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1545 Rigging – help needed – what are these?

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Can anybody help me work out what the tackles are that I’ve circled? They’re on the picture of the Matthew in the Anthony Roll of 1545.  I’m new to rigging and have looked through several books, including “Rigging Period Ship Models” by Lennarth Petersson and “Historic Ship Models” by Wolfram zu Mondfeld and I haven’t seen any rigging quite the same as these.


No. 1 - there are two tackles leading down from the maintop - one just above the yellow and black striped flag and another similar one to the right of it – the lines lead down to the break of the forecastle. I think they must be what zu Mondfeld describes on his pages 278-9 as main tackles – for lifting cargo, boats etc. However I’m not sure that’s what they are, as I haven’t seen any running at that angle and ending up at the break of the forecastle.


I think no. 2 has the same function – there are two blocks with lines leading down to deck level immediately in front of the main mast - you can see them just below the top of the red circle.


No. 3  - there seem to be two lines down forward from the foremast – one from the masthead and the other starting halfway between the masthead and the foretop, which lead to blocks attached to the foretopmast stay, then to blocks attached to the bowsprit and then back to the forecastle. Any ideas?


No. 4 – Am I right in thinking the line leading to the outrigger at the stern is the sheet of the bonaventure mizzen’s furled lower lateen sail?


I realize this is from a drawing done by someone who may not have understood rigging, and could be quite wrong. But  the same features appear on all the larger ships in the Anthony Roll, and he seems to have the rest of the rigging pretty right – even to the clew lines with martnets on the (furled) yards of the main square sails.


Has anybody come across these items before or know what they might be? Are they perhaps a particularly Tudor sort of rigging which had disappeared by the time the examples in the books above? I’d like to include them in a model, but I want to be happy they represent something that actually existed.



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I suspect Anthony Anthony represents 1 and 2 as pendants and tackle for raising rigging to the lower tops. (The pendant portion is later termed a Burton pendant.) There was one on port and starboard side. Usually these were taken to the rails inboard of the shrouds of their respective mast.


The rather Rube-Goldberg style arrangement at 3 is interesting. Could it be a tackle to tension the fore topmast stay?

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Thanks everyone.


That was pretty much what I'd thought, but the belaying point for Number 1 was further forward than I expected. For number 3, I hadn't thought of bowlines -that makes a lot of sense.


Interestingly, the rigging on the ships in the painting http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/405793/the-embarkation-of-henry-viii-at-dover'> "The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover", showing pretty much the same ships as on the Anthony Roll, is quite different. Much more complex tackles. And though the painting depicts something that happened in 1520, 26 years before the Anthony Roll, it's now thought to have been painted in the 1540's or so, after the Great Harry and the Mary Rose had major rebuilds. So you'd expect the rigging to be the same. But who knows - the artist in the Dover Embarktion shows the Great Harry with a huge square course on the mizzen instead of a lateen, so who knows how accurae he got the rest of the picture.


Any comments on whether or not the line to the outrigger is for the lateen mizzen sheet?

Edited by Louie da fly
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