A museum to commemorate sixteenth-century warship the Mary Rose will have its grand opening on 31 May. The new museum reunites the ship and its contents once again: among the thousands of artefacts on display is a selection of rare instruments from the Tudor period.

It is believed that there were at least ten musical instruments on board the Mary Rose, for entertainment purposes and for fulfilling crew duties. The instruments recovered that will go on display include two fiddles, a bow, three tabor pipes, a tabor and a still shawm – thought to be one of the only surviving still shawms in the world.

The rare Tudor instrument collection on display at the new Mary Rose Museum

The rare Tudor instrument collection on display at the new Mary Rose Museum


The Mary Rose Museum has been built at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where the ship was built 500 years ago. The ship was raised from the seabed in 1982, having sunk in 1545 in view of King Henry VIII during the Battle of The Solent.

Chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust John Lippiett said: ‘When the Mary Rose was raised from the muddy waters of the Solent in 1982, the founding members of the trust had a dream to put the ship and her contents into a permanent museum.  It has been a long and difficult passage since then to achieve this aim.

‘The technical challenges of conserving the hull and 19,000 artefacts have been very considerable. The dedication and determination of those engaged in this vital project have steadily brought the dream into reality, and today marks a truly significant milestone in the ship’s 500-year history.’


(Main image: Exterior of the Museum – Credit © Gareth Gardner)


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