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Frank Fox

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  1. @Allenyed: The eyes and hooks are not listed in the ironwork fittings used in building the Lenox or Hampton Court (both 1678) and not among the ironwork listed by Keltridge (1675) or Battine (1684) for ships of any rate, and not in the contract for the Mary Galley (1686), or the Yarmouth (early 1691); the Yarmouth contract (ADM 106/1071) does require five bolts in each knee. So it appears that the eyes and hooks date from after that contract.
  2. Bolts going through to cross-pieces: What about pre-1690s? Earlier contracts don't mention the hooks & eyes.
  3. @Allanyed: I think I'm wrong. The contracts for the 80-gun third-rates Cumberland and Newark (both in ADM 106/3071), big ships, also calls for the "Crosspieces to be Scored Three Inches in upon the Bitt Pins and Braced with Two Pair of Substantial Iron Hooks and Eyes to Each Cross Piece. But yes, I think they did have to be changed from time to time due to wear, and it would obviously be more difficult with bolts. When I go back to 1649 and the specifications for the third-rate Speaker, it doesn't mention the hooks and eyes, but only "bitt pins with crosspieces". I can't find the hooks and eyes in contracts before the 1690s, but I haven't looked at all of them yet. Here's another question: did the bolts of the knees go all the way though the crosspieces? Not clear in any of my sources.
  4. @Allanyed and Druxey: This is an interesting question. Crosspieces took terrific wear on their after surfaces and had to be changed out from time to time. In big seventeenth-century ships (maybe third-rates and above) the crosspieces were in two parts, a massive permanent piece which was bolted to the pins, and a much lighter piece which was probably hooked to the forward piece and thus could be conveniently changed as needed. In lesser ships the crosspieces were light enough to be manhandled, and thus were in one piece hooked to the pins for easy removal. My area of study is the seventeenth century, so I'm not sure whether this still applied in Nelson's time, but the joints of the after pieces are visible in Longridge's plate 23; are the forward crosspiece sections bolted or hooked to the pins? I can't tell from the photo, but I know the whiplashing of a violent explosion such as a bomb under the hull could shear off bolts, and do so in steel ships as well. @Jaager: If numerous long iron bolts going through keel, floors, and kelson could survive for many years without rusting out, then I think those at the bitts could survive as well.
  5. Meanwhile, Historic England is doing a book about what wonderful work they've done on the London, when many of the co-authors haven't even been there. Did they invite ship structure specialists such as Richard Endsor to contribute? Did they invite gun specialists such as Charles Trollope? Did they ask Steve Ellis, the only authorized diver and the only one who knows where everything is? Did they ask any historians? Nooooooo! Only archaeologists who are paid to do nothing and are never found at the London site. Why can't they at least let Steve try to locate and recover the probably 35 brass guns that are still there? Some are well documented, well known guns with recorded histories. The whole thing is a shameful travesty.
  6. Losing the London is a disaster. Earlier they allowed the Stirling Castle in the Downs (wrecked 1703) to wash away, when they had the entire hull including the upper deck exposed. The land archaeologists that run Historic England just can't seem to understand that wrecks that become exposed must be explored and everything possible brought up and recorded, or it's just knowledge lost.

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