This section provides an annotated list of published primary sources about shipbuilding or repairs to ships in medieval England, in chronological order, with archival references. Locations where shipbuilding occurred or ports for which ships were built are in bold. One entry refers to Bayonne ships of the English king. Scholars have concentrated on the abundant information to be found in accounts of building or repairing ships for the English crown, which are mostly preserved in the E101 archive class of the TNA, although there are some accounts of shipbuilding in local archives and sources.

J. T. Tinniswood, “English Galleys, 1272–1377,” The Mariner’s Mirror, 35:4 (1949): 276-315. A useful survey of the extant accounts of galleys built on the orders of the king, with discussion of the types and features of boats, the time required to build them, materials and building processes, rigging, and other equipment. He covers the following accounts for galleys built c. 1295 at: Dunwich (a summary account only in TNA E372/147, m. 2d); Ipswich (detailed and summary accounts in TNA E101/5/7; E372/149. m. 3d); London (2 galleys: summary of both in E372/140, r. 13d, edited in Antiquaries Jnl (Oct. 1927) by C. Johnson; with some extracts for the first galley in E10/521/3; the second galley is in E101/571/3); Lyme (detailed and summary accounts in E101/5/21 and 165/13, Edward II); Newcastle (detailed and summary accounts, which he considers the best of all the accounts: E101/5/20; E372/147, r. 14d, ed. Archaeologia aeliana, as below); Southampton (detailed account in E101/5/2, ed. in Mariner’s Mirror as below); York (detailed account in E101/5/8). In addition, he notes La Philipe built at Lynn in 1336 (printed by Nicholas, History of the Royal Navy, as below); a new galley fitted out at Winchelsea in 1347 (short account in E101/20/22); repairs of two ships at Bayonne, c. 1350 (BL Add. Mss. 17364; extracts in Lindsay’s History of Merchant Shipping, p. 636, but now printed in full, as below); and the Paul of London (inventory in Letter Book G, in Memorials of London, ed. Riley, below).

St John’s College, Cambrdge, Ms K 26 fol. 7v.

R. J. Whitwell and C. Johnson, “The “Newcastle” Galley, A. D. 1294,” Archaeologia aeliana, 4th series 2 (1926): 142-96. An English translation and Latin transcript with a glossary of the particular account (TNA E101/5/20) of the building of a galley funded by the port of Newcastle in 1294-96 for naval service. The expenses are organized by week; after the first week, the editors only note ‘the salient features of each week’s account” in a narrative format for the translation, but give the full account in Latin. For summaries of the costs of labor, mateirals, and equipment and a conjectural reconstruction based on this account, see W. R. G. Whiting, “The Newcastle Galley,” Archaeologia aeliana, 4th series 13 (1936): 95-116.

Ian Friel, “The Building of the Lyme Galley, 1294–1296,”  Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 108 (1986): 41-44. Summarizes the purchase of materials and the number and types of workers in an account (TNA E101/5/21) of the building of a galley for the king by the Dorset port of Lyme Regis. See also the YouTube video of his 2013 Gresham College lecture on “1295: The Year of the Galleys” when the crown ordered 20 large war galleys to be constructed.

R. C. Anderson, “English Galleys in 1295,” The Mariner’s Mirror, 14:3 (1928): 220-241. Transcription and translation (in alternativing paragraphs) of the Latin account for the Southampton galley by R. Whitwell (TNA E101/5/2) with contextualizing text by R. C. Anderson.

Charles Johnson, “London Shipbuilding, A.D. 1294-5,” Antiquaries Journal 7 (1927): 424-37. Available on Haithi Trust. Extracts in Latin from: a summary account for expenses of the first galley (TNA E101/501/23); a detailed account of the second galley and two barges (TNA E101/571/3); final enrolled account of receipts and weekly expenses for work on the two galleys and two barges (TNA E372/140, m. 19d); and details of repairs to the barges (TNA E101/571/1).

“The Bayonne Galleys,” ed. Susan Rose, The Naval Miscellany VI, Navy Records Society, vol. 146 (2004): 1-36.  Translaton of an account of repairs c. 1320 at Bayonne to two galleys, St George and St Edward, and an unnamed spinnace or galiot, which were manned by Bayonne crews but owned by the English crown (BL Add. Ms. 17364). Includes a helpful introduction and glossary of maritime terms. Extracts previously printed in W. S. Lindsay, History of Merchant Shipping (1874-76)

Nicholas Harris Nicholas, History of the Royal Navy from the Earliest Times to the Wars of the French Revolution, volume 2. 1327-1422 (London, 1847). The appendices include the following translated extracts: expenses on building the galley La Philipe in Lynn in 1336, pp. 469-74 (TNA E101/19/31); indenture recording the delivery of several king’s ships (with various specified equipment) from a former Clerk of the Ships to the new Keeper, pp. 475-76; account of payments for the George and items (including navigational aids) purchased at Sluys, pp. 476-77 (TNA E101/25/7); very short extract of articles received from a a certain ship at Redcliff in 1364-9, pp. 477-78; arms and artillery delivered to the master of the Philipe in 1369-75, p. 478; and a particular account of armor, shot, gunpowder for the king’s ships in 1372-4, pp. 479-80.

“Accounts from the Early Years of the Office of the Clerk of the King’s Ships; Thomas de Snetesham’s Accounts for 1344–45 and 1350–54,” ed. Susan Rose, The Naval Miscellany VIII, Navy Records Society, vol. 164 (2017): 1-47. Introduction, glossary, and English translation of Latin accounts by Snettisham, the Clerk of the King’s Ships, including: accounts of work on three flunes of the king (a building account for the George at Vauxhall near London and repairs and equipment for the Laurence and Marie)in 1344-45 (TNA E101/24/7); enrolled account for work on all the king’s ships, 1350-53 (TNA E372/203); extract from the particular account of 1345-6 (E101/25/7), which shows purchase of various navigation aids. A longer extract from this same account is printed in Nicholas, History of the Royal Navy (see above).

Richard Lane-Poole, “A Medieval Cordage Account,” Mariner’s Mirror 42 (1956): 67-73. Translation of a particular account of Matthew de Torkesey, Clerk of the King’s Ships (TNA E101/27/15) detailing the purchase of a variety of ropes, cables, and hempen thread (much from Bridport) and the costs of making such items as hausers and different kinds of ropes for specific royal ships, 1358-1363. Includes notes by J. T. Tinniswood, who defines many of the specialized terms used in the accounts. For other extracts from Torksey’s accounts, see Bertil Sandhal, Middle English Sea Terms, III Standing and Running Rigging (Uppsala, 1982), pp. 150-52.

H. Harrod, Report of the Deeds & Records of the Borough of King’s Lynn (King’s Lynn, 1874). Includes extracts from civic accounts on the expenses incurred by the town providing ships for royal naval service in the early fourteenth century (pp. 58, 63, 73-6, 93), and from the Chamberlains’ accounts on expenses building and equiping a barge for the king in 1372-3 (pp. 82-4)

Delivery of a Barge, provided by the City to serve under the King, together with the rigging and tackle thereof, to William Martlesham, its master,” in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, ed. H. T. Riley (London, 1868), pp. 368-71. Translation of an Anglo-Norman indenture of 1373 (London Letter Book G, fol. ccciv) that lists the equipment of the barge called Paul, constructed for the city of London. On BHO.

Repairs to the town barge of New Romney in a jurats’ account for 1380-81. In William Boys, Collections for a History of Sandwich in Kent (Canterbury, 1792), pp. 800-02.  Latin transcript.

Mrs. W. J. Carpenter Turner, “The Building of the Holy Ghost of the Tower, 1414-1416, and her Subsequent History,” Mariner’s Mirror 40 (1954): 270-81. Extracts information building materials, gear, and equipment from the account (TNA E364/61) of William Soper, Clerk of the Ships for Henry V, on the building of the Holy Ghost in Southampton.

Mrs. W. J. Carpenter Turner, “The Building of the GracedieuValentine, and Falconer at Southampton, 1416-1420,” Mariner’s Mirror 40 (1954): 55-72. Contains not a straight transcription, but extracts from the accounts of Robert Berd, Clerk of Works (TNA E364/57) on the building materials, gear, and equipment for the massive (1400 tons) Gracedieu for Henry V at Southampton. The Falconer and Valentine were smaller balingers in the retinue of the Gracedieu. For context on the ship’s significance, see the podcast, “Grace Dieu and Henry V’s Proto-Royal Navy,” of The Maritime History Podcast, and for the later history of the ship, see “Grace Dieu,” Sotonopedia.

The Navy of the Lancastrian Kings: Accounts and Inventories of William Soper, Keeper of the King’s Ships, 1422-1427, ed. Susan Rose, Navy Records Society, vol. 123, 1982. Translation from Latin of a particular account of William Soper of Southampton in his role as Keeper of the King’s Ships covering receipts and expenses on almost forty royal ships in such ports as Southampton, Hamble, and London.  The expenses incde wages (for shipwrights, berders, caulkers, riggers, mariners and others), payments to vendors, and costs accrued when Soper sold some of the ships.  It also includes a long and detailed inventory of all naval stores and equipment for each ship that shows what was received and what was used up during the accounting period, additions acquired by purchase or transfer from other ships, and when the ship entered or exited royal ownership (Greenwich, National Maritime Musuem 4102). The book includes an extensive introduction covering Soper’s career, the Keeper of the king’s ships and their work on specific ships in the first half of the fifteenth century.  The appendices include: I: fragment of an account of ship repairs at Southampton c. 1417; II: fragment of an account by Soper of repairs to ships at Southampton taking part in the Duke of Bedford’s expedition of 1416; III: biographies of shipmasters, major vendors, shipwrights and other regular ship workers, and purchasers of crown ships; IV: list and individual histories of all royal vessels during the reigns of Henry V and Henry VI: and V: a glossary of technical terms.

Naval Accounts and Inventories in the Reign of Henry VII, ed. M. Oppenheim, Navy Records Society, vol. 8 (1896). Includes the full accounts of two Clerks of the Kings Ships; Thomas Roger’s for 1485-88 (TNA E36/7), which includes the reign of Richard III, and Robert Brygandyne’s for 1495-97 (TNA E315/316). Roger’s accounts detail the costs of equipment, their safe keeping of ships in harbor, payments for hired vessels, inventories of ships’ tackle and gear, and the ammunition and ordnance shipped north in 1497 for the army fighting James IV of Scotland. Brgandyne’s account records expenses on the construction of a dry dock at Portsmouth; outfitting the Sovereign for a trading voyage to the Levant; preparing the Regent for service on the Scottish coast in 1497 and costs of the Regent for mooring, mariners’ wages, victuals, tackle, artillery, and armaments, plus an inventory of items in the storehouse and either spent, broken, or lost; tackle and war equipment delivered to different ships; inventory of tackle and ordnance remaining in the Regent; expenses on building the Sweepstake and Mary Fortune; and inventories of stores and arms belonging to these ships and hired merchantmen.