports were open, proved to be fatal and caused the ship to go down. 


In a biography of Sir George Carew's brother Peter written by John Hooker after 1575, the crew of the Mary Rose were said to be insubordinate and this added to reasons why the ship sank. 

Also Sir George's uncle '“ Gawen Carew '“ was said to have sailed passed the Mary Rose in his ship the Matthew Gonson during the battle and was told that the crew were the sort of men Sir George '˜could not rule'. 

But this could be an attempt to protect the legacy of the Carew name. 

However historian Richard Barker has suggested that the crew actually knew that the ship was an accident waiting to happen and the refused to follow orders. 


Three years after the Mary Rose was lost, the Hall's Chronicle gave the reason for the sinking as being overloaded '“ 'for she was laden with much ordinaunce'. 

Modern scholars now believe that the ship had undergone to many modifications late in her life '“ after originally being launched in July 1511, 34 years earlier. 

They believe that these alterations may have made the ship unseaworthy, particularly as it gathered additional weight. 

The French

Martin du Bellay, a French cavalry officer who was present at the battle, claimed that the Mary Rose was actually sunk by French guns.

However this is the only account that makes this claim.